Carol Crupi, president of the Valley Stream Community Association, who lives across the street from the buildings, would like to see expanded parking for the Gibson train station. She said that between meters and the ability to sell more parking permits, the village could eventually recoup the money it would spend to buy the land. “They could make money,” she said, “and for very little expense they could make it aesthetically pleasing to the residents.”
Crupi said it is demoralizing to live across the street from the abandoned buildings, and that they cast a negative light on the neighborhood. “The residents, myself included, are so sick and tired of seeing that mess,” she said. “It has a been a thorn in everyone’s side on Gibson Boulevard.”
Bleicher’s attorney, Dominick Minerva Jr., said he was still reviewing the matter, and declined to comment.
Second use of eminent domain
This would be the second time in three years the village has taken a property through eminent domain, but for a much different purpose. Valley Stream took over 195 Rockaway Ave., the former village hall, which is now being converted into a courthouse and law enforcement annex.
While that building was acquired to provide more space for village government, the motivation to take over the Gibson Boulevard properties is simply to improve a blighted property.
Fare said the village would likely use money from its savings to acquire the land. He explained that it can take the property before settling on a price, as it did with the Rockaway Avenue building. The selling price for that building was $1.3 million, and the village offered $880,000. A settlement has not yet been reached, but Valley Stream owns the building and is in the process of renovating it.
The village must still have the Gibson property appraised. Fare said his hope would be to demolish the buildings by this summer. Even if the land sits empty for a while as plans for its use are developed, he said, the simple removal of the buildings would be an improvement.