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Pelham Supervisor DiPaola Heated Over Trotta Park

This story has been updated.

PELHAM, N.Y. – The Pelham Town Board discussed the lack of progress behind Joe Trotta Park at its Monday meeting, and Town Supervisor Pete DiPaola expressed his disdain toward the Village of Pelham for the delay in the production of the park.

“We approved the plans two meetings ago,” DiPaola said. “Since then, there’s been quite a bit of discussion in the Village of Pelham. They want to change the plans that they asked us to approve.”

The supervisor said “trying to get a meeting together is not the easiest,” but that he is not giving up on the park to honor the former mayor.

Trotta, who was born in New Rochelle and moved to Pelham in 1939, served Pelham for 44 years as fire commissioner, mayor, town supervisor and senior advocate. He died Feb. 23, 2006, at the age of 87.

The park plans must be approved by the village because the land, which is currently Brick Park, falls on village property. However, DiPaola was not pleased that the village has been slow, he said, in agreeing to a plan and said village officials must make a decision because he is “losing patience.”

“If we’re going to take the danger of losing the money, I don’t intend to do that. There’s a lot of needs for this community. So, either they get on board or they get off the train,” said DiPaola said. “It’s got to be done. So, I’m going to have a good, frank meeting with somebody over there and we’re going to get this decided one way or another.”

Pelham resident John Cassone, a friend of Trotta’s who regularly attends both village and town board meetings, called the delay “unfortunate” and “ludicrous.” He suggested that DiPaola speak to New York State Sen. Jeffrey Klein because Klein has more “clout” and the town might need “a bigger hammer” to get the plans approved.

A representative of Klein’s office was at the meeting and said he would ask the senator to call DiPaola on Tuesday. The money for the park was secured through a state grant by former Town Supervisor Joseph Solimine.

However, Michael Grubiak, director of constituent services for Klein’s office, said in an email to The Daily Pelham on Tuesday that he incorrectly spoke at the meeting about Klein’s involvement with the grant.  The grant was issued by Assembly member Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), Grubiak said, adding that it would be more appropriate for DiPaola to follow up with Paulin’s office, rather than contact Klein.

Two weeks ago during a village board meeting, the Village of Pelham Mayor Edward Hotchkiss said he'd be discussing the park with DiPaola. Also, Geoff Lewis, deputy mayor and village trustee, said that he and the mayor talked with DiPaola last week.

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