EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – After a long battle with town officials over the expired lease on its Highland Avenue cabin, the Girl Scouts of Eastchester and Tuckahoe finally reached an agreement to keep its home for another three years.
On Tuesday night, town and Girl Scout officials formally agreed to a new three-year lease with an option for an additional three years after that. The Girl Scouts will pay the town $1 per year and is responsible for all maintenance fees.
Pamela Makin, director of the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, said that if the group doesn’t breach the lease and sends a letter to the town within six months of its expiration, it would be able to renew the lease for the additional three years.
“The thing that really solved the problem is when our attorney, the town’s attorney and the Town Supervisor [Anthony Colavita] had a direct dialogue, not through emails. It only took one phone call, though I understand it was quite a call,” she said.
The Girl Scouts had trouble arranging a face-to-face meeting. It requested a sit down with Colavita and the town’s attorney but was forced to negotiate exclusively through email until late last week.
“What probably turned the tide was all the publicity. The grassroots movement let people know that the house was in jeopardy of not being available anymore,” Makin said. “Up until that happened, the town would not meet with our attorney to talk about the sticking points.”
Peter McCartt, volunteer chairman for the Eastchester Environmental Committee, expressed his happiness about the agreement on the Girl Scout’s Facebook page.
“Saner minds prevailed,” he wrote. “The Twin Lakes Civic Association and the EEC are in full support of your leadership and couldn’t be happier that we can continue this very constructive relationship for our community. Everyone wins.”
Makin praised the town for allowing the Girl Scouts to use the cabin on a month-to-month basis since its last lease expired Nov. 1. This allowed the scouts to continue holding regular meetings, as well as summer camp at the location.
“This is an important step forward because the Girl Scouts are a part of the fabric of the community. This is a place where leaders get trained; the cabin is a safe haven for a lot of these girls,” she said. “We think we’ll have a good six years, and hope for several more renewals after that.”