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Mount Kisco Board Disputes Hospital Garage Plans

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — Northern Westchester Hospital’s plans to construct a 470-car garage hit a snag on Monday when the Mount Kisco Board of Trustees evaluated the hospital’s proposed method to transport construction materials to the site.

In a letter read at Monday night’s village board meeting, Hospital President and CEO Joel Seligman requested that the hospital be allowed to have 300 trucks pass through Leonard Park during school hours over a period of 20 days in October.

According to Seligman’s letter, the alternative route requires the trucks to make two difficult turns on Route 172 and Route 117, which would likely require closing both roads for a few minutes each time one enters.

Plans for the parking garage got final approval from Mount Kisco Planning Board in March, and since then, Mayor Michael Cindrich and hospital administrators have been exploring the fine points of both alternatives, according to the letter, which was read by Hospital Vice President of Human Resources Kerry Flynn-Barrett.

Seligman wrote in his letter that he heard some residents are opposed to the idea of going through the park but has never met anyone who actually is. Seligman said he does not want the village to inconvenience its residents just for the purpose of “satisfying some supposed opposition.”

“We are not a commercial enterprise. We are not Target or McDonalds. We are not creating a commercial venue in Leonard Park. We are building you a parking garage for your hospital,” the letter said.

Cindrich said he recognizes that both the village government and the hospital exist to benefit the residents of Mount Kisco. “We’re both singing the same song from the same page of music. We’re both not-for-profits, we’re both here to benefit the community,” said Cindrich.

But, he said if this particular issue had been part of the planning board approval process from the start, the current confusion could have been avoided. There were “so many unexplored opportunities that were out there,” he said, for example, if the trucks came in from the south on Route 128 instead of 172.

Cindrich said discussions about this issue between himself, Seligman and hospital board chairperson Bob Spolzino would continue.

Even though it is most likely that a relatively small number of people would be inconvenienced, he said the park is “sacred ground” to a number of residents.  “Even one complaint I’ll have to justify,” he said.

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