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Thornwood Legion Site Vacancy Leaves Window Open to Possibilities

THORNWOOD, N.Y. – After the Legion of Christ announced it will be selling its location in Thornwood, the town of Mount Pleasant is left to speculate about what could eventually take over the 262-acre location.

“I definitely wouldn’t want to see some sort of department store move in, or Costco or anything like that,” Thornwood resident Miriam Thompson said.  “It would cause too much commotion here around town.”

The Legion of Christ announced early last week that it will be forced to close the Thornwood facility after experiencing a severe decrease in donations to the Roman Catholic congregation.  Jim Fair, a spokesperson with the legion, attributed the lack of funding to the poor economy and a sexual-abuse scandal connected to the legion’s founder, Marcial Maciel.  The facility, located off of Columbus Avenue, first opened in Thornwood in 1996.

Jacqui Koenig, the Mount Pleasant Planning Administrator, was unaware of the Legion selling the private property, but she said she guessed for a few years now that it could be a possibility.

“They haven’t stepped in front of the town planning board for at least five years,” Koenig said.  “So there was some speculation that there was something going on there.”

Koenig added that the property is one of the biggest parcels of land in the town of Mount Pleasant.

Bjorn Schellenberg, who lives in the Pleasantville section of Mount Pleasant, said he couldn’t guess what type of business or organization would purchase the property but is confident that it will ultimately benefit the town.

“I think it would be welcome to bring in a big corporation to the property and maybe help alleviate our taxes here,” Schellenberg said.  “Plus the town doesn’t just give away permits, they do a lot of research in to the whole thing so I think the process will just run its course for the best.”

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