Thursday, January 9, 2014


Welcome to Everything Croton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools--in short, EVERYTHING CROTON.

The following letter appears in the 1/9/14 edition of THE GAZETTE; it is from Joel Gingold, is re-printed with permission and is very much worth your time. Important additional information links are provided at the end of the letter.

January 2, 2014

To the Editor,

Shortly before Christmas, I saw a news article that offers some perspective on the Village Board’s obsession to acquire the Gouveia property.

It seems that back in 2000, Westchester County executed an agreement with Henriette Suhr of Chappaqua in which Ms. Suhr donated her 13-acre private garden, Rocky Hill, to the county along with an endowment of $500,000.  The property was to transfer to the county, and become a public park, on Ms. Suhr’s death.  However, last month the county terminated the agreement citing the high cost of maintaining the property.

While there are parallels to the pending Gouveia agreement, there are some very significant differences. Ms. Suhr did not ask for a tax exemption during her lifetime, nor did she demand the right to live on the property after the county took title.  Ms. Suhr is 97, which is an indication of how long Croton might have to wait before it has full control of the Gouveia property (Ms. Gouveia is 71).

The county obviously did a real cost-benefit analysis (not a phony analysis as was performed by the Village Board on Gouveia) and concluded that it could not afford to properly maintain the land.  So rather than burden the taxpayers with these costs, it withdrew from the agreement.  Is there a lesson here for Croton?

Ms. Suhr is now looking for another organization to accept and maintain the property.  Maybe the mysterious religious organization that wanted Gouveia will take it.  Or better, Croton can continue its program of open space acquisition and add Rocky Hill to the Village’s inventory.  It would not result in any tax loss to the Village and so what if it’s in Chappaqua.  You have to drive to get to Gouveia, so why not spend a few more minutes on the road and visit Rocky Hill.  To justify the acquisition, I’m sure the Board can conjure up a cost-benefit analysis that will show that accepting the Suhr property will result in a net profit to the Village.

Joel E. Gingold


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for understanding the parallels with that article. There's also a letter form Paul Steinberg that addresses other issues. I have forwarded it all up the food chain. PM