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NEW ROCHELLE-The controversial issue of how and what to build on Davids Island may finally be put to rest soon now that Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano has proposed acquiring the parcel from the city of New Rochelle for $6.5 million.

The 78-acre parcel had been the subject of a number of development proposals, including several by Donald Trump, who had proposed in 1994 to build a 45-story residential tower and three, 22-story buildings on the island. In 1995, he revised his plan and proposed building 48 estate homes that would have ranged in price from $3 million to $5 million each. However, Trump never moved forward on either proposal with the city of New Rochelle, which has owned the property since 1976. Prior to Trump, the city was negotiating with Xanadu Property Associates, which had proposed to develop 2,000 units of housing on the site, including one 50-story building, as well as a helipad and a bridge connecting the island to the New Rochelle shoreline. However, that proposal was eventually scuttled when New York State refused to sign off on the approvals required for the construction of the bridge to the island. Some years previous Consolidated Edison owned the property and at one time had tried to develop a nuclear power station there.

Commenting on the proposed purchase, County Executive Spano said, “Today, right now, we are ending the Davids Island saga that has existed for over 20 years. The county will purchase this land on Long Island Sound for the people of Westchester County to enjoy. There will be no private development. There will be no vehicle bridge connecting the island to the mainland and there will be no skyscrapers, hotels or casinos.”

The county will pay the city $6.5 million to the city of New Rochelle for the 78-acre, uninhabited property, which was formerly an Army post known as Fort Slocum. Under the terms of the deal, the county will hire a consultant to make specific recommendations about what kind of park should be constructed.

The proposed purchase must be approved by the Westchester County Board of Acquisition and Contract, the state Legislature as well as the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Funding will come out of Spano’s $25 million open space initiative. The County Executive said he hopes to close on the Davids Island deal in the first quarter of 2002.

The $6.5 million purchase price is based on the latest appraisal price for the property, county officials said. The county will also do an environmental audit of the property, expected to cost another $50,000. The county will also pay for an environmental cleanup of the property, projected to cost $3 million to $5 million, but Westchester County Executive Spano said he hopes to secure federal and state government funding to cover those costs.

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