The Masera School Referendum, West Islip
On behalf of the entire Terwilliger Bartone and Kelly Development team, we are, of course, disappointed with the outcome of the referendum on the sale of the former Masera School in West Islip. We applaud the school board for the professional and transparent process they undertook over the past two years leading up to this point. Over the past year our organization embarked on a public campaign specifically designed to counter the misinformation that was being spread on the process and proposal.
The campaign included 3 public open houses, webinars, Zoom meetings, mailers, ads, flyers, a website, video presentations, emails, and phone calls. We truly believe the proposal we brought forward, which would have provided a housing option that doesn’t exist in West Islip for residents who are over 55 years of age, was the appropriate plan for the former school. The school has been closed for two years costing the taxpayers $23,000 per year in upkeep, and that amount will surely swell as the building falls further into disrepair, while generating zero in tax revenue.
The proposal brought before the community would have generated over $8.4 million dollars in property taxes over the first ten years alone while providing the school district with an additional $8.5 million from the sale which the district had earmarked specifically to go towards the tax levy, not to mention the $1 million being donated to the school district for new athletic fields. The proposal would have put Long Islanders back to work creating over 100 local construction jobs at a time when we as a region desperately need employment opportunities, plus provided a boost to the local economy which comes when a $45 million private investment is made in a community. The proposal was for luxury units in a sprawling open air gated community with almost every amenity conceivable while asking for zero variances from Islip Town’s code.
As noted, we are disappointed but have the utmost respect for the process and the process provided a clear resolution. We wish the school board well as they head back to the drawing board.