PORT JERVIS, N.Y. — Monday evening, former 2017 Fourth Ward candidate and activist Jill Lindner delivered her results to the Common Council and the public regarding a petition that she had started earlier this month.
The petition, signed by 52 people, began after news broke that the firehouse property at 15 Seward Ave. was expected to be sold by the city to the Salvation Army next door as had been done with 17 Seward Ave. not long before.
Lindner, with her concept, hopes to not only beautify the neighborhood but inspire, educate and enrich the lives of her neighbors in the Fourth Ward.
That’s the simple reason.
There is a more pervasive problem of the property pertinent to those who pay taxes in the City of Port Jervis.
In 2011, the city sold the property for $57,500, turning an immediate profit on the property of 17 Seward Ave. after having spent $35,500 to clear the property. Therein lies the problem however: the city, therefore the taxpayers, foot the bill to see their taxes raised ever more slightly by the rescinding of the property from the tax rolls.
“Gardens = Quality of life, making property worth more.”
So when in 2017 the city spent $101,752 to demolish the old firehouse at 15 Seward Ave. and test for asbestos, concerned neighbors spoke up and Lindner listened.
If it was to be of detriment to the situation of taxpayers, Lindner saw no reason why it couldn’t be, more positively, a tax-free project that served the community directly. Owned by the Ward for the next hundred years.
For the neighborhood, by the neighborhood.
When the idea was first raised by Lindner to a closed meeting with Mayor Kelly Decker, there was supposed to be two Fourth Ward representatives present to hear the notion. Yet, only Lisa Randazzo was present
According to Lindner, when she asked Stanley Siegel why he was a no-show, the councilman with a dozen years under his belt responded that he had not been called.
Though the shortcoming in communication, Lindner later says that not only did she get support at the meeting, but she was introduced to ways and means of financial support for the project.
Although Lindner has found volunteers “already rolling up their sleeves,” there has been “negative spin” from those with a voice that’s well-heard.
For instance, at the first Common Council meeting of the new year, in response to her open letter calling for public support, Siegel had the following to say:
“Not sure that site would be in the best interest of anybody.”
Jill Lindner, as an environmental activist and artist, wishes to create and inspire a healthier, greener planet. Believing in “starting where you are” she ran for councilwoman to the Fourth Ward in 2017 after years of demonstrating and getting closer to the Earth. Now, beginning with this garden project, she is finding new ways of doing whatever she can to make a positive impact on the world around her.
That’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise to any that have spoken to her if she saw this project through to completion and set a precedent for creating positive, organic change.