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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Community Coalition of the Five Towns made an impact
Organization aims to remain a civic voice
Monica Rzewski/Herald
The Number Six School property will remain vacant as Lawrence district voters rejected the sale to Simone Development Companies. Claudia Colon voted at the middle school.

Having worked to defeat the sale of the Number Six School to Simone Development Companies, the organization Community Coalition of the Five Towns (CC5T) seeks to remain active in civic matters.

“Members of CC5T will work hard to be a continuing force for positive change in the Five Towns,” said coalition founder Joshua Schein, a Woodmere resident. “We plan to be progressive, constructive influence on our school board and other local elected officials. This will enrich and strengthen our community.”

By an almost two to one margin, Lawrence School District residents overwhelmingly rejected the referendum to sell the Number Six School to Simone to create a multi-specialty medical practice.

The unofficial count vote on March 20 was 3,655 to 1,969 against the proposal to sell the closed elementary school to Simone for $12.5 million. As of press time the district had yet to submit official results. Simone planned to lease the 6.7-acre site that includes an 80,170-square foot building to Mt. Sinai Hospital for a 60-doctor, 30-speciality medical center. It was expected to employee more than 100 people.

“It’s a victory for the whole community and all together it was a good campaign,” said Lawrence Board of Education Trustee Uri Kaufman, who, despite, being on the board’s real estate committee that selected the Simone bid, opposed the proposed sale.

Residents, especially those in the immediate area of the school property at 523 Church Ave. in Woodmere, fiercely opposed the plan. CC5T was comprised of area homeowners. Their concerns focused on the potential for an increase in the traffic volume in an already heavily trafficked area and the loss of open space as the property’s ball fields and other existing recreational space, except for the playground, was planned to be paved over for approximately 450 parking spaces.

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