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Teardown Likely for Old Millwood Train Station

Town officials state that owner intends to demolish historical structure.

The old Millwood train station faces the likely prospect of being torn down, according to New Castle officials, as owner Leo Rotta has informed the town of his agreement to do so.

New Castle Director of Planning David Brito, who said Rotta has agreed to take it down, said that he is working on disconnecting electricity and the water system in preparation. A demolition permit has not been issued yet, according to Brito.

Still, it's possible that the building could get a reprieve. Supervisor Barbara Gerrard, while acknowledging that the owner has agreed to take it down, told the Millwood Task Force that "a particular group" wants to look at using it, although she did not name who.

Attempts to reach Rotta for comment on his intentions were unsucessful.

Rotta's intent to demolish the structure comes after the town's Building Department calling for him to restore the old building or to tear it down. The letter, sent by Building Inspector William Maskiell, was in response to calls from Millwood Task Force members to have the status of the structure resolved, either through rehabilitation or demolition. Some Task Force members feel that the station building in its current condition is unsafe and unsightly.

The old train station has a long history in the hamlet. First constructed to serve as Briarcliff Manor's station on the former Putnam line, the building was moved to the line's Millwood stop in 1909, according to an Images of America profile book on the history of New Castle. That train line, nicknamed the "Old Put," run through Millwood from 1888 to 1958. The line's right of way now serves as the North County Trailway for recreational bicyclists.

jo September 13, 2011 at 04:22 PM
the Tucakohoe trains station, a real beauty..was turned into a Starbuck..yuk.. its a treasure and they made it a commercial horror... shame on tuckahoe.. could have been a nice Village Museum.. save this treasure..move and restore it and keep it away from Starbucks... keep integrity alive
Jeff Kent September 13, 2011 at 06:42 PM
This would make a great bike rental shop due to it's proximity to the North County Trailway...who do we have to contact about pitching ideas?
Bob Coulombe September 13, 2011 at 07:20 PM
Shame. Where has this man been for past 23 years I have lived here? Probably wants to put up a new building for a nail salon. Bob Coulombe
sonia September 14, 2011 at 01:47 AM
It is a wonderful piece of history...why do we have to lose it? Over what, money?! As a new castle resident, I wouldn't mind contributing money towards fixing it either as a historical site or a bike rental/repair shop (great idea!). Something does need to be done because it is a hazard, but why do we need to lose a piece of history in the process. We already lose enough of it! Let's try and conserve this wonderful idea of history.
John Magoun September 14, 2011 at 05:12 AM
Why has the town and the "Millwood Task Force" let the most distinctive single building in Millwood come to this point? As sonia says, I and I'm sure many others would have been open to a public initiative to buy or condemn it and put it work - along with a bike stop, it would have made a wonderful ice-cream snack joint.
Hala Makowska September 14, 2011 at 11:30 AM
The Millwood Train station is not only the physical center of Millwood, it's the emotional center as well. It's part of Millwood's history. Losing that bit of history will leave a scar as what is slated to go at that corner is a paved parking lot with no plantings as a barrier or screen. That's what will be at the epicenter. Not sure that's the tenor that residents want for our community. If the possibility of an alternate location (aka on County or Town property) could be identified, I think the community would rally and raise private funds to move it. It's perplexing that a little building that inspires love gets so little respect. I am attaching 2 links that that I think are worth reading: http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/index/letter_to_the_editor_little_stationhouse_owner_once_asked_for_our_help http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/index/imagining_millwood
Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) September 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Hi John, For background information on how things got to their current state, here's my story from June: http://chappaqua.patch.com/articles/residents-call-for-old-millwood-train-station-to-be-repaired-or-demolished
Millwood resident September 14, 2011 at 12:39 PM
The Town of New Castle & Millwood Task Force should be ashamed of themselves. The Town of New Castle waited too late with D'Agostino's becoming a Walgreens & now it appears the same is happening with the Millwood train station. And the Task Force should "think before they act" when suggesting to "renovate or tear down." The Millwood Lumber owner does not look like he cares about the outside appearances of his properties. And the economy is so bad how can they expect anyone to sink money into renovations when I imagine Rotta is trying to stay afloat. It seems like business sense to tear down. I do not agree with Rotta's actions at all, but when given a choice by the local government what is he suppose to do? Maybe they should've suggested, either renovate or we will look into other possibilities from the community to help restore. But the Task Force told him to tear it down! Other communities try to prevent people from tearing down such buildings, here they encourage it! I believe I read that the Town just hired the same team that suggested renovations for downtown Chappaqua to do the same for Millwood. It sounds like they may be too late if they do suggest to keep the train station as the owner is already disconnecting the electricity and water system. Millwood feels disconnected and lost. There is no center and no beauty. The one building of beauty being demolished will seal the deal.
Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) September 14, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Hala, thanks for the links, especially in light of the Town Board's vote tonight to decide on hiring Project for Public Spaces to do a study for the downtown. They were the same group that did a study for downtown Chappaqua, which eventually formed the nucleus of the current hamlet plan. However, could something like Tom Curley's proposal work if Millwood doesn't have sewers in the downtown, and could septic systems support that density?
Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) September 14, 2011 at 01:09 PM
FYI: Bill Kurth has uploaded a rendering into our photo gallery for this story, showing what the station could look like with a renovation.
Alan Schapiro September 14, 2011 at 01:39 PM
I was a member of the Millwood Task Force for 15 years. During that time we tried on numerous occassions to get Mr. Rotta to fix up the train station to no avail. He was very happy when the community rallied around him to prevent the Fire District from acquiring his land via eminent domain. He repaid the community by not putting a plug nickel into maintaining the building. It's a shame but the building is an eyesore and frankly I don't believe that Mr. Rotta wants it on his property. Remember, he was given the option of fixing or demolishing. He is choosing to demolish. That says it all.
Jeff Kent September 14, 2011 at 01:39 PM
I spoke to Bicycle World in Mt. Kisco about the possibility of converting it to a bike shop/rental shop and they said they had considered it... 'We discussed this possibility a number of years ago with a developer. The cost was prohibitive and the potential for earnings did not support the investment. thanks for the thought though.'
Hala Makowska September 14, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Tom - per your comment, the density does not seem that much greater than now ... but Tom Curley or a civil engineer would need to answer that question. Also Zoning may be at play. HM
Boyd A. Loving September 14, 2011 at 04:47 PM
The North County Trailway is also used by walkers, joggers, and in line skaters. It is not exclusively a recreational bike trail.
Jeff Kent September 14, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Nope, but I doubt anyone wants to put a shoe rental shop there ;)
Jeff Kent September 14, 2011 at 05:00 PM
I also contacted the Westchester Parks Department to see if they might be interested in this project...
Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) September 14, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Update, Sept. 14: According to New Castle Building Inspector Bill Maskiell, the electric system in the building has been disconnected. However, the water system still needs to be disconnected, which is needed in order for a demolition permit to be issued. It was thought, initially, that this had already been done. At the moment, it seems that the contractor who would do this is backed up due to post-storm work, so Maskiell believes it could be a couple of weeks. Also, he has not been approached by anyone interested in renting the station.
Joseph N October 10, 2011 at 12:05 AM
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.
Mae Isaac December 13, 2011 at 10:03 PM
I've been saying fro years this would be an adorable ice cream/hot chocolate spot - wish I had the money to invest...

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