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Business Council Of Westchester Backs New FASNY Campus In White Plains

One of several meetings that drew a large turnout of White Plains residents to discuss use of the Ridgeway Country Club property.
One of several meetings that drew a large turnout of White Plains residents to discuss use of the Ridgeway Country Club property. Photo Credit: File photo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Business Council of Westchester (BCW) urged its members on Tuesday to support a new French-American School of New York on the former Ridgeway Country Club.

FASNY's request for a special permit to build the private elementary and secondary school campus goes to the White Plains Common Council at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, when a "supermajority" vote of at least five of seven members is required for the project to move forward. It's been in various stages of review since early 2011, as reported here by Daily Voice.

In his message to BCW members, John Ravitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Business Council said, "Please join us in urging the city's elected officials to support this appropriate use for the abandoned golf club."

FASNY wants to build a $60 million K-12 campus on the 128-acre site formerly used as a golf course while merging its three schools now located in Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Scarsdale.

"Unfortunately, the outcome of the vote appears close but uncertain,'' Ravitz said on Tuesday. "The Business Council of Westchester has been a strong supporter of FASNY's plan for the former Ridgeway Country Club and we urge our members to contact Mayor Tom Roach's office (914) 422-1411 to urge a YES vote. Because the property is considered environmentally sensitive, it requires a 5-vote super-majority rather than a 4-3 simple majority."

"The school has shown both flexibility and willingness to compromise throughout the lengthy review. A small but well-organized group of neighbors has not. Despite the fact that they have offered no viable alternative, their chronic opposition has apparently led some members of the Common Council to oppose the plan,'' Ravitz said.

"There is little doubt that a rejection of the plan after the incredibly thorough, time-consuming and expensive review process will trigger a costly litigation against the city. We believe that exposing the taxpayers to such a suit with a strong possibility that the city would lose, makes no sense and is damaging to the city's overall reputation as forward thinking'' Ravitz added.

The new campus will generate $14.3 million in annual economic benefits to businesses in White Plains and an additional $22 million for businesses throughout Westchester, according to Ravitz. It will create 530 new construction jobs in Westchester as well as an additional 317 jobs in support industries and businesses, he said. FASNY will employ 232 full-time and part-time individuals.

In addition to the economic benefits, 78 of the property's 130 acres will be preserved as a publicly accessible open space with hiking and biking trails and at no cost to the city, Ravitz told BCW members.

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