Residents Call for Old Millwood Train Station to be Repaired or Demolished

Task Force members frustrated with its condition. Property owner open to tearing it down.

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

David Streich June 10, 2011 at 02:46 PM
I've always thought they should turn it into a coffeeshop for people on the trail.
Barbara Katz June 11, 2011 at 02:00 PM
I love the look of the old building and would like to see it turned into a tea house or some sort of rest stop for the bike trail (with beverages and light snacks). Losing it to demolition would be a shame and a loss to the charm of the town. Chappaqua resident
Vernon June 11, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Should be a stop for the Trailway with parking, bicycle rental, concessions, etc. to promote activity.
Ray June 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM
You might be interested to know that it was used as a United States Post Office at one time and you may want to check with the Federal Goverment on getting some help in restoring the station that has great historical value.As from what I've seen there isn't much of the old Millwood left!!You might want to save some history!!!
elana mark June 17, 2011 at 07:03 PM
I painted the train station about thirty years ago and recently went searching for it. How sad to find it boarded up and fallen into such disrepair! I added photos of my watercolors to the photos of the train station.
Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) June 17, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Hi Elana, Thanks for uploading your watercolors. They look lovely!
Joseph N June 19, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Good day. It is sad to see that nothing has come of this great old building in such a beautiful town. It almost did though. After EIGHT THOUSAND dollars and many hours spent on site and town meetings, Mr. Rotta pulled a fast one . A confused man is an understatement to be kind. Manipulator? Most likely. Myself and well respected architect Chuck Napoli had a beautiful design for the property. Which include saving and restoring the historical building. Only to be stabbed in the back by Rotta in the twelth hour. In my opinion, he cares nothing for the town or this spot and could give 2 S#@!'s about how this property falls apart. It's a shame. After stringing us along for months and after getting initail approvals to move forward, the plan was scrapped because Rotta wanted to take 15 parking spaces for the lumber yard leaving our plan with 4 parking spaces. Hmmmmm, let us pay for the improvements, maintenance and get the town approval for our concept THEN, give up the parking for our establishment so you could rent spaces to the lumber yard without the town knowing . SHOULD HAVE SUED.... Good luck people, I tried. Joseph N.
david wolfson May 31, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Very sad, an old timer like Rotta and even worst, his family, not giving a damn about a historic site such as this. So much more value in fixing it up than building a replica. and the grant money out there to do this was enormous! David W.


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