Historic Preservation Tea
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Mayor Donna Sherrer - Speech
Good afternoon everyone. Today we are here to celebrate our beautiful Village of Bellerose and to pay tribute to Dr. Carol Mylod, our long-standing and ever so resourceful former historian.
Before I begin I would like to take this opportunity to share some Good News! Just last week, the MTA/LIRR called meetings with the Mayors from the communities along the Main Line Corridor. It was the start of another series of meetings initiated by the LIRR to share information on the proposed design of the Third Track Project. At our project-briefing meeting on December 1st, the LIRR reported that the plans now reflect a proposed alignment to start east of The Floral Park Station. The good news is that there will be no third track in Bellerose Village, the station and the school tunnel will remain open, and most importantly there will be no demolition of homes, taking of property or temporary easements in Bellerose Village! There will be no construction on the tracks in the Bellerose Village and West End of Floral Park.
The LIRR is proposing "left-hand" operations on the Hempstead Branch to make the proposed alignment operable - westbound trains will platform from the south track at Bellerose and all other stations to Hempstead. The final Record of Decision is scheduled for September 2008 and the project implementation phase is targeted to begin in 2009-2010.
I would like to thank all of the residents of Bellerose Village who spoke out so strongly during the Public Scoping Phase in 2005 to save our village. Special thanks go to Trustee Rosaleen Shea and Jo Ellen Cortapasso who co-chaired the Bellerose Village LIRR taskforce and to its many members. They have spent many hours with me at Citizens Against Rail Expansion (CARE) and on the Main Line Corridor behind the scenes to ensure that the best interests of Bellerose Village and the other Main Line communities were always served.
We could not have done this alone. First, a special thanks to James Trent and Trustee Mary O'Donoghue of the Bellerose Business District for supporting our efforts. I would also like to thank all of the main line corridor mayors and trustees, especially Floral Park Mayor, Phil Guarnieri, whose partnership and leadership throughout the Third Track Project campaign helped us to unite and make a positive impact in saving our communities from this ill-planned project. Thank you and congratulations!
While it is a positive milestone, I must caution that it is only a briefing and a proposal. I will continue to work with the officials of Floral Park, Stewart Manor, Garden City, Mineola and the other Main Line communities to continue to fight for the quality of life we invest in and take pride in.
At the December 1st meeting, I invited the executives of the LIRR to our Historic Preservation Tea to thank them, and to make them aware on a personal level, of our beautiful village and the positive impact that their current revised proposal has in preserving our homes and properties. Unfortunately, they could not attend.
Today though, is truly a celebration about Historic Preservation, please give a warm round of applause to Alan Woodruff, Historic Preservation Commissioner and Dr. Carol Mylod, Historic Preservation Commissioner Emeritus for successfully listing our Village Hall, Firehouse and Police Booth on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Their hard work played a major role in helping us defeat the Third Track Project! Properties listed on the State and National Register receive protection and consideration in the planning of projects that involve state and federal funding, permits or licenses. State and federal agencies such as the Federal Transit Authority, the board governing the Third Track Project, must consult with the Historic Preservation Field Service Bureau to avoid or mitigate adverse project effects. Our historic preservation efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Saving our homes on Superior Road, our school tunnel and the Bellerose Train station were not the only motivations for becoming an Historic District. The benefits of becoming listed are many: recognition, economic incentives and protection. We have set the cornerstone by creating an Historic District with our public buildings. This recognition honors the importance of these buildings to our community and raises awareness of and pride in their past contributions.
Historic Districts have retained high real estate values in struggling markets and have unified communities. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 allows a 20% tax credit for substantial rehabilitation of income producing historic properties, as well as, owner-occupied residential structures. And recently, the State allocations to fund historic preservation grants and loans have been substantially increased. Recently, Trustee Ronald De Souza submitted the Village's Tree-Planting Grant Application to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and for the first time was able to complete the section for Historic Preservation in the application to enhance our score and hopefully chances for funding for the planting of the trees last week. Again, Historic Preservation played a positive role in our governing work and it will give Bellerose Village a highly profiled and desirable image in the local and State Government.
I would like to take a moment to thank my Deputy Mayor, Ron DeSouza for his dedication, leadership and creativity all of these years to Bellerose Village. You may have seen Ron out with ADM Landscapers these past two weeks overseeing and inspecting all of the trees and tree-planting work being done. Forty-one trees have been planted throughout our village and we hope to plant more next year. Ron is a professional architect and wears many hats for our village; he is Comissioner of the Village Environmental Conservation Comission and the project manager for the Master/Beautification Plan, and is perhaps more famous (or infamous) for his role as Comissioner of the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) and as an advocate for Historic Preservation. Having our own BAR within the Village was a key factor in helping us to be eligble to qualify for Historic Preservation. Ron is dedicated and continues to perform his duties as BAR Commissioner with integrity, pride and conviction. We are fortunate to have Ron share his vision and talents by volunteering and serving our community so selflessly, honestly and creatively.
It is almost 100 years to the day that Helen Marsh, our founder, signed the purchasing agreement for the farmlands that are now the Incorporated Village of Bellerose. Mrs. Marsh dedicated her life to realizing her vision of a New England style community of beautifully styled homes that would have easy access to New York City (NYC). Our archives indicate that Mrs. Marsh proactively solicited the LIRR and negotiated with them to build a train station for Bellerose Village to provide easy commuting for residents to NYC. As president of the Women's Club, she literally set the cornerstone to our Historic District by building our Village Hall in which we meet today, formerly the clubhouse for the Women's Club of Bellerose.
I am proud to serve as the Mayor of Bellerose Village 100 years later. Bellerose Village is a community rich in history, tradition and volunteerism. Bellerose Village continues to flourish today because of organizations like the Fire Department, The Junior Women's Club of Bellerose and the Women's Club of Bellerose. Our government is a collective group of volunteers and public employees dedicated to serving the best interests of the citizens of Bellerose and I am grateful to be part of such history. Like Helen Marsh, I am committed to continuing in her footsteps, not in her shadow, to continue the vision of Bellerose Village to thrive in the 21st century, as an oasis gateway community among the increasingly urbanized communities now so prevalent in Nassau County.
Historic Preservation is a key part of the Beautification Plan of our village. Before I close, I must recognize Senator Michael Balboni and Councilman Ed Ambrosino for their undaunting support of our village through their interventions with the LIRR on our behalf, and for their financial and professional commitments to our Beautification Plan.
I look forward to realizing a new vision for the future of Bellerose Village, a vision steeped in tradition, quality of life and beauty. The challenge before us today is for history to repeat itself! I will be negotiating for a brand new train station for Bellerose, building on our cornerstones of self-governance and preservation of our public buildings and improvements of our infrastructures. For us to move forward we must stop and look back - today we celebrate our history! Today we recognize an important part of our Village history - Dr. Carol Mylod, former village historian for her contributions these past thirty-seven years to preserving our culture and heritage. Sunday, December 10, 2006 is declared Dr. Carol Mylod Day!
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, my husband Arnie and my family, I would like to wish all of you a happy holiday season and peace throughout the New Year!
Donna Sherrer, Mayor