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Bad Medicine

To the Editor:

I read your recent article in Metroland about the Rite Aid stores attempting to destroy our past [“Rite Aids for Everyone!,” Newsfront, Feb. 21]. As a former resident of Averill Park and Troy, I’m shocked about this. The very fact that Hoosick Street is allowed to bring any new business into the clogging traffic is horrible.

I cannot believe serious consideration has been given to tearing down those houses for yet another chain drug store (that already exists). Since when are bargains more important than history, not only for us but our children (and hopefully theirs)? The fact that likely pieces of the Underground Railroad face possible destruction should be illegal.

The proposed destruction of the Grove moved me to tears. That building existed before the Declaration of Independence, before America was a country. The very foundation it rests upon is older than the laws that are unable to help it. Perhaps Rite Aid should think of all of the history and memories the Grove has within its walls. It has been known in more recent years as the “G Building” of Hudson Valley Community College. Granted, a lot of us had some great fun there during our college years, and beyond. Even in the middle of a good party, we were amazed at the history. Driving by now, I see the shingle cornerstone of that beautiful old house. I think of the hundreds of people who stopped there on journeys on foot. I think of older people in the area who went there during its restaurant years, before I was born.

Why isn’t there a historical marker? And if there is, why can’t the building be saved? My son attends HVCC and the parking problems and traffic still plague the school. It has been that way for over 30 years, long before the strip mall—and now they want to build a drugstore to add to it? As it is now, students have to leave home an hour or more early just to get a parking spot or walk from public transportation. It’s still hard to get to class on time. And we’re putting all students and faculty at risk for accidents. Many are pedestrians. Will Rite Aid provide the “right aid” if someone gets killed or hurt by a customer zooming from their drive-thru?

I am very interested in anything that can be done to stop this madness. I will be forwarding this article to all of my friends that live in the county: students, faculty, protesters and the like. And people who are parents of HVCC students. It’s high time we do something before the wrecking ball swings, and destroys yet another memory in that county.

Tedi Toca, Rotterdam

Oh, Deer!

To the Editor:

Regarding Shawn Stone’s “Crossing Boundries” [Feb. 28], for starters I’m just damn glad that I never came across C. Ryder Cooley as she appeared on the cover back when I used to double-dose on acid. I mean, I still wouldn’t have lost it, but the forced self-control would have been on overdrive to be sure.

Secondly, her artistic spirit inspired within me the urge to don a leotard/Pan fusion outfit and prance about on stage to Claude DeBussy’s Prelude to Afternoon of a Fawn, with all-new choreography in which a big, naughty, “pederast” buck tries to swoon me . . . a big black buck at that!

Bernard Continelli, Rensselaer

Don’t Bank on It

To the Editor:

“Parklife” [Newsfront, Feb. 28] once again illustrates the Tutunjian administration’s policy of shoot first, ask questions later. A closer reading of the letter from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation reveals that the state attorney attempted to confirm the facts of the status of the Kennedy Towers parkland with the City of Troy. “Unfortunately, several calls from the Agency’s Counsel’s Office to the City of Troy’s Corporation Counsel were not returned.”

Omni Housing Development (the firm which recently did the rehab of the Kennedy Tower and thus an extensive title search of the parcel) also informed the city of the probable public parkland status via a voice mail message to the Mayor in late 2007.

Councilman Dunne is correct in attempting to assess the competency of the city’s corporation counsel. Simply by returning phone calls at the outset of the SEFCU proposal, the corporation counsel would have had an accurate assessment of the parcel and the steps necessary to transfer clear and legal title would have been determined. The sale would have been completed without a cloud of secrecy and illegality and the mayor would be at a groundbreaking. Instead, we have an angry SEFCU looking at sites in other communities.

Mitchell also claimed in the Metroland article that “the Troy Housing Authority donated this property to the city of Troy, to use as a park during the duration of what they called ‘the project.’ The deed clearly articulated that . . . the project was the construction of the Kennedy Tower, which has long past been concluded.” Again, a closer reading of the letter from the state clearly states that “the Public Trust Doctrine would require the City of Troy to obtain alienation even after the life of the project because, as stated in the Handbook, once a parcel of land is parkland, the only way that status can be altered is through an act of the [state] legislature.”

Mitchell may serve the interests of the mayor in expediting complicated transactions; unfortunately he does so without any understanding of the law.

Mark Jackson, Troy

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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