Frequently Asked Questions about Walsh Park Benevolent Corporation
- 12 owner-occupied homes on Peters Way
- 23 homes or apartments (rentals)
- 2 commercial properties (rentals)
Walsh Park is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. A volunteer Board of Directors consisting of full-time Island residents as well as seasonal residents, governs the organization. The board meets regularly during the course of the year. The organization has two co-presidents, Ned Carlson and Andrew Burr, and one full-time employee, Matt Edwards, Walsh Park’s program manager.
- RENTAL INCOME – basically earmarked for insurance and taxes on our properties.
- ANNUAL FUND DONATIONS – basically earmarked for our program manager’s salary and for repairs/maintenance on our properties
- CAPITAL CONTRIBUTIONS – solicited from time to time as we undertake major capital projects. For example, in 2019 we raised approximately $3.6 million from approximately 80 very generous donors, to build the Ferry Building apartments.
- FRANK BURR ENDOWMENT FUND – very small at present and to which people donate from time to time.
All prospective tenants are interviewed by a subset of the Board of Directors and applications are reviewed by the entire board.
We seek tenants who have strong letters of recommendation and are prepared and willing to become active members of the community by volunteering their services to any of the many civic organizations that operate on Fishers Island, including among others, the Fishers Island Fire Department, Island Health Services, Fishers Island School, Fishers Island Conservancy, etc.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development annually publishes its Index for Maximum Rents for Affordable Housing Units in Norwich/New London CT. Based upon the age and condition of our properties, Walsh Park applies a 10% to 30% discount to the HUD recommended rates. The Walsh Park rents approximately cover the taxes and insurance that we pay on our properties.
Matt Edwards, our full-time program manager, resides on the Island and can be reached at (631) 788-7927. Among his many duties, Matt is available to address tenant concerns about repair and maintenance issues. Repair and maintenance work is generally undertaken by various Island contractors. We try to address tenant issues promptly and thoroughly as they are brought to our attention.
Approximately 1/3 of our properties are owner occupied and 2/3 are rental properties. This balance has evolved over time, partly because our younger tenants seem to prefer rentals and partly because the cost of home ownership is high.
We believe that more home ownership is a worthy objective and are constantly exploring ways in which we can encourage people to buy their homes. Recently, we sold a Walsh Park home to one of our tenants and we are willing to engage in similar transactions as buyers are identified.
The original Peters Way properties were built in the 1990 on a 24-acre parcel that was purchased by Walsh Park from Mrs. Henry Walsh in 1987. The homes were sold to year-round Island residents. Ownership of the land was retained by Walsh Park. Owners are able to sell the homes at formula prices, which take into account capital improvements made by the owners, and with certain restrictions. This structure enables the owners to participate the appreciation in value of the houses and to build equity in their homes. We believe that the project has been a great success insofar as the majority of the original owners still reside in the houses.
Walsh Park has a letter of intent to buy a parcel of undeveloped land from the Fishers Island School once various approvals can be secured from the Town of Southold. Approval of the sale will be subject to a referendum of registered voters on Fishers Island. It is hoped that a referendum can be scheduled for November, 2022.
Once Walsh Park purchases the property, we will then turn our attention to detailed architectural drawings, site planning, fund raising, and construction, all in coordination with the neighbors in the Fort Wright area. This is expected to be a long-term project.