By Gretchen Althoff Snyder
Pullquote: One vote has the power to set the direction of the future.
While many Rye residents are fully engaged in the current Crown Castle and Thruway property/DPW debates, our town has a long history when it comes to hot-button issues during local elections. Issues relating to safety, education, development, and quality of life resonate with voters year after year, often unrelated to political party affiliation.
What are some of the issues that surrounded elections in year’s past?
Doug French, who served as Rye’s Mayor from 2010 to 2013, recalls several contentious issues from his 2009 campaign relating to taxes and government spending, infrastructure and road repair, flooding, litigation, affordable housing, and pedestrian safety. The one that sticks out in his mind is the purchase of the former Lester’s property at 1037 Boston Post Road.
The property (most recently Mrs. Greene’s) was purchased by the City in 2006 for $6.2 million as a site for a new police headquarters and municipal court. However, due to the projected $25 million cost of the project, plus the sharp downturn in the real estate market in 2008, the City had to abandon its plans and subsequently leased the property to Lester’s. At the time French was running for Mayor, “the City had a $5 million IOU on 1037 Boston Post Road and crumbling infrastructure (among other issues) . . . and residents were pushing for resolution”. In 2013, French’s last year in office, the City finally sold the property for $5.6 million and the money was put back into the General Fund for desperately needed infrastructure and road repairs.
Arthur Stampleman served on the City Council from 1994 to 1995, and again from 1998 to 2001. When he ran for re-election in 2001, one of the contentious campaign issues was whether the City should exchange property at the town dock on Stuyvesant Avenue for adjacent property owned by American Yacht Club.