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Press release from NORSU: Narrowsburg-based group marshals resources to oppose drug rehab clinic in downtown business district

July 30, 2014

NARROWSBURG, NY — Narrowsburg Organized For Responsible School Usage (NORSU), a group of concerned home and business owners who want to encourage economic growth by promoting and preserving the character, natural resources and cultural heritage of the pre-Revolutionary War hamlet of Narrowsburg, in the Town of Tusten, NY, officially announced its formation. NORSU was founded to prevent the conversion of the historic Narrowsburg Rural School—decommissioned in 2005—into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic slated for a downtown zoning district which currently prohibits such a use.

On June 19, when the Sullivan West Central School District (SWCSD) awarded the winning bid to a family-run business from Ft. Lauderdale, FL proposing an in-patient drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic over a bid by a local family proposing a community-orientated center, the outcry of disapproval was palpable in the town of Tusten, particularly in the hamlet of Narrowsburg, a Delaware River community within the town’s boundaries and host to the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance. In recent years, Narrowsburg has developed into a thriving arts, dining and shopping destination. Tusten is one of many towns that comprise a large school district running from Youngsville in Sullivan County to Hancock in Delaware County.

Opposition to the sale was swift. Former Tusten clerk and NORSU steering committee member Kathy Michell spearheaded a massive letter-writing effort to the state comptroller’s office. “We believe there were a number of procedural improprieties that occurred during the bidding process,” said Michell. In response, well over 300 individually signed letters were sent to the comptroller’s office asking him to sort this out by conducting an audit to determine the fairness and legality of the school board’s actions. In addition, the group’s attorney is looking into NORSU’s claim that the school board misunderstood the parameters of its fiduciary responsibility in the sale of the school and may have not performed the requisite due diligence.