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Road Debate Does Not Surprise Pelham Family

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 [O’Connor], one of the residents of Clovelly, said, ‘well, fine, you want to put this drain pipe in, but it’s a private street, so you have to get the permission of the residents of the street.’ That’s when they [the board] said, ‘oh, no it isn’t.’ Then, that’s 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 it’s public or private seems to be at the convenience of the mayor or the town. I mean, I don’t 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 – I’ve been around too long, to tell you the truth. There were good points and bad points about it public or private, but I’m just amazed at the way this was done.

TDP: What frustrates you most about the process?

ANTHONY: It’s the usual backroom politics I think that’s 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 don’t know, I really don’t know. I can only speculate. I always look at motivation, but I don’t have any basis, except for the result that I’m seeing. Why are they so invested in this? I don’t know.

They seem to, I think for whatever reason, they want this theater. They want this thing to go through and maybe even there’s more than one motivation. Maybe they want to get all the money from the parking. I mean, that’s my best guess. So, they don’t care what precedents were set. They don’t 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, it’s 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 it’s unnecessary. I think it’s what brought all of this about and I’d be very pleased if they just left everything the way it was.

TDP: And it’s not guaranteed that the drain pipe will go in, right?

ANTHONY: It’s probably not going to go in. If the usage, the demand, the attendance at this theater is any indication, I can’t imagine even the wealthiest philanthropists with the deepest pockets are gonna want to front this building that would necessitate the drain pipe. That’s 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 there’s 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 don’t 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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