The deteriorating condition of the former Millwood train station has prompted some residents to demand that the owner either make repairs or tear it down.
“It’s really an eyesore,” said Millwood Task Force member Lou Russo.
The matter, which has been a longstanding concern, was raised at a June 2 Task Force meeting, prompting the sending of an email the next day by Russo to Supervisor Barbara Gerrard, on the group’s behalf, for a call to action from the Building Department. Concerns also include people using parking space at the site for the nearby North County Trailway, a bike path.
“The property was only supposed to have limited parking but it is being used by people using the "North Trailway" and the old building on the property is a danger to the community and serves no "Historical" purpose for New Castle nor for Millwood,” Russo wrote. “The building is beyond repair and is "an accident waiting to happen" and a potential law suit for the Town Of New Castle. The building is not maintained and is an "unattractive topic of discussion" for Millwood."
In response, Building Inspector William Maskiell sent a June 6 letter to property owner Leo Rotta, calling for him to repair the building or to tear it down.
“Pursuant to a complaint, a site inspection was performed at the above referenced premises,” he wrote. “At the time of the inspection, it was determined that the vacant structure located on the property is in violation of the Property Maintenance Code of New York State. Immediately upon receipt of this notice please make arrangements to either repair the structure, ( siding, roofing, paint, electric, structural integrity, etc. ), or have it removed.”
When reached for comment, Rotta said that he did not receive the letter, but was willing to tear down the building. Regarding site maintenance, Rotta explained that he regularly mows the lawn and keeps the site graded. He acknowledged the station’s condition.
“I don’t disagree with that,” he said.
Calling the old building “a cute little thing to look at,” and one that people have expressed interest in using, Rotta would not have a problem with renovating the station, but the economics of doing so, citing concern for having to spend fees going through the Planning Board if needed, do not make sense.
Rotta, who also owns the property that Millwood Lumber sits on, is highly critical of how the Planning Board acts, calling its review process a “minefield.”
Regarding the allowance of drivers to park on the property before going to the trai, Rotta does not have a problem with permitting it.
The train station building served as a stop along the New York Central Railroad’s Putnam Division, That line, which carried passengers and farm produce, ran from 1881 to 1958, according to an Images of America profile book on New Castle’s history, which is made up of information from the New Castle Historical Society. According to Historical Society records, the building itself was originally for the line’s Briarcliff station, but was moved to its current spot in 1909 after a new one there was built. That station would eventually become a library.
After service ceased on the Putnam Division in 1958 – the right of way is now the trailway’s site – the building was used for services that included a farmers market, and for a taxi and limousine service, according to the Historical Society