"Salvation Army Rec Center: Another Borough Presidential Promise Unrealized" Says BP Candidate Luisi About Molinaro Failure

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Staten Island Borough President's extra permit causes 2 years of delays and may even jeopardizes the Kroc Center Plan

John Luisi, Candidate for Staten Island Borough President (Democrat and Working Families), was shocked to find out that the Salvation Army's Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center was being held up based on the Borough President's insistence that a permit for the St. Elizabeth Ann's Health Care & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home also run by SVCMC, be sandwiched with the Kroc Center's land use permit thereby slowing down the Kroc Center's final approval and putting the project in some jeopardy.

"We are all waiting for St. Elizabeth Ann to get that special use permit to prove they are authorized to expand," said Maj. John Hodgson, commanding officer of the Salvation Army on Staten Island and administrator of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

The Borough President, who sits on the Board of the nursing home insisted that a permit be granted to the nursing home so it could expand and incorporate 72 nursing home beds from Bayley Seton Hospital thereby slowing down the approval process. Instead of addressing only the Kroc Center purchase and building, the Borough President took the opportunity to add this additional element to the city negotiations thereby causing a two year delay in the approval and construction of the Kroc Center. Construction of the Kroc Center, originally targeted for completion next year, is now likely to wrap up early in 2012.

Luisi said, "With the project start date in doubt and the revelation of the need for an additional approvals, the project has already been touted by our Borough President as a fait accompli, the question must be asked, how much did the Borough President's convoluted permit process slow down the approval process and has it jeopardized the over all plan?"    

"I am sick and tired Borough Hall's ever-growing list of defunct or delayed projects: the National Lighthouse Museum; S.I. Yankee Stadium restaurant; filling the retail space at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal; revitalization of the North Shore Rail Line; Fairview Park; Charleston school; Victory and Clove Park and Ride; St. George Discovery Center; Snug Harbor Vineyard; and the redevelopment of the Stapleton Homeport, just to name a few." Luisi commented.

The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is the brain child of the Kroc Family, founders of the McDonald's fast food empire. The centers are built with money from the $1.5 billion fortune bequeathed to the Salvation Army for such centers. The proposed Staten Island center is part of a deal crafted by the Borough President's Office and then-Congressman Vito Fossella, with Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Centers. The Salvation Army is buying seven acres fronting Vanderbilt Avenue and Bay Street for $8 million. That's where five smaller outbuildings will be demolished to make way for the new $78 million Kroc Center, which will include four pools, including a "lazy river" for floating, an indoor running track, soccer mini-field, performance and fitness centers, and a 500-seat auditorium.

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ROBERT DIMILIA

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