June 15, 2009

20 years later, a former business owner wants to give the city back its land

(Top) 930 10th St. (Bottom-right) 901 9th St. The two properties are connected
by a driveway between 9th and 10th streets.

Twenty years ago the city gave Neil and Ramona Thorpe a piece of land on Ninth Street. Now the couple from Somers wants to give it back.

The Thorpes are trying to donate a vacant lot at 901 Ninth St. back to the city. The donation comes six years after they sold their business, Belle City Heating and Sheet Metal, at 930 10th St. (The company is listed as A&N Enterprises.) They assumed the Ninth Street property was included with the sale, but found out they still owe property taxes on the land.

In an interview Monday, Neil Thorpe said he took the land in 1989 as a favor to the city. Garbage was piling up on the property and Thorpe agreed to keep up the lot in exchange for using the land for his business.

"It was a total nothing," he said.

But despite getting rid of their building at 930 10th St. in 2003, the couple is still being charged taxes for the land, which is valued at $7,800. They owe $2,874 in taxes. Thorpe said he's never paid taxes on the property.

The City Council's Public Works Committee, Redevelopment Authority and Water and Wastewater Commission will consider the Thorpes' donation after its introduced to the council at Tuesday night's meeting.

Thorpe said he wasn't concerned about the decision.

"They'll do what they do," he said about the City Council.

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