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Narrowsburg School now an IDA project; Tusten residents in support

Tusten residents attend a public hearing for the Narrowsburg School to be a project of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) at the Tusten Town Hall.
TRR photos by Isabel Braverman

By Isabel Braverman
April 30, 2015

NARROWSBURG, NY — A public hearing was held for the Narrowsburg School today at 10 a.m. in the Tusten Town Hall. The hearing was regarding the school now being a project of the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

The IDA project is a recent development, and the Weidens had filed an application, making this public hearing mandatory. The IDA will discuss the hearing at its May 11 meeting at 11 a.m. at the Government Center in Monticello. About 20 people showed up to the hearing this morning, and those who spoke were all in favor of the school project.

The recent history of the school is long and complicated. Brendan and Kathleen Weiden made a formal offer to buy the school and adjacent property in June of 2014. And after complications, they were awarded the bid of $751,000 in October. Recently, they extended their due diligence period to July 10 of this year. And now, they will be receiving IDA assistance.

Because of the nature of IDA projects, the building will become tax exempt. According to their IDA application, the Weidens are seeking a tax abatement of $35,000 a year on the property, plus a $3,000 sales tax exemption on materials related to its renovation. The application also states that they plan to invest $1.1 million into the property, and have already spent $125,000 in due diligence charges.

According to its website, the IDA’s “primary goal is to promote economic welfare, recreation opportunities, prevent unemployment and economic deterioration, ensure the prosperity of Sullivan County’s inhabitants, and promote tourism and trade.” Other IDA projects in Sullivan County include the Apollo Plaza, Monticello Raceway and EPR Properties.

At the public hearing, IDA Executive Director Jennifer Brylinski was there to take comments. Tusten Supervisor Carol Wingert said, “The Weidens ideas are refreshing.” Tusten resident and Narrowsburg Fire Department Assistant Chief Stephen Stuart said, “I am happy to see this possibility of new life.” Resident Kathy Michell, who was instrumental in getting the bid to the Weidens, said she is aware of how the IDA process works, and that she is “fully in support” of it. However, Councilman Ned Lang said he found the tax abatements to be “dismaying.”