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Town of North Hempstead Takes Down Grand Street School to Make Way for Affordable Senior Townhouses

June 30, 2014
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Town of North Hempstead Takes Down Grand Street School to Make Way for Affordable Senior Townhouses
Many former students attend farewell ceremony and demolition of elementary school built in 1926

North Hempstead, NY – Grand Street School, built 88 years ago in New Cassel, has lived many lives. First as a neighborhood elementary school for local children, back when it was called New Cassel School, and then as a community center and day care. But most recently, the school has been a vacant and unused building in the New Cassel Community. The school was torn down today, but not before North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Councilwoman Viviana Russell, Town officials and the school’s former students gathered to say farewell.

The property, approximately three acres, will be the future site of affordable senior housing, according to Town Officials. Last year the Town received a $200,000 grant from the EPA to clean up the abandoned the school, which was found to contain some contaminants. The Town will transfer the title to the land to the North Hempstead Housing Authority, which will then issue an RFP for a developer to build townhouses for residents who are 55 or older. It will take approximately 30-45 days to take down the building at a cost of about $700,000.

“While it certainly is bittersweet to see Grand Street School be demolished, it has become an unsightly and dangerous structure in this community,” said Bosworth. “I am glad that we all had the opportunity to come together to remember its wonderful past and say good-bye. Now it is time to embrace the future and I look forward to seeing new development on this site that will enhance the New Cassel community.”

"As newcomers to the New Cassel community with young children 15 years ago, we were happy that we were able to send our daughter to (Trail Blazers) Grand Street School for day care,” said Councilwoman Russell. “If you ask anyone about the Grand Street School you will hear an array of stories, but there is one common thread that resonates with most--it was a place that brings back joyous childhood and adult memories. It has meant a lot of different things to different people and I am glad to see that while the building will no longer be here, the site itself will continue to be a symbol of progress in this community."

“Taking down a vacant building that has become a dangerous eyesore to the community and replacing it with affordable senior housing is called progress,” said Assemblyman Charles Lavine. “The New Cassel community will benefit from both the demolition and the development and I am extremely pleased at the prospect of continued growth.”

"Demolishing the Grand Street School makes way for rebirth, so today we celebrate with New Cassel as this property begins a new era of service to the community. Although we celebrate the good times and great memories this school has given the community over the years, we also look forward to the new good times and memories that will come when this property is rebuilt, reborn, and re-purposed," said Senator Jack M. Martins.

“This is a great next step in revitalizing our community,” said Nassau County Legislator Siela A. Bynoe. “It’s poignant that this property that was once educating young minds, then left empty without purpose will be brought back to service and house our seniors. I’m thankful that Supervisor Bosworth and the Town looked to restore this great property more in line with its original grandeur – servicing our youth and seniors of the our community.”

Constructed in 1926, Grand Street School was expanded in 1958. In 1978 the Town acquired title to the school by purchasing it from the Westbury School District. The building was then transferred to a non-profit foundation and it became a community center. In the years that followed the foundation ceased operations and the County took over the property. In 2012 the County granted the Town the deed to the property.

From left, Town Councilwoman Viviana Russell, Joseph and Lillian Iannucci and Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth get ready to watch the demolition of Grand Street School. Mr. Iannucci attended the first kindergarten class at Grand Street and holds his class picture.

Former students of Grand Street School, along with elected officials and community leaders, take one last class photo before the school is demolished.

Cheryl Braxton, a former student at Grand Street School, holds up her kindergarten report card, as Bishop Lionel Harvey, New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine, North Hempstead Town Clerk Wayne Wink, Town Councilwoman Viviana Russell, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Town Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman look on.


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