Sweeton addresses prospects for prison property

Development of the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility property will make Warwick a ‘major player’ in county’s economic future

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  • Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, right, and Richard Hagerty, CEO of Hudson-Gateway Association of Realtors, stand astride a map of the 726-acre former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility.

— Take away the barbed wires and it looks like a college campus.

That was one of the messages that Town of Warwick Michael Sweeton wanted to emphasize at a meeting last week with real estate and development professionals.

Sweeton, who is also a Republican candidate for County Executive, addressed about 30 members of the Hudson-Gateway Association of Realtors. He focused on the current status and prospects for future business development of the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility.

In 2011 Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced that the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick was on the list of seven prisons to be shut down to save the state money.

The Town of Warwick has now signed a contract with the state to purchase the 726-acre parcel. Sweeton told the group that a closing on the property should take place within the next 30 days.

“Warwick will be actively marketing the site for commercial, industrial and all types of businesses,” he said. “We have formed a local development agency in charge of marketing the property and spearheading the approval process for potential uses.”

Many inquiries

Sweeton reported that in anticipation of the town’s taking title, he already had dozens of inquiries from potential business users. Some of the more exciting prospects, for example, are a Fortune 500 company data center and a bus manufacturing plant along with other smaller uses.

“The bottom line,” he said, “is that this acquisition will place Warwick in a position to become a major player in the future economic development of Orange County, something that it has never been able to do.”

Water and open space, too

He added that in addition to more than 150 acres that will be available for commercial and business uses, more than 400 acres of open space will be used for active and passive recreation for local citizens.

“We will add 6,000 feet of frontage on Wickham Lake, which will complete the purchase of all of the lake by the Town,” said Sweeton. “Additionally, the site sits atop one of the state’s biggest water aquifers, so this will help ensure the future protection of Warwick’s water sources.”

Sweeton invited the Realtors to take a new look at Warwick in the future and to alert him to any companies that have an interest in expanding or relocating to Orange County.

By Roger Gavan

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Warwick, NY