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Yorktown Board Defends Decision for Demolition

More than a week after the Yorktown Board of Education awarded a bid to demolish the Melbourne Farmhouse , Board President Jackie Carbone responded to concerns in a letter sent out Thursday.

Carbone said the abatement and demolition of the house is part of the capital bond project approved by voters in 2006. Carbone said the decision to demolish the farmhouse was not an easy one, but that no other feasible options remained.

“The Board of Education truly appreciates the cooperation and concern of the community as we have looked at alternatives over the past five plus years, and firmly believe that this decision is in the best interests of the community, given our responsibility to consider the safety and finances of the district for the long-term,” she said.

She said other alternatives were used to find another purpose for the farmhouse. According to Carbone, those alternative options included Hudson Valley Lacrosse and the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, who both decided the building needed too much work.

She said the school couldn’t be used during school hours because it is illegal for a district to put students in a wood-framed building. Additionally, the town clerk brought in an architect who determined “that there was little left to save and not much of historical significance.”

Last week Alan Strauber and other preservationists tried to protest outside the farmhouse . Strauber disagreed that the board had done it’s diligence in looking for an alternative use for the project and stressed that the house was eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, which would have caused it to qualify for grant money that could be used to fix it.

“There was never a meeting scheduled nor were they ever granted permission to go through the building,” Carbone said of the protestors.

Strauber said he made attempts to contact the school but his calls were never returned.

Carbone said what the former owners of the house would want done with it is not relevant.

“They sold their land and buildings in the first half of the 20th century. I would assume as most homeowners do when they sell their house they relinquish the right to determine what happens to it after,” she said.

Do you think the school board exhausted all options before deciding to demolish the farmhouse?

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