The village of North Syracuse is open to any and all proposals regarding the development of Toll Road Park.
The village board held a special meeting Thursday Aug. 21 in order to pass a motion stating that the village will be accepting proposals from developers interested in building on the site by Sept. 15. The park was removed from the state registry earlier this month; Two Plus Four Companies, a developer from East Syracuse, has already offered to construct a senior housing complex on the property.
“We’ve said this at virtually all meetings up to now,” Mayor John Heindorf said, “but we wanted to once again put it out to the public that we’re accepting proposals.”
While most board members were on board with the resolution (except for Mark Atkinson, who is on active duty in the military and was not present), Trustee Gary Butterfield objected. Butterfield was the only dissenting vote on the board when it passed the resolution to remove the park from the state registry.
“Before we continue with this, I think we have some homework to do,” Butterfield said. “We have to do certain things before we can even know if we can do this [develop the former park land].”
Butterfield noted that the bill passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor requires the village to either set aside land to offset the loss of the park land — a total of eight acres — or dedicate the park’s monetary value to the village’s remaining eight parks.
“We’re putting the cart way before the horse,” Butterfield said. “We don’t have our act together.”
“That’s not true at all,” the mayor said. “There are certain things that are required in the law passed by the governor, and by having this meeting and passing this resolution, we’re taking steps to do those.”
Deputy Mayor Diane Browning, also the village’s senior advocate, said the village was doing exactly what was necessary.
“Appraisal of the land is the next step,” Browning said. “We have to see what the fair market value is. We can’t discuss anything until we know the value.”
Browning also pointed out that she had received numerous letters in support of the project.
“This has overwhelming support,” she said. “I have a record of it — I got about 300 letters.”
“I’ve heard all of this before,” Butterfield said.
“Then we’ll have to agree to disagree,” Heindorf said.
The village board voted to pass the measure over Butterfield’s objections. The village will accept any and all proposals to develop the park by Sept. 15.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.