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March 26, 2012

Many of you may know that the Continuum Company has proposed to construct a 121-unit assisted living facility at 30 South Broadway, on the site formerly occupied by the Foundation for Economic Education.  This proposal is currently before the Planning Board.  I write not to address the merits or drawbacks of the proposal but rather, to address a disturbing series of comments made by certain members of the public during the course of the public hearing before the Planning Board.  My colleagues and I on the Board of Trustees have joined to issue the following statement:

As elected representatives of the Village of Irvington, we write with great concern about public statements or insinuations that the workers, who would be employed at the proposed assisted living facility, would be anything other than an asset to our Village.  We consider care for our elders to be one of the noblest jobs, and one of the most difficult.  We would welcome, with open arms, the hardworking, dedicated staff that such a facility would bring to our Village. We strongly and unambiguously denounce any statements to the contrary. We value diversity and respect for all in our community and stand together to oppose any and all efforts that suggest otherwise. 

                Signed,

                Mayor Brian Smith
                Trustee Ken Bernstein
                Trustee Connie Kehoe
                Trustee Walter Montgomery
                Trustee Rick Rasulo

                Trustee-elect Mark Gilliland

It is also disheartening to hear completely unsubstantiated claims against public officials such as former Mayor Siegel and myself.  While I truly believe that public debate over important issues is an essential component of the democratic system, such claims do absolutely nothing to further the process.  We are still in the early stages of a very thorough planning approval process for this project.  This process is rather complicated which is why I have asked our Village Attorney to prepare a document that outlines the procedures.  It is available on our Village website here: http://irvingtonny.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/5166  If the project proceeds, the process will be lengthy and there will be many opportunities for public comment, which the entire Board of Trustees feels is essential.  So, I ask for your full participation, but please keep the discourse civil.  Also, keep the conversation to facts and opinion, not innuendo and fabrication. 

Thank you for staying informed by being signed up for the Village’s e-mail blasts.  Please ask your neighbors and friends to sign up as well.  The Continuum application has highlighted, once again, how important effective communication is between the Board and the residents.

Brian C. Smith, Mayor