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Merchant Opposes Food Biz for Millwood Train Station Replica

John Picucci, Country Deli owner, would rather see bathrooms and something that brings diversification to hamlet.

While plans for a replica have been envisioned to include concession usage, one merchant is against expanding the hamlet's list of eateries.

“Downtown Millwood doesn’t need another food business," Country Deli owner John Picucci said at Thursday's Millwood Task Force meeting, when the status of the proposed replica came up as a discussion topic.

Task Force member Michael Stern told Picucci that Westchester County - the replica would be built on its property, south of the original building's site - is looking at a commercial use.

Instead, Picucci would like to see the replica, which would be near the county-owned North County Trailway, contain bathroom space. At one point, Picucci brought up concern about people coming off of the trail and using his space without buying.

Picucci told Stern that other businesses, such as Tazza Cafe, get folks from the bike path.

“We all pull off of that bicycle trail like anything else," he said.

Picucci added, “I mean, to put another business there, part time, right on the trail is kind of unfair.”

The original station building, which was in a dilapidated condition, was demolished in May on behalf of the Rotta family, its owner. The building was The replica proposal involves building a replacement structure on county-owned land to the south of the Rotta property.

New Castle Supervisor Susan Carpenter, who arrived to the meeting in the middle of the discussion, appeared irate after getting a recap of what was talked about.

“Would you like to have no further economic development in Millwood?” she said.

"No," replied Task Force Chair Dianne Kleinmann.

Carpenter added, “Any further economic development in Millwood is going to affect your current local businesses.”

Picucci, responding to the supervisor, reiterated his objection.

“You don’t need another food business down there. That’s what I’m saying.”

He added that the replica should have something to draw people and "put traffic into the town."

“We need diversification," he said.

In order for the county to be willing to have the replica, a concession business is a must, the supervisor argued.

“The county’s not going to do it if they can’t lease it for some use," she said. "The only thing the county is going to lease it for, on county land, is some sort of a concession for the trail way, the bike trail.”

Task Force member Jordan Schiffman, to clarify for Carpenter because she came in during the conversation, said he doesn't think anybody suggested it should not be commercial, but whether another food service vendor should be in.

While the county has not made a decision yet, BOCES has already done some work with its plan to reconstruct "exactly as it was," for the building.

“BOCES is willing to cut all the lumber and put it together," Carpenter said.

Stern felt that input from merchants could be included for what should go in the replica building. He also felt that having more competition could be beneficial.  He felt that in other communities, with having more restaurants, bars or cafes moving in, “the better every single individual store has been doing.”

sara brewster July 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Picucci is absolutely right. Bathrooms trump another concession stand. Why should cyclists use business facilities when the businesses get the septic tank burden without any economic benefit. Sara
eatingdogfood July 16, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Bathrooms? If you don't want the cyclists using your bathrooms, let them know the facilities are for patrons only. Another eatery close by is called competition, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
RF July 16, 2012 at 05:10 PM
When that "competition" is either partially or wholly subsidized by a tax-supported entity, it's called unfair competition!
eatingdogfood July 16, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Sounds like sour grapes. Something tells me you would oppose a food concession no matter what.
Reese Jones July 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Rocky's Deli or some other local establishment should bid for the food concession.

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