The New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. on Wednesday night voted to name the bond counsel, trustee, and underwriters for an upcoming $65 million debt issue to finance the construction of a park atop a sewage treatment plant on the Hudson River.
The corporation named as co-bond counsel Hawkins, Delafield & Wood and Wood, Williams, Rafalsky & Harris, a minority-owned firm. US Trust Co. was named bond trustee.
To head the underwriting syndicate, the corporation named Bear, Stearns & Co. as bookrunner. Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. was named co-senior manager. The co-managers are Lazard Freres & Co. and two minority-owned firms: WR Lazard, Laidlaw & Mead and Pryor, McClendon, Counts & Co.
The corporation's board also recommended that the syndicate members use Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon as underwriter's counsel.
Terry Agriss, president of the corporation, said the board, after a long meeting on Wednesday night, had reviewed 14 law firms, 11 trustees, and 20 securities firms. The requests for proposals had been sent out on Nov. 13.
The sale is slated for February and would be the corporation's first offering of state appropriation bonds.
The park, called Riverbank Park and located on the North River sewage treatment plant adjacent to Harlem in Upper Manhattan, was supposed to be financed with a direct state appropriation in Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's proposed fiscal 1992 budget, which began April 1. But lawmakers trying to close the projected budget gaps in fiscal 1992 decided instead to bond it out, Ms. Agriss said.
The bonds will be secured with annual state appropriations, and a portion of the proceeds will be used to reimburse the state for money it has already allocated for the project. The rest of the proceeds will go to the park, which is expected to have a carousel, swimming pool, ice skating rink, and restaurant.
When the controversial plant was first proposed and then built, the Harlem community was insistent that they would have to have the park, Ms. Agriss. The treatment plant is still a sore point in the community, one of the oldest black communities in New York City. The plant's neighbors continue to complain about the odors emanating from it.
In naming the minority firms to the bond team, Ms. Agriss said the board took into consideration the controversy surrounding the plant site and the racial makeup of the community. "Obviously, yes, the location of the facility makes us even more sensitive," she said.
She added however that the board of directors has said it feels it should encourage minority firm participation in the corporation's bond deals, and she noted the corporation has a track record of using minority owned firms in its bond syndicates.
The corporation also has been overseeing and issuing bonds for the state's revolving loan program for municipalities financing sewage treatment facilities.