By Rob Greenstein
Train Crossing Safety
Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education wrote a letter to Congresswoman Nita Lowey applauding the Town Board of New Castle for identifying a project that concerns the safety of our students. Their letter stated that they support any safety mitigation measures as well as join them in requesting that the federal government fund the construction of a railway and roadway overpass at the junction of the Metro-North Harlem Line's Roaring Brook Road grade crossing and the Saw Mill River Parkway. Click here for PDF
Although there are efforts at the federal level to provide funding for a bridge, we are also working on short-term solutions. Even if the bridge was approved tomorrow, it's not being built tomorrow. New Castle Police Department has been issuing tickets to drivers waiting too close to the tracks. Local officials also are looking into adding road signs and pavement markings as soon as the weather warms, and plans are in motion to educate residents about reducing risky behavior at highway-rail intersections. We are also looking into traffic cameras. Our efforts have been noticed. Click here for Journal News article "New Castle fighting for a safer rail crossing". And I was thrilled to receive a letter from Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Operation Lifesaver made a presentation to the Town Board on Tuesday night. Operation Lifesaver is a National Organization dedicated to raising the public's awareness of the need to be careful around railroad/highway crossings and that it is illegal and dangerous to trespass on railroad property. New York Operation Lifesaver in cooperation with the Town of New Castle is very excited to help residents and non-residents alike stay safe around the railroads in their community. This is all part of the joint safety partnership with Metro North Railroad. Operation Lifesaver also works to change people's behavior around railroad tracks and crossings with the national public awareness campaign, "See Tracks? Think Train". We just ordered 2,000 "See Tracks? Think Train" car magnets. We are hoping to receive some safety brochures as well. Thank you to Metro-North Railroad Chief Safety Officer Anne Kirsch and Director of Government & Community Relations Mark Mannix for attending this presentation and answering questions.
2015 Downtown Beautification Projects for Chappaqua and Millwood – BAB Update
I would like to provide a summary of the Town Board's commitment of additional funding to support town-wide beautification projects.
Hanging Flower Basket Program: A total of 96 hanging flower baskets will be installed in the hamlets of Chappaqua and Millwood. This represents an increase of 46 baskets from 2014. An additional 20 baskets will be added in Millwood along Station Road. Millwood previously had 5 baskets. A total of 44 new brackets have been ordered to be installed on the light poles on the bridge and in Millwood.
Planters/Containers Program: A total of 54 planters/containers of variable sizes are spread throughout the hamlets of Chappaqua and Millwood and will be planted with annual flowers, and then the flowers replaced in late fall with winter greens.
Holiday Lighting Projects: A total of 20 new snowflakes were ordered to expand the coverage of snowflakes on the bridge and also coverage in Millwood. A total of 12 snowflakes will be added to the bridge, and 8 new snowflakes added to Millwood. An additional 150 sets of mini LED lights were ordered to supplement lighting of poles, trees and other areas throughout the hamlets. New LED lights have been purchased to decorate the Train Station. The lights selected are the same as previously selected for the Gazebo. Click here for PDF
Millwood Pedestrian and Safety Improvements
Senator Terrence Murphy wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos requesting $500,000 in funding be provided to the Town of New Castle to provide pedestrian and safety improvements in the Hamlet of Millwood. You can read the letter here.
Diversion & Clean Water
On the water and sewer funding front, in the State Assembly, Assemblyman David Buchwald sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie requesting a $10 million appropriation in the state budget to go to the Town of New Castle for the purpose of installing a sewer line to connect to the Saw Mill Valley trunk line. As well, in the State Assembly's one-house budget bill is a $250 million proposal for the water and sewer infrastructure program. Assemblyman Buchwald, as well as the Town of New Castle, has been in touch with the East of Hudson Watershed Corporation to see if they may be able to help fund the project. Click here to read the letter.
Gerard C. Moerschell, Commissioner of Public Works, made a presentation to the Town Board on "Potholes & Other Forms of Pavement Distress"
Train Station Restaurant
On Tuesday night the Town Board voted to approve the train station restaurant lease with the Chases. This restaurant will offer commuters and Town residents a new dining option. We believe this new venture will add excitement and vibrancy to our downtown. We understand they intend to be fully operational at the beginning of the summer. I'd like to acknowledge and thank our Town Attorneys, Keane & Beane, for their work on putting this lease together. This is the first time that the train station has been leased by the Town, and there were many, many issues that had to be worked out concerning the use of the space as a restaurant. I don't practice real estate law, but the thoroughness and quality of the lease was readily apparent to me. And one of the best parts for the Town, aside from getting an exciting new restaurant, is that Keane & Beane agreed not to charge the Town for all the extra legal work that was needed.
You can also watch the Supervisors' Report below: