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Benedetto asks state to investigate Ciampa sale

Community Board 10 and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto are calling on the office that regulates group homes to reconsider the investment one service provider is planning to make in the Waterbury Estates development.

At the Thursday, November 20 meeting of CB 10 in Co-op City, district manager Kenneth Kearns expressed the sentiment of most of his board regarding the proposal from Community Action for Human Services to open a group home for six developmentally disabled adults at 3407 Bruckner Boulevard.

The group home, which will occupy one house in the financially struggling Waterbury Estates development, bordering Middletown Road, Jarvis Avenue, and Bruckner Boulevard, has been criticized because many feel that state money is being used to subsidize the over-priced project that cannot be sold.

“Waterbury Estates is a white elephant,” Kearns said at the meeting. “There are 47 homes and 26 have been sold. We cannot understand why the state is willing to spend $800,000+ plus renovation costs – almost $1 million – when there are other suitable locations within CB 10.”

Kearns said that he would write a letter to the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities asking that they investigate the matter, and see if Community Action for Human Services wouldn’t be better served with an alternative housing source somewhere elsewhere in CB 10. The board has already written Governor Paterson’s office about the matter, and voted 34 to 3 against a resolution in favor of the group home.

While real estate values always tend to fluctuate, the most recent estimate of a Waterbury Estates home is worth in today’s depressed real estate market places it way below the $825,000 Ciampa Estates, the builder, is asking for. According to sources, the value of the homes has dropped $200,000 or more.

Assemblyman Benedetto, w ho is not opposed to this group home setting up in CB 10, feels that the amount of money the state is spending on the 2-family home is alarming, and needs to be investigated immediately.

“I am very sympathetic towards the position CB 10 is taking towards the home, especially with this builder,” Benedetto said. “I am not against a group home – per se. I think it would be good for the community. I think the state should back off and let Ciampa squirm a little. I am writing a letter to OMRDD asking that they withdraw state monies from the project temporarily.”

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