Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New York City Corporation Counsel to Pelham in 1887: We Told You So!

Yesterday I published to the Historic Pelham Blog an item entitled "Pelham Has Second Thoughts in 1887 About the Proposal to Create Pelham Bay Park". It described a meeting between a delegation of Pelham residents and the Mayor of the City of New York held in 1887. During that meeting, the Pelham residents expressed anger over the proposal to create Pelham Bay Park and remove the park lands from the tax rolls of the Town of Pelham because the move would double the taxes of Pelham residents.

Today's posting is a follow-up. A few days after the newspaper report that I transcribed and published yesterday, a second report noted that the New York City Mayor had asked the City's Corporation Counsel to explore whether repeal of the act requiring the city to purchase Pelham Bay Park would be possible or whether the courts might compel New York City to pay damages to Pelham as a consequence of the loss of tax revenues. The second report detailed the Corporation Counsel's conclusion. Interestingly, the Corporation Counsel chided Pelham for not supporting New York City's efforts only two years earlier to have the act repealed, saying Pelham lacked courage at the time. The text of the news report appears below.
"Fainthearted Citizens of Pelham.

Corporation Counsel Lacombe has replied in a long letter, with reference to Mayor Hewitt's inquiries as to the effect of the repeal of the act requiring the city to purchase Pelham Bay Park. He is in doubt as to whether the courts would compel the city to pay damages, or to what extent such damages might be recovered. He concludes as follows:

'It is greatly to be regretted that the large number of residents and taxpayers of the town of Pelham, of whom you speak, did not appear in the early part of 1885 to assist the local authorities in passing the bill which was then being urged to repeal the act of 1884, before any particular expenditure had been had or damage accrued under its terms. They sedulously kept aloof at that time, the excuse advanced in favor of some of them being that their social surroundings would be made so unpleasant for them if they undertook to secure the repeal of the bill that they would not dare to oppose the wishes of their neighbors in the matter. Had they possessed at that time some measure of the courage which they now exhibit, the passage of the repeal act, at a time when it could do least harm to the city, might have been secured.'"

Source: Fainthearted Citizens of Pelham, The Sun, Mar. 29, 1887, p. 4, col. 2.

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