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Peekskill Officials to Discuss Paramount, Wizard of Oz Statues and Capital Projects Tonight

Here's a rundown of some of the agenda items during tonight's Peekskill Common Council work session.

The Peekskill Common Council has scheduled a common  council meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m., inside city hall.

Tonight’s agenda include discussions on:

  • A discussion on the proposals submitted by Red House Entertainment, Tarrytown Music Hall and the Paramount Phoenix Group to lease and manage the Paramount Center for the Arts.
  • A plan to change the zoning in the downtown area to allow for greater variety in residential uses.
  • A contract with the Birsdall Services Group to create construction and permit documents for the Peekskill Landing Project. The city originally entered into a $129,450 contract with Birdsall for the services, but the city needs to amend the contract by $14,400 in order to re-bid the project.
  • The authorization to use funds from of an Empire State Development grant to allow Richard Masloski to sculpt life-sized bronze sculptures of the characters from the Wizard of Oz. The statue would be placed on the southern end of the Riverfront Green. Initial costs for the statues were estimated .
  • An update on the city’s capital projects.
Maggie Mayworth February 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM
I think the decision on The Paramount should be based on passion, new ideas and experience. From what I see the Red House group has all 3. They were clearly the most passionate, have 100 plus years of entertainment experience between them and they are local. We need new fresh ideas and the passion of people that live in the area and understand the needs of the community.
Patty Villanova February 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Wizard of Oz statues?? Glad to see Foster & Co. have their priorities straight.
joshua tanner February 19, 2013 at 12:38 PM
The Oz sculptures could be a good idea.Hopefully they remove the garbage sculptures from the main part of the park. That thing that looks like a German harbor mine is awful
Mary Crescenzo February 19, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Please don't use the same sculptor for the Oz statue that did the Lincoln statue. Take a good look at Lincoln at the depot. Its stature is weak, it is out of proportion, and looks more like Toulouse-Lautrec!
Peter Goodson February 19, 2013 at 01:58 PM
The talk is that this Red House group is going to get picked. It was a done deal from the beginning. The Phoenix Group is their friend Arnie from the Division St. Grill but will not get it. The irony is that Tarrytown Music Hall is the only qualified bidder and according to the city's rfp is the only one who should be selected. Red House people have no experience but have many connections to the Peekskill dems so once again in Peekskill politics trumps doing the right thing. That is why Foster stopped Tarrytown from partnering with the Paramount to take over back in October. If she stayed out of it the Paramount would have never closed. But then her friends wouldn't get the gig.
joshua tanner February 19, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Any rebound group that takes over the Paramount will probably take a big hit anyway because the economy isn't coming back soon - its going to get worse. Real problems not only don't get addressed they are intentionally allowed to fester so the crisis atmosphere can make people desperate for change that is ultimately bad for them. The health-care and immigration fiascos are an example. Personally I think anyone looking to open a theater in Peekskill at this time has to be a bit unsane.
Wendy Kelly February 19, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Patty I am glad you said it first. I second it Wizard of Oz very very strange. Leave Riverfront alone keep the statues in a museum or courtyards.
Lynn February 19, 2013 at 03:04 PM
In my opinion the Council is taking this responsibility seriously with no hidden agenda. Anyone willing to take on the Paramount project should be applauded. It will be an uphill battle. It will require a high level of energy and commitment. It will need to have individuals dedicated to making this project work for the sake of Peekskill. I think Red House should be given the chance. Tarrytown, while qualified, will be competing with itself. Not sure Phoenix has the experience with entertainment. I thank the Council for all of their work.
Tina Bongar February 19, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Hi everyone, especially reporter Rasheed: While everyone checks in on statue style and Paramount programmers (very important, yes!) I just want to check in on the integrity of the PREFERRED Peekskill City contractor, Birdsall Services Group -- The NJ Attorney General's office just sent me this press release: http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases13/pr20130213d.html Rasheed, the other New Jersey Patch reporters are on this -- as taxpayers we need some answers about this contractor's relationship with the City, just some transparency, a little visibility... I have recently FOIL-ed the dollar amount we paid Birdsall just in the last year which I estimate to be over $300,000. I think it's time for the New York AG to look into this, I've asked the current administration very nicely, as did Anthony Ruggiero, to look in to this but have not received one bit of information. I guess this is why the City has not accepted my application to the Ethics Committee.
Peter Goodson February 19, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Lynn, you are either connected with Red House or a member of the dem organization to make a comment as you did. We all know the "committee" created to vet the responses were nothing more that a bunch of dem hacks put there to make sure the "proper" choice is made for their friend. Wendy - you are right, the Oz thing was a joke from the beginning and has been totally invented without fact. There has never been any proven connection. To steal money from an existing grant to put Oz statues at the riverfront makes no sense - which is why they will do it. Mary C. - you have no idea what you are talking about. The Lincoln statue is awesome. You don't like it because it was done before your council friends were elected.
Wendy Kelly February 19, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Peter Goodson I don't know who you are but I have always loved you since the jumping story and you commented rumor says it was Mary Foster. I am still laughing!!!
Wendy Kelly February 19, 2013 at 04:46 PM
You go Tina Bongar! Excellent investigative reporting. You are a thorn in their side naturally they wouldn't consider a smart lady like you. Much appreciated.
Kurt G Heitmann February 19, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Dear Mr. Goodson, My name is Kurt Heitmann and I am the CEO of Red House Entertainment. Your comments were forwarded to me and I feel as though I must reply in kind as your comments are simply not true. I would like it to be known that we have no political agenda or other prior relationships with any members of the committee or the City of Peekskill. I am a professional businessman who has put together a group of other professionals that collectively have over 100 years of experience in the entertainment business. We have no hidden agenda here. What we do have, and what is needed is; event management/booking, business management, production management and operations management experience along with a network of relationships with talent, producers and distributors. We feel we offer the greatest possibility that the Paramount will become the destination and the crown jewel in the Hudson Valley, where we ALL live. Thats is our agenda Mr. Goodson. Thank you for your time. Kurt G. Heitmann
Wendy Kelly February 19, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Peter Goodson things certainly sound very fishy to me if your first comment is true. That is how things unfortunately run in any business. It is not how qualified you are it is who you know 100% of the time. Mr. Heitman if you currently run a professional business may I have your web site url? Thank you.
Lynn February 19, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Peter, for the record I am proudly a Registered Republican.
notsurprisedonebit February 19, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Whoever takes over the Paramount needs to make sure that the shows and movies reflect all of the community. There should be shows for kids, teens, all cultures, etc. Not just some 30 year old movies and classical music shows. One of the reasons why they lose so much money is that not many people attend the shows that they have. If done right, there could be shows of all kinds, and without trouble or problems. Just my opinion.
Peter Goodson February 19, 2013 at 10:50 PM
I have stated nothing that is not correct or true. A few embers of the "selection committee" and the council have been blabbering about this at public events and places where people can hear. They have not been shy about what will happen tonight when Red House is announced as the selected group. The members of Red House may be very professional and serious about their plan. I hope it works. They just let themselves get tainted by the politics of those in city hall and the BID. Lynn - of course you are.
Joe Citizen February 19, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Spending money on Wizard of Oz statues - really? I hope Queen Mary pulls the curtain back and asks for a brain while the rest of her puppets (council) asks for courage so they can stand up to her and speak for themselves.
Wendy Kelly February 19, 2013 at 11:32 PM
I have given up on this city once and for all! When Kathy Talbot asked why I felt the way I did about Wizard of Oz statues at Riverfromt Green I refused to answer her ridiculous question. Okay every morning waiting for the train I will be singing I'm off to see the Wizard the wonderful Wizard of Oz. Leave the city alone it is beautiful the way it is. We need more cheesy sculptures at RFG. The kalidoscope needs to be removed sooner than later. People don't go to RFG for the sculptures it is the beautiful natural river and mtns. The memorial serves a purpose so that we remember and beautiful other than that get rid of the rest.
peekskillman February 19, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Lions and tigers and bears?? Oh my. Perhaps some of the inane thinking that went into approving the use of this grant money could have been put to better use. Sidewalk and infrastructure improvements,sprucing up Depew park, cleaning the downtown and perhaps putting those that got laid off back to work are a few of the ideas that come to mind. The cost was noted as $225 in 2011, what will it be now, 2 years later? Perhaps the designer is from the same school as the firehouse architect, in that as the years go by, the price remains the same, no matter what the economy is doing. It boggles the mind...
leesther brown February 20, 2013 at 02:07 AM
So why don't you tell us who all these folks are....Now I already knew you were the pick..it wasn't hard to tell...Let me ask you what does Eldridge have to do with your group.. and isn't Mikey Morey(who sits on the committee) his spokesperson?!!...#truth..
john basic February 20, 2013 at 05:03 AM
As they say, the proof will be in the pudding. The end results will be wether the Paramount is a success. I say lets drop all of the political talk after the group is choosen and give them a grace period to get the Paramount up and running.
RealTimeRufus February 20, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Some interesting points raised here. Mary C - good point about the Lincoln statue. I've always thought something looked odd and disproportionate about the whole thing. I could never pinpoint it, though. It just looks like some part of it is either too tall or too short or too wide. I think it may be the legs. Lincoln was ugly enough as is. No reason to make him worse than he was. Nevertheless, it might be easier for the sculptor to do a Flying Monkey or a Toto dog. I don't know anything about any behind-the-scenes political gladhanding re: the Paramount but I do know that Kurt Heitmann put on a good presentation. Wendy K is right, though. Red House immediately needs to set up a website. It doesn't look good not to have one with a venture of this size. La maison rouge. As far as the kaleidoscope harbor mine washed up on shore at the RFG, I think we're all in agreement on that. That travesty has done more damage to the reputation of the town than all the violent crimes of the last twenty years combined. MARY FOSTER - TEAR DOWN THAT MINE!
Joe Shmoe February 21, 2013 at 06:32 AM
Must make you glad that they aren't putting them in Putnam Valley huh Patty?
Joe Shmoe February 21, 2013 at 06:35 AM
Now that is some good hearted humor right there. And here I thought it was a huge replica of the HIV virus. Which is fitting for all the IV drug usage going on around here.
LoveElvis February 22, 2013 at 05:44 AM
Mr. Heitmann - I read these insane comments for fun. It seems like 6-7 cranks comment on every issue. Usually, ill informed and very anti-administration. Please dont take thier ranting serious and please dont think this represents any part of Peekskill. If your group is eventually chosen, I wish you the best of luck.
Diana February 23, 2013 at 07:06 PM
I totally disagree with you Mary...The Lincoln Statue is a master piece. A true vision of Lincoln himself.
Diana February 23, 2013 at 07:09 PM
The Oz Statues would enhance the Riverfront front. Attract tourist, and teach the young and the old a little history. To dismiss the Oz idea is a great mistake.
Diana February 23, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Peter, The idea of the Oz Statues came about several years ago. The connection to Frank Baum and Peekskill is a fact. Having the statues down at the waterfront would bring pleasure for all those who visit. Yes, I do agree with you on the Lincoln statue, It's a marvelous piece keep art alive!

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