As we reported last week, longtime Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton has decided to not seek re-election this fall.
Sweeton, the longest serving Town of Warwick Supervisor, first ran for the position in 2001 and has been re-elected ever since.
In his recent announcement he stated: “It has been my distinct honor to have served as your Town Supervisor and to have your support in our quest to maintain what we all cherish about this town.”
A man of pragmatic common sense and vision
Notable among the list of his accomplishments were the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR), the redevelopment of the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility and the recent purchase of the former Kutz Camp to serve as a town park.
“Mike Sweeton,” said Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, “has left a legacy of progress over the past two decades. He has kept town finances stable, initiated a model open space program, created jobs and economic development, and has greatly improved the quality of life for all residents in the Town of Warwick. I’m proud to call him a friend and I wish him all the very best always!”
Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard described Sweeton as a man of pragmatic common sense and vision.
“ He has been a true public servant and has been tireless in his work as Town Supervisor,” said Newhard. ”His leadership has been a guiding force as we complete the first quarter of the 21st century and has surely set a path and a legacy of accomplishments. Our work and the relationship between Village and Town have been strong in our ability to come together and to find common ground. His clear understanding of knowing that strong Villages are the key ingredient for a stronger Town has been a valuable example for other communities regionally and throughout New York State.
“I have been proud to be one of the team of the ‘Two Mikes’ that has helped shape our community. Mike has been a true mentor, sounding board, advocate and above all friend.”
‘To turn dreams ... into practical realities that might benefit future generations’
Town of Warwick Historian Professor Richard Hull said that high among Sweeton’s outstanding leadership qualities was his vision, an uncanny ability not only to consider the future when making key decisions about our current community needs but to develop and often implement his forward-thinking ideas.
“In other words,” he said, “to turn dreams of his and fellow citizens into practical realities that might benefit future generations as well as our own. That extraordinary leadership skill seemed to be based on seeing issues in wide context through an understanding of their historical roots and possible precedents. Often, Michael’s approach was three-dimensional: historical, contemporary and futuristic.”
Warwick attorney Robert Krahulik served with Sweeton as officers and directors of the Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation.
“Mike’s vision and leadership,” he said, “brought about the acquisition, financing and redevelopment of the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility into Wickham Woodlands. The redevelopment project has attracted economic growth, improved the commercial tax base and has created job opportunities. It has also resulted in the creation of a town park along the majestic shores of Wickham Lake.
The project would not have been possible without his endless time, dedication and enthusiasm toward the project and is the jewel of the Town.”
‘Personified the ideal in a publicly elected official’
Michael Johndrow, past Executive Director of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, recalled that he became acquainted with Sweeton 15 years ago when he was hired for that chamber position. .
“He was one of ‘the Michaels’ that welcomed me,” said Johndrow, “helping me to become familiar with the area. As busy as he always was, his response was immediate when I called with a question. I greatly admired the fact that Michael Sweeton personified the ideal in a publicly elected official. He did his job with the focus on what was best for his constituents, regardless of any political influence. He truly has been successful and respected at what he was supposed to be, our Town Supervisor.”
‘We all will sorely miss you’
As many Warwick residents may know, Michael Sweeton discusses local issues on Radio WTBQ (AM1110/FM 93.5) every Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
Station Manager Taylor Sterling mentioned that she was taken aback when he announced he was not going to run for another term.
“There will never be another Michael Sweeton.” She said. “Michael’s ability to improve the town of Warwick and his commitment to do what was best for the town never wavered as shown time and time again and just recently with Wickham Woodlands and Mountain Lake Park which I suggested should be called Sweeton Valley Park.
“Michael is genius which is clear in the evolution of the Town of Warwick since his first term. Sweeton’s legacy will live on forever. Thank you, Michael, for all you have done for our town. We all will sorely miss you.”
“Michael Sweeton has set the bar high, and will surely be missed.”
Michael Johndrow, past executive director of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce