New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Vincent Leibell announced that their important piece of legislation, A.9224A/S.6108B, has been signed into law by Governor Paterson on May 18, 2010 (Chapter 86). This newly signed law authorizes the County of Putnam to discontinue the use of certain lands as parklands in order to construct a highly needed senior center in the Town of Kent.
Under this legislation, Putnam County’s legislature is now able to use certain, previously reserved parkland along Ludingtonville Road in the Town of Kent to build a Senior Citizen Center. Putnam County will have the opportunity to create this Senior Center on currently protected lands by meeting the requirements of federal law and dedicating other lands of comparable size to park or green space use. The county legislature has already identified these replacement lands which will guarantee the protection of local green spaces.
“This law provides Putnam County with the freedom to build the new Senior Center in Kent that it needs to be able to accommodate its rapidly growing aging population,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “The county has been extremely proactive in this process and I am happy to be able to facilitate its request to better serve the changing needs of its community.”
Three times in the past, the Putnam County Legislature has unanimously passed similar resolutions to be permitted to alienate specific parklands in Kent that had previously been declared green space. In this case, the county expressed the need to create a Senior Citizen Center in Kent and declared in their resolution that there were “no other feasible alternative sites in the Town of Kent for the construction of the Senior Center,” which is why the authorization of new lands was absolutely essential.
On August 21, 2009, Putnam County met the federal requirements needed to move forward with the construction by reserving nearly double the amount of land to replace the land being alienated to construct the Senior Center. Now that the Governor has signed this, the law can go into effect immediately.
Senator Vincent Leibell said: "Providing for the safety and quality of life of our constituents remains one of our top priorities and I am very pleased that the legislation needed to move this proposed senior center project forward has met the necessary state requirements."
County Executive Robert Bondi said: “The Senior Center at Drew Lake will improve the quality of life for over 300 of Putnam County’s older residents by offering comprehensive senior services including a nutrition program, wellness program, adult day care for the frail elderly and opportunities for socialization in a bucolic setting in Kent, NY. These services will enable our treasured elderly to remain in their homes in the community they love and allow them to continue to participate in the life of our community.”
William Huestis, Executive Director of Putnam County Office for the Aging said: “On behalf of the thousands of Older Americans who have been involved in our Carmel Senior Center, we extend a heartfelt thank you to Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Vincent Leibell for their concerted effort to pass the Drew Lake Senior Center Alienation Bill. The Aging Tsunami is coming, and Putnam County will be ready to meet the needs of the ever increasing senior population. With the help of our esteemed public officials, we are one step closer to achieving our vision… to have a senior center in each township to help our older Americans stay where they belong… in their community. We commend our leaders for having the foresight to make this dream a reality, and look forward to breaking ground on this much needed facility.”
Marsha Karl, President of Kent Senior Citizens said: “It’s been a long time in coming, but we will finally have more room and a place to grow. I can’t believe this will finally be a reality. The senior citizens in Putnam County deserve a great facility that will keep us in the community for a long time. The seniors in Kent will be so proud to have this new facility in our backyard! It’s about time.”