December 15, 2006
Dear Concerned Citizens, Friends of Stanford Home,
Health Care Advocates,
and Niskayuna Neighbors,
Bonding that threatens historic Stanford homestead on State Street
and Balltown Road, and its parkland, is going forward. As soon as this
coming Tuesday night, the Schenectady County Industrial Development
Authority could be voting to permit the commercial bonding the Ingersoll
trustees seek, to pass under IDA's special standing, and thus have
advantages that only IDA can ensure, it seems.
We have known for weeks that Ingersoll Trustees were turning to commercial
bonds. As our Capital District community became more informed about
the threat to the historical mansion and lands, citizens became deeply
concerned that Ingersoll Trustees were risking the beautiful and special
Ingersoll/Stanford. And risking it for a financially-shaky large, new,
health facility on Consaul Road, in a time when the economics of such
buildings are clearly a poor risk. When the word got out that Ingersoll
was seeking to sell tax-exempt bonds by a standard technique of working
through the auspices of the IDA, it started a public outcry.
This new approach to the $8 or $9 million in bonds still involves the
IDA, it appears. Details are being kept very close to the collective
vests of insiders. Is this not why health care costs are such a national
disaster in this nation?
At a Town Board meeting on Tuesday evening of this week, there were
some contentious exchanges during privilege of the floor between Attorney
Louie Lecce and me. Lecce has been the public face of Ingersoll, and
has stated for over a year that he represented Ingersoll Trustees,
at many Town board meetings. I often have been a spokesperson for an
ad hoc group, Friends of Stanford Home. At one instance on Tuesday,
Lecce pointed to me and said something like, "She and her friends
have caused the bonds that Ingersoll needs, to be more expensive because
they have to now get commercial bonds."
His partly faulty statement aside, that comment by Attorney Lecce reminded
some of us with the Friends of Stanford Home that the attempt to sell
these bonds was close. Dealing with this bonding before the end of
the year had been suggested to us by some of our fiscal consultants.
Lecce's focus helped us note that a public meeting of IDA next Tuesday
may be the key step to let the County of Schenectady's IDA play a role
that is counter to the community's fiscal and health needs as well
as the community's historical preservation efforts. Those two matters
are what is called a segmentated action, each dependent upon the other,
and thus both to be fought, or stopped, for good reason: Preventing
a failing charitable tax-exempt mission at the current Ingersoll, where
trustees are losing $10,000 each month with under-used facilities,
to build and run a huge and costly new facility.
Ingersoll does not need to build an expensive 74-bed facility for a
combined adult home and memory impaired clientele at a time when the
state is seeking to close excessive beds for nursing homes, hospitals,
adult homes and all. Nationally, health care for the elderly is moving
toward more and better home care to save expensive facility care.
Ingersoll is a very special case, for to build the new facility, the
Trustees plan to sell the elegant Stanford homestead with 12.5 acres
to a developer for a mall, stores not needed or wanted by most citizens
of our area.
We need an immediate investigation of this proposed action by the Schenectady
County Industrial Development Authority. This county entity has an
obligation not to further destroy our history, our heritage, our green
space, in exchange for traffic grid-lock, attendant exhaust pollution,
added lighting pollution, and more box stores, another drug store.
The facilitating of Ingersoll bonds permits sale and destruction of
the Ingersoll/Stanford as it now exists.
Besides the mansion and its very useful additions, there would be loss
of all of the majestic trees that grace the 12.5 acres remaining of
the homestead of five generations of Stanfords. The sons of the Stanfords
who bought the home and 200 acres in the 1850s, became international
businessmen on three continents in the 19th Century. And the world
famous Stanford University which was founded by son Leland, and his
Albany wife, Jane, evolved from the fortunes made by those businesses.
As soon as possible we will provide details for all who might want
to attend the meeting scheduled by IDA to consider the Ingersoll bond
arrangements. It is not unusual to make such meeting arrangements at
a time when most citizens are distracted by family and holiday celebrations.
That often keeps public attention away from actions that can affect
our community both in quality of residential life and in fiscal ramifications,
for years to come.
Thankfully, Attorney Louie Lecce inadvertently brought this issue to
light by his bond statement which jogged our research team.
Niskayuna, New York