Gazebo donor: ‘Peekskill is looking a gift horse in the mouth’

    An image of how the gazebo might look. (Image courtesy of City of Peekskill.)
    An image of how the gazebo might look on the brick patio at Charles Point Park. (Image courtesy of City of Peekskill.)

    The individual who has offered to pay for and install a gazebo at Peekskill’s Charles Point Park says that if the Common Council refuses to accept his donation it is their loss, and he just might donate it to nearby Mahopac instead.

    “I’m not interested in the politics of it and I really don’t care at this point,” said George Liaskos, owner of Holiday Inn Express Peekskill. “Peekskill is looking a gift horse in the mouth. I try to do something nice, something that will benefit everybody in Peekskill and they don’t want it? So be it.”

    DSC_1098
    The brick patio at Charles Point Park, as it appears now.

    Liaskos envisions an open lattice, galvanized, cast iron patina green gazebo installed on the brick circular patio that overlooks the river. The diameter of the brick, according to the city, is 32 feet and the gazebo would be 16 feet wide and 16 feet high.

    Liaskos, who says the total gazebo investment would be in the area of $20,000, said while building the hotel, which opened in 2014, he often made phone calls and decompressed at Charles Point Park, but thought something was missing. When the idea of a gazebo popped into his head, he decided that as soon as he had the money, he would approach the city about it. So, a couple months ago he did just that, with the idea that a gazebo at Charles Point could attract people to Peekskill.

    “They just filmed a movie in Peekskill,” Liaskos told The Peekskill Post Wednesday afternoon. “With this view, a gazebo at this location would attract movies. As well, who wouldn’t want to get married or have a special occasion and come to Peekskill and have photos at the gazebo? When a movie or a wedding comes to Peekskill, who benefits? The bars, the restaurants—everyone. What is wrong with that?”

    On the June 27 Common Council agenda is a resolution to accept the gazebo donation. If the donation is accepted, the Council will then decide on an exact location. However, some on the Council have expressed reservations about accepting the donation.

    “This really blocks the view,” said Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton during the Council’s discussion on the matter at the June 6 work session. “It is inappropriate in this location and while it makes great business sense for the Holiday Inn and for the wedding parties that they have there, I don’t know of anybody walking through that park saying, ‘Wow, we really need a gazebo here.’ It doesn’t fit the natural landscape.”

    After looking at the images provided to the Council at that same meeting, Councilwoman Kathie Talbot agreed, saying, “It is sort of an odd design, too. It looks like its coming from Russia or something.”

    Liaskos disagrees.

    “The view will be even better,” he said. “If you simply move 10 feet to the left or 10 feet to the right, this gazebo would not interrupt or block any view. It would enhance it.”

    Another point of contention at the June 6 meeting, raised by Councilwoman Vivian McKenzie, is that a gazebo in that location would in all likelihood help the Holiday Inn’s business, which could make it appear as if the city was doing the Holiday Inn a special favor.

    RELATED
    Additional gazebo project information and images 

    “This is pretty, I like it, I don’t have a problem with it,” McKenzie said. “However, this enhances his businesses so that’s not just for the public. It is across the street from his hotel and you’re right, it is the perfect place to take pictures, but our walkway is also a beautiful place to go take pictures. So I think we get ourselves in a position where it looks like it’s inappropriate where it is going to benefit not just the public but this particular business owner.”

    Liaskos said he gets upset when money is inserted into the equation as a negative.

    “Look, as far as views, it is a matter of opinion and I may disagree with that, but it is a matter of opinion,” he said. “As far as having a problem with someone making money, this is very upsetting to me. Very upsetting. Wouldn’t they like to see people getting married at the waterfront? And if people get married at the waterfront, wouldn’t they like to see them go to a place in Peekskill, say the Peekskill Brewery, afterwards? What is wrong with that? Would they agree that anything that attracts people to Peekskill is a good thing for everyone in Peekskill? I want to spend a lot of money to make something nice and for what, to fight about it? Is somebody afraid that I will gain something out of it?”

    Liaskos also said that the city would directly benefit through the city’s hotel tax.

    “I came to this country at 19 with nothing and now I own [the Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant and Ballroom] and in Peekskill I have this beautiful hotel built to last 500 years. This is the American Dream. If Peekskill doesn’t want that, maybe I will take it to Mahopac or somewhere else. I don’t want a fight.”

    Comments

    comments

    18 COMMENTS

    1. Back in the 1960’s, I remember seeing a film titled “A Peekskill Romance”. It was basically a can of 35mm dust, since it wasn’t on safety film. Only a few images remained and I don’t remember if they got transferred. What I did see reminded me of the scene published here. I recall that Miller’s restaurant had a collection of Peekskill memorabilia and I think it belonged to them. Amazing view!

    2. Leave it to the dopey Lib Dems to put the kibosh on anything remotely resembling an independent entrepreneur’s idea to better the city. If he had suggested putting up a shack to drive patients to the Hudson River Medicaid Mill, they would have jumped on it with open arms and probably given him a grant. But because it doesn’t fit in with their political narrative, they will deprive the people of a beautiful addition to the waterfront. They don’t even try to hide that it’s part of their anti-capitalist, Commie/ Socialist agenda. God forbid that a business man who’s invested hundreds of thousands in the community, should possibly make a dime. Meanwhile the hypocrite Claxton gets $65 grand for some dubious grant to renovate her property courtesy of the taxpayers but that’s OK. What a total disgrace. Thanks for publishing this story, even if it is sickening.

    3. I really DISLIKE (my therapist encourages me to find other choices of words in place of ‘hate’) the nonsense of the local politics in this community. Just as soon as I am able, (many of you will say good riddance, some will say what a shame) I am leaving this inane political heap of garbage behind and moving my family away from here.

      Sure there has been some nice attempts at improving the city, but not nearly enough to make an earnest impact. With a tax-laden firehouse structure soon to be erected, along with two apartment buildings…the infrastructure will further be strained. Renters, along with food and alcohol are not going to be enough to revive this ‘old gray nag’ of a city. Then there are our stellar schools. Sigh.

      Mahopac will surely LOVE their new gazego.

    4. Let’s make this happen!! It would look great great! I commend the elected officials who have concerns based on public feedback. Apparently some are rushing to a quick judgment to somehow claim these concerns are an objection to the gift. Wrong!!! They are doing their job to see if the gift is a good match for our City and if the interest of the people is being adhered to by accepting it.

    5. The light iron construction style of Mr. Mr. Liaskos’s suggestion evokes an important link to Peekskill’s successful history working with iron and it doesn’t remind me of a jail cell or cage at all. I do have a childhood recollection about getting a splinter off one of those bench/tables though.

    6. Sorry, but I think it’s awful for that space. A gazebo belongs on the grass in the park area. Not as a central focus impeding that gorgeous view. If he really wants it for Peeskill, let him put it in a place that makes sense. That circular spot is better served with a fountain or a piece of art created by someone local, that is designed so that the height doesn’t restrict view.

    7. God bless you George, and thanks for thinking of the Peekskill Community.

      I think the artists rendering is beautiful and would be an excellent addition to Charles Point. I think its absolutely ludicrous the Common Council is rejecting this donation upon the reasoning it appears to be doing the Holiday Inn. Its absurd to think a hotel with increase its business because its close to a glass gazebo on the riverfront. I would say yes if it were the Grand Canyon, Disney World, a sports arena etc. were close.
      The town of Peekskill is more likely to benefit from this than the hotel.
      Its more likely people would bring increased business to the restaurants etc. more-so than to the hotel.

      Weddings, parties, etc are more likely to book the hotel because of its location, rate. and amenities, not because a cool gazebo is across the street.

      The gazebo is just an added bonus, a cool novelty for the charming town of Peekskill and will not be a major factor for people to book the hotel. That assertion is ludicrous.

      If the council had rejected the offer based on the maintenance and the of the Gazebo, thats a different line of reasoning which may have some merit.

      I’m really proud and happy to live in Peekskill but this latest debacle makes the town and council look like self serving idiots and morons.

      If the gazebo ends up in Mahopac I will check it out and patronize their business’ gladly.

      I vote keep the Gazebo in Peekskill.

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