Hasidic group selling Wallkill campus where it planned to open school

Posted By on June 25, 2022

TOWN OF WALLKILL - A Satmar Hasidic group is preparing to sell the 17-acre former Crystal Run Village campus it bought three years ago with plans to convert it into a boys school.

Sheri Torah, one of three religious school systems for Hasidic students in and around Kiryas Joel, has signed a contract to sell the empty complex on Stony Ford Road for $2.1 million to a Manhattan-based nonprofit that serves children and adults with special needs, according to court papers filed in Orange County this week.

Sheri Torah leaders say in those filings that they decided against trying to open a school at the site after discovering it needed extensive upgrades and town approvals.

New site: Boys school planned on land bought from South Blooming Grove mayor

Bought: Satmar group buys Crystal Run Village campus to open boys school

The impending buyer is Community Assistance Resources and Extended Services, or CARES,which provides an array of services for people with developmental disabilities and behavioral and mental health issues. No CARES administrator could be reached on Thursdayto discuss the organization's plans for the campus.

The buildings and grounds were used for 60 years by Crystal Run Village, a nonprofit that serves about 500 people with developmental disabilities in Orange, Rockland and Sullivan counties. The campus has been vacant since the organization moved its offices to a new building it completed in Wallkill in 2018.

Sheri Torah bought the propertyfor $1.3 million in 2019, expecting to open a school for about 300 boys. But school leaders soon learned the buildings and infrastructure "needed significantly more repair and refurbishment than anticipated," including broken sewer pipes and a $162,000 water-system upgrade, according to court papers.

Moshe Ostreicher, Sheri Torah's administrator, filed the petition for approval by state Supreme Court to sell the campus, as state law requires religious organizations to do before buying or selling property. He outlined a litany of obstacles to opening a schooland said the pandemic would likely have delayed and increased the cost of construction materials.

He said Sheri Torah had bought the campus to relieve overcrowding at its schools in Monroe, which state records indicatehave about 4,400 childrenenrolled. Nearly 15,000 children in all attend Hasidic schools in Kiryas Joel and just outside the village.

The petition to sell the Wallkill property comes shortly after Sheri Torah secured another schoolsite near Kiryas Joel: a 21-acre property that South Blooming Grove Mayor George Kalaj sold for $4.6 million in March. The development plans for that property include a Sheri Torah boys school, according to an article published five days after the sale in the Yiddish-language KJ Weekly.

Chris McKenna covers government and politics for the Times Herald-Record and USA Today Network. Reach him at cmckenna@th-record.com.

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Hasidic group selling Wallkill campus where it planned to open school

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