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Pelham Supervisor Feels 'Dismay' Over Park Delays

PELHAM, N.Y. – Pelham Town Supervisor Peter DiPaola has taken exception to a word used in The Daily Pelham article describing his frustration with the Village of Pelham over Trotta Park.

The article stated: "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."

DiPaola said he felt "dismay," not "disdain," over the process and wanted to explain his position. He does so in the following interview:

DiPaola: I have to make a statement that, with all due respect, the use of the word "disdain" in the article is not the actual feeling I wanted to express. I have the utmost respect for Mayor Hotchkiss and the members of the Village of Pelham board.

My frustration with the process is more a "dismay" that we come to an agreement, then the plans that were presented for approval are changed by those who presented them after the Town Board approves them. The Town Board and I are committed to getting this project finished before the summer finishes. We have completed larger projects in shorter time frames. I have been available and will be available to meet with representatives of the Village of Pelham to discuss the project and I am asking the Village to make the same commitment.

The Daily Pelham: Is there a deadline on the Trotta Park decision and if so, when? Also, did you know Mayor Trotta – how do you feel about honoring him?

DiPaola: There is no set deadline that is in writing, but all of us in the town and village governments had hoped we would be breaking ground by early spring this year. I am sure that at this point both boards would like to have the project begin by late June or early July.

I did not personally have a relationship with the Honorable Joe Trotta, but have known about and seen the results of all the good works he did for our community. I had some contact with him when I was involved as second vice president of the Chamber of Commerce. He would attend some of our meetings, as I recall.

As far as my thoughts of honoring Joe Trotta, all I can say is that he was loved and respected by all who knew and worked with him. Joe Trotta is worthy of being honored by our residents.

The Daily Pelham: Where would you like to see this matter a month from now?

DiPaola: A month from now I hope we will be two boards in agreement on a design and breaking ground for a new Trotta Park for our community, young and senior, to enjoy.

The Daily Pelham: Which state entity is administering the grant for this project and when was it originally issued to former Supervisor Solimine? How has the town been able to secure those funds after years and how do you feel about holding up money issued from the state during that period?

DiPaola: Supervisor Solimine received the grant from Assemblywoman Paulin approximately a year-and-a-half ago. The money has been allocated, but we have to make sure the project is being done properly and for the best value. We are not holding money, we are being fiscally responsible. The Town Board and I are committed to using these funds for Trotta Park and getting this project completed. The Trotta family and Joe's friends deserve seeing the project we have promised completed.

I really don't think any responsible representative of the people would do anything less.

The Daily Pelham: What does the plan that was approved by the town entail? Also, do you know why the village wants to change the town-approved plans?

DiPaola: The plans the town approved were the plans that the Village of Pelham presented to us for approval. If you want to know what the changes are that the Village of Pelham wants, you have to ask them. I am doing exactly that. I already emailed the mayor yesterday afternoon [Tuesday, May 8th] for a meeting this weekend to review their changes.

The Daily Pelham: When do you see yourself and village representatives sitting down to talk about this and how has the process of working with them been?

DiPaola: I am planning to meet with representatives of the Village of Pelham at their earliest convenience, hopefully this weekend.

I have had the pleasure of working with many and various boards in my different political positions in our community and sometimes there are many different demands and obligations that affect the board's ability to meet and respond. This project has dynamics on both sides that unfortunately have prolonged the process, but both boards are committed to getting together and getting it done.

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