FIGHTING ‘OVER-DEVELOPMENT’ ON STATEN ISLAND:
Committee to Save Mount Manresa a leading grass-roots voice
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Friends of Mount Manresa hosted a community celebration – a barbecue fundraiser – on Sunday afternoon at Labetti Post in Rosebank.
The spirited crowd included some attired in new, bright lime-green T-shirts bearing the latest anti-over-development messages from the nonprofit Committee to Save Mount Manresa.
Beginning in 2013, this grass-roots group led a persistent but ultimately unsuccessful battle to preserve the historic buildings and old-growth forest on the 15-acre hilltop site in Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth neighborhood.
“The community recognized immediately the urgent need to protect the historical site, 20,000-year-old glacial hillside, beautiful valley, and hundreds of extremely rare old-growth trees dating back to before the Revolutionary War, and one Black Tupelo that was slightly over 400 years old, one of the oldest living trees in New York City,” noted Jack Bolembach, president of the Committee.
The Committee to Save Mount Manresa now focuses on overdevelopment issues Island-wide, examining in particular how proposed zoning changes can dramatically affect the quality of life for local residents, homeowners and renters alike.
“It’s about having a say about the future of Staten Island,” said State Senator Diane Savino, a keynote speaker at the Sunday event.
The celebration honored four community leaders who helped in the struggle to preserve the site’s built and natural environment from demolition after the Savo Brothers purchased the property from the Jesuit order, the previous long-time owners, with plans for a massive townhouse development.
The honorees were:
• Rosebank-born Joseph Bilotti, who conducted the Tuesday rosary in the Sacred Heart Chapel on the Mount Manresa site for over 17 years.
• Retired NYPD officer John Guzzo, Rosebank resident for over 35 years, member of Community Board 1 and chair of its Rosebank Area Committee.
• Native Islander Mike DeCataldo, a Vietnam vet, active member of Labetti Post, and caretaker for historic Mount Carmel Shrine in Rosebank.
• Larry Liedy, owner of Liedy’s Shore Inn on Richmond Terrace in New Brighton, who extended wholehearted support to the Committee to Save Mount Manresa, hosting fundraising events at his family’s historic tavern.
Join the Friends of Mount Manresa with an annual membership of $25.
Written by Virginia Sherry / Photos by Virginia Sherry
VIDEO OF DIANE SAVINO SPEECH: https://www.facebook.com/virginia.n.sherry/videos/10209564388240166/