By Dan Hust
NARROWSBURG Unless developer Ilwon Kang purchases them before October, Sullivan West plans to shutter the Narrowsburg and Delaware Valley campuses.
Both schools, though closed, continue to be maintained and heated, but Supt. Ken Hilton recently told the school board that the district simply cannot afford to keep doing so.
“I think for Narrowsburg alone it’s $79,000 a year just for basic maintenance,” he said.
Yet if SW turns off the utilities, drains the pipes and locks the doors in October, at least two events Narrowsburg’s Holiday Bazaar in December and Eaglefest in January will have to search for alternative locations for some of their programs.
“I’m brokenhearted about it,” Hilton remarked, “... but I don’t think it’s responsible for us to continue to heat that building just for those two days [of events].”
Neither the organizers of those events nor Kang could be reached for comment, but Hilton told the Democrat that Kang had told the events’ organizers he’ll make room for them if he owns the Narrowsburg school by that time.
But, Hilton added, “I don’t know whether he’s going to close on them before then or not.”
Board members wondered if Kang might be willing to up the $2,000-per-month fee he’s now paying in exchange for extending his option to buy the schools beyond the originally-expected July closing date.
However, as of Tuesday, Hilton said Kang had yet to respond to that inquiry.
Kang currently has until the end of October to determine whether or not to go through with the $3 million purchase of the two campuses.
In the past, he’s expressed a desire to buy both schools at the same time and embark on designs to turn Narrowsburg into a hotel and DV into a boarding school.
But the Town of Tusten’s ongoing zoning rewrite has given him pause, as the Narrowsburg building is currently zoned residential, which excludes hotels.
If the new zoning is passed as envisioned, Kang can convert the school into a hotel without having to seek a variance, but Hilton said town officials have indicated the new zoning won’t be made official until at least January.
That means Kang may return to the SW board in October seeking another extension. Board members appear cautiously interested, but they may ask him to agree to forfeit his $150,000 down payment if he cannot consummate a sale within a specified period.
Kang still has not closed on 14 district-owned acres in Narrowsburg he was supposed to purchase in July for $70,000.
However, Callicoon resident Richard Winter is expected to close soon on his $205,000 purchase of 58 acres adjacent to and formerly part of the DV school in Callicoon.