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Dan Hust | Democrat

IBAM is headquartered inside the former Monticello Firehouse next to the village hall. It does not advertise being opened past 9 p.m., but that’s the weekday curfew the village administration has set on the youth boxing club.

Median draws outrage

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — July 9, 2010 — Monticello attorney and 50-year resident Leo Glass told the Monticello Village Board on Tuesday that the Broadway reconstruction project is more hassle than help and should be stopped.
He brought with him petitions signed by around 700 people to make that point.
“It’s not safe taking a car or truck over Broadway,” he said. “It’s a nightmare!”
Noting 34 empty storefronts this past spring, Glass said the massive redesign of Broadway is hampering revitalization of the village.
The petition focused on the median now being installed.
“This median is a destructive force which is not necessary,” he said. “... It’s time we stood up and said, ‘Enough! We don’t want it, we don’t need it, this has got to stop!’”
Glass said his outrage runs so deep he’s willing to risk arrest by standing in Broadway and blocking construction.
Village board members sympathized with his anger – agreeing that downtown Monticello is one big dusty mess currently – but they felt it better to let the project move ahead.
Still, Trustee Victor Marinello agreed with Glass that the median “is completely unnecessary.”
“I’ve even signed the petition,” Marinello remarked. “This village has survived for 200 years without any major problems on Broadway without a median.”
Mayor Gordon Jenkins and Deputy Mayor TC Hutchins, however, said the state is requiring the median because the federal government – which is funding the project – is demanding it.
“The state told me the median is there to stay,” explained Jenkins. “... There’s nothing you can do.”
“Do you believe that?” replied Glass.
“That’s what they said,” agreed Trustee Carmen Rue, who was worried that supporting Glass’ petition would endanger the project’s long-awaited completion.
Thus, the board agreed not to do anything with the petition, instead recommending Glass seek the support of state legislators or the NYS Department of Transportation itself. (Glass has submitted copies of the petition to them, as well.)
Jenkins added that Broadway’s future is brighter, not dimmer, thanks to the project.
“I think it will attract new businesses,” he predicted.
Village Manager John Barbarite said that the village is not paying for the project, which has included thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs to village pipes underneath Broadway.
Jenkins, a Broadway business owner himself, added that he has no issue with the median and eagerly awaits the completion of construction, currently scheduled for this time next year.
“We have got to start saying it’s going to be better, not that it’s not going to be better,” he remarked.
The lights of Broadway
Elsewhere during Tuesday’s board meeting, trustees unanimously agreed to have Barbarite sign a contract with Sullivan Renaissance to buy 64 decorative streetlamps for Broadway.
To be installed by the village in the general area of the reconstruction project, the 100-watt metal halide lights will be spaced about 60-70 feet apart, said Barbarite.
Sullivan Renaissance is paying the $87,040 purchase price, but the village itself will be responsible for installation, including around $20,000 in wiring costs, said Barbarite, who estimated that yearly electric charges will be about $5,000.
The lights may be installed and operating by the end of this year.
“I’d like to thank you for what you guys are doing to help us out,” said Jenkins to Renaissance Program Director Glenn Pontier.
Whither goest IBAM?
Barbarite received authorization from the board to set a curfew for IBAM, the International Boxing Association of Monticello: 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“I have noticed, and the police department has commented, IBAM operations are not well monitored,” Barbarite said in his report to the board. “Last week, individuals were in the building until 2:30 a.m. I have observed people using the weight machines without supervision on several occasions. On one occasion, a woman was using a weight machine while two young children were running around the garage unsupervised.”
He added that the weight and exercise machines had been installed in the old Monticello Firehouse – which the village owns and which serves as IBAM’s headquarters – without village permission and were set up without proper anchoring or spacing.
Barbarite was also unsure that IBAM’s liability insurance would cover anyone who’s not a member of the U.S. Boxing Association.
“If there’s no supervision there and someone gets hurt, we have a problem,” agreed Trustee Marinello. “If we don’t have supervision in the room, we should definitely not have anyone there.”
Apollo project political?
Deputy Village Manager John LiGreci, in his report to the board, accused the county of playing politics with the old Apollo Plaza, which it now owns.
LiGreci and Barbarite recently toured the mall with county officials and a group of consultants brought in from New York City by the county, which is pushing for a recreational park at the site.
The village, however, has thrown its support behind a Glen Wild developer’s plan to resurrect the mall and add a truck stop.
“I just can’t see people doing recreational projects around a landfill with hazardous gas,” said LiGreci, referring to the now-closed county landfill adjacent to the Apollo.
The county is also considering tearing down most of the Apollo. In light of collapsed walls allowing people inside the old mall, Marinello called for more police patrols, which have already been planned.
In other business
• Three computers are now available for senior citizen use at the Ted Stroebele Recreation Center.
• The Monticello Business Association, said member Alan Kesten, has erected “Pardon Our Appearance” signs at the entrances to the village’s business district.
• Documentation regarding a piece of recently annexed property on Hillside Avenue was not properly filed last year, so for this year, that property will not pay village taxes, and the village will have to bear the costs of surveying its boundaries. Barbarite also acknowledged that the property is paying the regular water/sewer rates, rather than those charged for out-of-village properties.
• A worksession on the budget was scheduled for this morning (Friday at 8 a.m.) to see if the proposed three percent tax increase can be lowered.

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