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Mount Vernon Council Expected To Accept Blight Study

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Mount Vernon City Council is expected to accept a blight study that found the neighborhood around South Fourth Avenue to be 58 percent " blighted ."

Conducted by Ferrandino & Associates Inc., the blight study found 39 of the 67 buildings studied in an eight-acre area to be "blighted." At a public hearing on the findings two weeks ago, most people in attendance supported the City Council's accepting the study.

City Council President Roberta Apuzzo said legislation to accept the study will be on the agenda at the City Council's meeting Wednesday night.

Still, not every resident is convinced that the study should be accepted. Bishop William Ewell, associate minister of the New Hope Cornerstone Church, which sits in the area that was studied, said there are flaws on a wall on the church's property, which the study found to be in "poor condition."

"I reviewed the blight study, and I don't think 'poor' is the proper word for a wall that needs to be repainted," Ewell said. "I just want to make sure that other properties in the blight area are classified correctly."

Ferrandino conducted the study on behalf of MVP Realty Associates, a New York City developer that owns several properties in the South Fourth Avenue corridor.

Resident Cathlin Gleason-Boncardo said the blight study needs to be accepted if any urban renewal is to take place in the area. Gleason-Boncardo said there are a lot of benefits to urban renewal, which should provide an incentive for people and businesses to come to that area of the city.

"I grew up in Mount Vernon, and Fourth Avenue used to be the center where everyone went shopping," Gleason-Boncardo said. "I know a lot of people who want to invest in Mount Vernon, and this is a step in the right direction. I hope people understand that this is just a foundation to start from. It doesn't mean there are going to be high-rises built there, but it should be the start of something better."

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