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Officials, Residents Evaluate Millwood's Future

MILLWOOD, N.Y. - The New Castle Town Board and the Millwood Task Force joined together at Westorchard Elementary School on Tuesday night for an in-depth discussion on Millwood's future.

After months of planning, which included an official study from the Project for Public Spaces, both sides agreed that it was finally time to take the ideas out of the meeting room and into action.

"We need to be moving forward now," said John Buckley, a council member. "And do I back Millwood? You want to know? Yeah, I do. And I’m sitting here now and I want to tell you we’re here to try to put some energy into Millwood and make some improvements."

Much of the discussion centered on adding Millwood to the Croton watershed, believing sewers would greatly enhance the commercial tax base. Town Attorney Clinton Smith told Millwood residents not to put all their eggs in that basket as it took New Castle nearly 15 years to get sewers for Riverwood, Random Farms, Yeshiva and Chappaqua Crossing.

"That is something that the town petitioned for the other districts years ago and it’s only now come to fruition," said Smith. "A lot of it last year had to do with the two political parties grappling over control of the legislature. That wasn’t anything the town did, it just happened."

Smith said Millwood's addition to the sewer district depends mostly on politics and lucking into leverage, which the town does not currently have. Board members and residents agreed sewers would be ideal but they should not put other improvements on the back-burner until it happens. 

"We can look at that report and see what we can accomplish now that it isn't a big cost factor to the town," said Millwood Task Force member Michael Stern. "The pie in the sky things are wonderful, but we may never be able to accomplish them."

Smaller goals suggested by officials included making the town more inter-connected with crosswalks, walking paths and bike trail improvements.

“The worst thing about (Millwood) is there's kind of a dead spot,” said Town Planner David Brito. “It will be a continuous hamlet from one end to the other and it won't feel so separated. That's probably the goal.”

Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter said the first step in making the improvements is to get more community and business involvement. She said it is hard to plan for Millwood when the town only hears from a small group of residents.

“We have to find a way to communicate with those people and get those people involved,” Carpenter said. “This meeting was advertised and they’re not here.”

Stern said he and other task force members have already had lengthy conversations with residents and business owners and will report back to the town board with an official list of short-term objectives to improve the hamlet.

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