Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

New Push to Save Oradell Mansion

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

New Push to Save Oradell Mansion

Article excerpt

ORADELL -- Borough residents who have fought for years to save the historic Atwood-Blauvelt Mansion said Saturday they hope that public pressure and new talks with the property owner will lead to the preservation of the site for generations.

Activists asked for the public's input and support to save the 25- room mansion and its sweeping lawn on Kinderkamack Road at a meeting at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, which is next door. They said an official from CareOne, the nursing home company that owns the property, has agreed to meet to talk about the site, and they hope the company will consider an outside offer to buy the land.

"I can't really be sure that they're going to entertain the idea of selling, but this is a definitive move in the correct direction," said JoAnn Young, who with her husband, Paul, are leading the effort to save the property. "What we really want to do is tell them the importance of the mansion and whether we can work out something else."

Young said CareOne's executive vice president and general counsel, Alberto Lugo, canceled a meeting scheduled for Monday because of a conflict, but she expects it to be rescheduled.

Messages left at CareOne headquarters Friday were not returned. A lawyer for Blauvelt Associates, a CareOne subsidiary, referred all comments to the company. Also, CareOne was not represented at the community meeting Saturday.

In a letter to JoAnn and Paul Young, Lugo said CareOne will seek the community's input "and take those views into consideration before making any decisions." He also wrote that "any development of the property will be sensitive to the property's history." The letter is undated, but the Youngs said they received it in late April.

The future of the mansion, which was built in the late 1890s and sits on a 4.3-acre estate, has long been at the center of legal wrangling and public debate.

CareOne, based in Fort Lee, contracted in 2007 with Jeffrey Wells, then the owner of the house, to build an assisted-living facility on the lawn in front of the mansion. …

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