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May Groundbreaking Eyed for Millwood Firehouse

Board of Fire Commissioners chair gives an update to the New Castle Town Board of the firehouse's status.

A May groundbreaking for the new Millwood firehouse is now what is being hoped for, Millwood Board of Fire Commissioners Chair Hala Makowska said.

Makowska gave a general status update for the firehouse to the New Castle Town Board during its Tuesday work session. She met, along with the district's attorney, to discuss a series of procedural items that were conditions for the New Castle Planning Board's approval last fall of the building's site plan, property subdivision and environmental permits.

The district is preparing to go out to bond for $9.95 million needed for the construction according to Makowska. The idea now is to get the financing by late March. Going out to bid and getting a contractor are also needed.

It is anticipated that construction will take about 18 to 19 months, until September or October 2014.

Voters of the Millwood Fire District - it includes Millwood, the West End of New Castle and part of Chappaqua - approved the bond in an April 2011 referendum. The district then spent more than a year before the planning board, which reviewed its proposal before giving approvals in September.

The new firehouse is meant to replace the aging Station 1, which is located in downtown Millwood and was built in the 1920s. The building will be located off of Millwood Road, several hundred feet east of the current site. The firehouse will be about 18,000 square feet and have five bays.

The planning board gave its approval with several conditions, three of which were discussed by the town board. Anthony Guardino, the district's attorney, said the items included getting feedback from the board indicating that a tree removal mitigation item for the plan satisfies the planning board's related resolution. They also included having the district find out from the town board whether it is fine with using $10,000 to pay for wetlands disturbance mitigation, along with the payment method for giving $11,500 to the town that could be used for future screening between the firehouse site and Ernest Vesce's property to the west, should it be redeveloped in the futre. On the later point, Guardino said that the district would prefer to place funding in escrow or to earmark it.

Board members were fine with the first two conditions, provided that Steve Coleman, the town's environmental coordinator, is fine with them. On the Vesce screening item, it was agreed that funding would be based on the “word of the district.” That remark was made after Councilman Robin Stout suggested the district, because it's a taxing entity, could back the funding with its full faith and credit.

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