Crossgates Shouldn't Expand

But Who Will Stop Them?

By Daniel Van Riper

Here are some reasons why the Pyramid Corporation's Crossgates Maul shouldn't be allowed to double in size again:

(1) They don't pay their taxes. After the last time Crossgates doubled in size, the town of Guilderland raised the assessment on The Maul by about a third. Pyramid has kept the town in court for years and has refused to pay their fair share of taxes. Of course, the taxpayers are paying the lawyers who are defending the town from these deadbeats.

(2) They depress the local economy. Right now, fifteen percent of every retail dollar in the Capital District is sucked into The Maul. There are no mom and pop stores in The Maul, only large chains. Most of the money spent there by local folks leaves the local economy... and is never seen again.

(3) Quality of life declines. Traffic around The Maul is already a nightmare, let's try to imagine it getting much worse as it doubles in size. Residents also complain of increased noise and air pollution. As for crime, the Blotters and Dockets column in the Altamont Enterprise is always filled with incidents at Crossgates, while the parking lot is never safe at any time.

(4) They won't stop expanding. According to various newspapers, speculators have been swarming around residential properties near The Maul making offers that homeowners feel they can't refuse. Supposedly, the plan put forth by Pyramid does not expand The Maul past existing property lines, but Pyramid has a long history of casually breaking faith and ignoring the law.

(5) The Pine Bush will suffer. Last but not least! All this increased activity will spill over into the Pine Bush, devastating the fragile ecosystem. Not too long ago, The Maul was beautiful Pine Bush. Today, the land is covered with filth and waste. Is that an exaggeration? Imagine what The Maul and it's parking lot will look like twenty years from now, run down and full of dangerous places. The Maul is built to make a fast buck, but that piece of Pine Bush is gone forever.

What Can Be Done?? We all have to pull together and fight. Guilderland residents especially should make Guilderland politicians suffer. Get in their faces and make them account for every action. Don't be intimidated by them, and don't be afraid to be rude. Remember, Pyramid Corporation gets their way through bribery (for which they have been indicted in the past) and is particularly fond of enormous "campaign contributions." Most of the local politicos stand to make quite a haul if they co-operate with Pyramid. When current town supervisor Jerry Yerbury was a police officer, according to news reports, he faked a heart attack and scammed five months worth of disability pay before the town booted him off the sick rolls. Quite possibly Mr. Yerbury may consider the Crossgates expansion a grand opportunity for himself.

Don't shop Crossgates, and be sure to let the merchants renting space at The Maul why you are not patronizing them. Write to the CEO's of Ben and Jerry's, Filenes, Hoyt's Cinema, etc. and tell them you deeply resent the part they play in destroying your community.

Save the Pine Bush is looking at the situation very hard, but our options are limited. Last year we filed suit to stop the movie theater expansion that illegally ate into the butterfly hill, but to our surprise we were roundly defeated in court. Possibly Pyramid took this as a green light to enact a wholesale rape of the Capital District.

Everyone should take the time to write a letter to Guilderland Town Supervisor Jerry Yerbury and explain to him that he will be held personally responsible if he continues to promote the expansion of The Maul. Write to him: Town Supervisor Jerry Yerbury, Guilderland Town Hall, Route 20, Guilderland, NY 12084.

Printed 6/98


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