PELHAM, N.Y. The Daily Pelham interviewed Anthony and Kobie DeVito about the Hillside and Brookside Avenues debate. They are a Brookside family affected by the Village of Pelham Board of Trustees decision to make Hillside and Brookside public streets.
TDP: How were you notified of the issue that Hillside and Brookside might be public streets?
KOBIE: I think what brought this issue up was there should be records of their meeting because I think it was in one of those village meetings they said they wanted to put the drain pipe down the street. I think Carolyn [OConnor], one of the residents of Clovelly, said, well, fine, you want to put this drain pipe in, but its a private street, so you have to get the permission of the residents of the street. Thats when they [the board] said, oh, no it isnt. Then, thats when it started. I think that one question was whether or not they needed our permission to put in the drain pipe.
ANTHONY: Another way to say it is whether its public or private seems to be at the convenience of the mayor or the town. I mean, I dont know if it was convenience beforehand, but as has been stated, since around 1928 or 29 when this place was built, everybody knew the streets to be private. It was never paved by the village to my knowledge.
TDP: What was your initial reaction upon hearing that there was even a debate about this?
ANTHONY: Nothing surprises me Ive been around too long, to tell you the truth. There were good points and bad points about it public or private, but Im just amazed at the way this was done.
TDP: What frustrates you most about the process?
ANTHONY: Its the usual backroom politics I think thats gone on here. Again, as I said, there are people in the village perhaps with money and power who just want to have this come through. Again, I dont know, I really dont know. I can only speculate. I always look at motivation, but I dont have any basis, except for the result that Im seeing. Why are they so invested in this? I dont know.
They seem to, I think for whatever reason, they want this theater. They want this thing to go through and maybe even theres more than one motivation. Maybe they want to get all the money from the parking. I mean, thats my best guess. So, they dont care what precedents were set. They dont care what was honored or not honored before. All they care about is the current issues that confront them.
TDP: The resolution did pass to make Hillside and Brookside public streets. What is the next step for you?
ANTHONY: I think people made the determination that, this is my understanding, that while we have something of a case, its not that clear cut and it would cost a lot of money. The theater and the powers that be have much deeper pockets than we do. It was clear, I think, from the get go that this was probably the best we could do unless we wish to expend quite a bit of time, energy, and money.
TDP: How do you feel about the drain pipe?
ANTHONY: I think its unnecessary. I think its what brought all of this about and Id be very pleased if they just left everything the way it was.
TDP: And its not guaranteed that the drain pipe will go in, right?
ANTHONY: Its probably not going to go in. If the usage, the demand, the attendance at this theater is any indication, I cant imagine even the wealthiest philanthropists with the deepest pockets are gonna want to front this building that would necessitate the drain pipe. Thats a lot of money for no good purpose.
They have two theaters already with one or two people in the main theater at many performances. They need yet a third theater? I have no problem with the theater, especially now. Years ago, the theater people used to park on the street, but now theres nobody going to the theater.
TDP: If you had your choice, what would you like to see happen now?
ANTHONY: Just have everything stay the way it was. If they want to make a cultural mecca, boutiques and stuff, you dont have gas stations lining the street three in a row in the middle of town.
KOBIE: No more expansion of a big theater. If they really want to do something for the town, do something about those gas stations.
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