Millerton, North East get $578K from county for park and garage projects
NORTH EAST — The town of North East and the village of Millerton are celebrating the good news they learned at the ground breaking of the Millerton Community Park (MCP) on Saturday, Aug. 28, when Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced both municipalities were being awarded county funds for two very important projects.
Grant awarded for MCP
The first, said North East town Supervisor Chris Kennan the following Monday, Aug. 30, was that the temporarily renamed MCP, the site of the village’s Eddie Collins Park on Route 22 that is in the midst of a $7 million renovation, will receive $328,000 through the Dutchess County Municipal Innovation Grant (MIG) program. As it’s a village project, the funds will go into the village coffers.
Millerton Mayor Jenn Najdek said at Saturday’s event the additional funding will officially put the park committee over its Phase One fundraising goals, and that any and all contributions are hugely helpful.
Molinaro, along with Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature Gregg Pulver (R-19) of Pine Plains and the entire Legislature, approved awarding the funds to the MCP redo, which has been more than five years in the making. Spearheading the volunteer efforts are Millerton Community Park Committee Chair Stephen Waite and Co Chair Jeanne Vanecko.
Once done, the upgraded 17-acre park located just blocks from Main Street will include: a regulation size soccer field; two basketball courts; a refurbished playground; an upgraded Little League field; an accessible swimming pool; a refreshment stand; a new entrance with abundant parking; shaded walkways with benches and tables; wooded walking trails/exercise course; lighting for nighttime activities; a new bathhouse with public restrooms; and an open space for public events.
The total project cost was estimated at $7 million; the Millerton Community Park Committee set an $8 million fundraising goal to cover contingencies. As of mid-July it had raised $1,456,200.
The funds came from various sources: $600,000 came from the New York Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation; $620,000 came from individual donations; $152,000 came from the county’s Community Development Block Grant program (which comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development); $40,000 came from the village of Millerton; $25,000 came from the town of North East; $12,600 came from foundation and corporate grants; and $6,400 came from the 100 Trees for Millerton fundraising campaign. (For more information on the park upgrade, go to www.tricornernews.com.)
Town gets garage grant
At the Aug. 28 park groundbreaking, Molinaro announced a second MIG award for the town of North East. It granted $250,000 toward the construction of the town’s joint highway garage with the village of Millerton.
“It is very helpful because we had to reject the [recent] garage construction bids because they were so high,” said Kennan of the Town Board, which took a little heat from some people in the community when it rejecting the bids in July, causing a delay in the completion of long-awaited project. Others in the community praised the board for its fiscal prudence. “Now we’re going to regroup a little and rebid, to see if we can get a lower cost to see if the material prices come down a bit.”
Kennan said the board had applied for the amount of funding awarded by the county, “but you never know until you hear what the answer is going to be, so we were delighted.”
He added the town is “going to keep on trying to bring the cost down because this is an expensive building and we want to build a building that will last a long, long time.”
The construction of the actual garage facility is the fourth and final phase for the joint town and village garage project on Route 22, located north of the main traffic light at the Main Street intersection.
The estimated cost for the construction of the garage facility alone was $3,127,600, but when the four bids were submitted to the Town Board in July they were substantially higher, totalling $4,227,725.
Planning for the entire garage project began in earnest more than five years ago under former town Supervisor George Kaye’s administration, when properties were being sought for where to locate a facility.
Even earlier the town realized its aging garage at 11 South Center St. in Millerton would not last forever, according to a letter to the editor published in this newspaper on July 29 from former North East Highway Superintendent Bill Crawford. Crawford wrote the South Center Street garage was in “poor condition” when he joined the Highway Department on May 1, 1970, and was shabby when he retired 20 years later. He said he found it to be in the same condition when he returned to visit in 2021, 51 years later.
Kennan said that is why the MIG funds are so helpful, adding the garage costs will likely continue to be discussed by the board for many months to come.