Warwick town and village officials were asked to describe their accomplishments in 2021 and plans for 2022. Here is what they said:
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton
The State of our Town is strong. In 2021, we put in place safeguards to protect our employees, so they could safely remain on the job to serve our residents. We adopted and began implementation of our EO 203 police reform plan that included seeking NYS Accreditation for the department and an updating of our police policies to ensure we continue to protect all our residents as we have always done.
We continued to expand recreational opportunities with upgrades in our many parks as well as opening the Town’s first municipal pools at the former Kutz Camp. Our redevelopment efforts at the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility took a giant leap forward with the complete renovation, in a public-private partnership, of the dairy barn now operating as a CBD extraction facility processing locally grown black dirt hemp.
GTI, a national company, bought the remaining undeveloped land and began construction of a 400,000 sq ft, 175-million-dollar facility related to the newly adopted NY State cannabis law. All commercial properties at the former prison are now in private hands, generating tax revenues and jobs for our residents!
With the help of our State representatives Senator Martucci, Assemblyman Brabenec and Assemblywoman Gunther we successfully got our home rule bill to extend the successful Community Preservation Fund to 2050. Former Gov. Cuomo signed it into law and now Warwick’s successful program to protect and preserve working farms in our valley will continue. We currently are working on acquiring the development rights on four farms, with eight others considering entering the program. The benefits of this program will ensure that our children and grandchildren enjoy this beautiful valley and all it has to offer.
In 2022, the town board and I look forward to working on your behalf in the year ahead. Upcoming projects that will be the main focus of 2022 will include fully opening the former Kutz Camp, including the arts center, pools, pickleball courts, hiking trails and the commercial event space with accommodations.
Other goals include receiving NYS accreditation for our police department and continuing to keep our town safe. Road resurfacing has been increased over the past two years and will continue in 2022. We will, through public- private partnerships, facilitate the buildout of the Warwick corporate park now that all of its commercial properties have been sold. We will continue preserving working farms through our community preservation fund. Finally, we will continue our stewardship of our taxpayers money to ensure our town taxes remain the lowest in Orange County.
Village of Warwick Mayor Newhard
In 2021 - 2022, the largest and most important project has been the upgrade of our Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Village received a $3 million grant from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation for a $12 million project. This year we accomplished a portion of the multiyear project which included the installation of a UV disinfection system and upgrade of the Orchard Street Pump Station.
Drinking water projects included engineering for the redevelopment of Well #3. This is an important part of the water system that has been offline due to new regulations. Other projects include the River Street Water Main Replacement and Extension, which created an essential and protective water loop in our system. This project is 90% complete.
Other completed activities from 2021 include security upgrades at Village Hall, street paving projects on Robert Dr., Oakland Ct., Park Ln., Memorial Park Dr. and Grand St/Vanduzer Pl.; and new pathways created in Stanley Deming Park, including at the Roger Metzger Arboretum and the children’s playground. ADA sidewalks were completed as part of a community development grant on High Street. The Village of Warwick Shade Tree Commission planted 40 new trees in 2021.
The Village’s Comprehensive Master Plan Committee spent the year doing vital community outreach and will be continuing its work into 2022. Internally, this has been a year of extensive policy development and adoption including the following: Cash Management Policy, which is pending, Municipal Credit Card Policy, Cyber Security Guide and Policy, Memorial Policy, Pandemic Operations Plan, Procurement Policy, Facility Use and Park Rules and regulation revision, pending.
The most ambitious and meaningful project of 2021 was the creation of the 9/11 Memorial Sculpture Garden, designed by local sculptor Amy Lewis Sweetman and built in-house by our Department of Public Works. The project was the result of tremendous community and corporate generosity. The Garden anchors the Roger Metzger Arboretum and was created in honor of those that lost their lives, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attack.
As we begin the development of a new budget for 2022-23, the year 2022 promises to be just as full. Upcoming activities include labor negotiations and the continuation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades, Well #3, the Robert Drive Pressure Reducing Valve Replacement, Alternative Power Supply at Hilltop Pump Station, the Comprehensive Master Plan revised document and the village-wide LED Streetlight Replacement Program. As part of the Village’s fiscal responsibility, we continually apply for grant funding.
Recently, we were notified by the NYS DOT about repaving of NYS Rt. 94 and 17a in 2023. We’ve already begun a discussion on expanding these improvements to maximize the project and its benefits to our community.
Village of Florida Mayor Daniel Harter
In the Village of Florida, we have many goals and aspirations for 2022. Infrastructure is on everyone’s mind with the recent water main breaks we have endured, along with the overhaul of the water plant itself. Our engineer team is currently preparing and designing plans after a successful pilot study completed in 2021. Once finished, it will be reviewed by Orange County, New York, and federal health departments. When approved, we will be able to send out to bid and begin work on the facility upgrades. As of today we are on track to meet the goals set forth by all health departments involved.
Several aged water valves have been discovered that are in need of replacement that control the flow in our water system lines. As our recent breaks have shown us, we need to begin replacing not just the valves but the lines themselves. Many of our lines are over 100 years old and have come to the end of their lifespan. This will be a costly endeavor and we will do our best to begin replacing some of our oldest lines in a fiscally responsible manner.
Route 94 is still an ongoing issue with not just Florida residents but Warwick as a whole. I am still in communication with Governor Hochul’s office and NYS Department of Transportation to push for this critical repair/redesign to begin work, as stated before, in 2023. We cannot afford another delay on this roadway, I will continue to do everything I can to push for this project’s start and completion.
I’m excited at the prospect of what is on the horizon for our village as we move into a new year, shedding what was a hard 2021 for many. The board of Trustee’s and I will work to accomplish these projects and others, so we continue to make the Village Of Florida a great place to live for you and your family.
Village of Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer
As 2020 came to a close, I am sure I was not alone in hoping 2021 would be a better year. One of the most interesting things to come from the pandemic is the affect it had on our village’s home values. I conducted a brief analysis comparing the village’s property values year over year, and it seems the Village of Greenwood Lake saw the largest jump in home values in Orange County at roughly a 35-40% increase. This coupled with a roughly 25% jump in recorded building permit fees collected (no increase in charges) are a sign that the local economy in Greenwood Lake is heading in the right direction.
Our business owners have done a tremendous job weathering the storm, not only investing in their own businesses, but our community as a whole. This past year, we prioritized large-scale outdoor events that would attract tourism to support our businesses and provide local and area residents with the opportunity to engage socially in outdoor settings. We hosted the Mid-Hudson St. Patrick’s day parade this year in Greenwood Lake, ran a weekend-long community-wide Oktoberfest, which drew thousands of visitors. We hosted a holiday festival which also drew thousands to a beautiful outdoor venue for holiday cheer when we needed it most.
Other exciting news from 2021 was the Village taking over the breathtaking Thomas Morahan Waterfront Park and Greenwood Lake Beach. In addition, I am happy to report that the “Anton’s property,” which was once a thriving restaurant and hotel, was purchased by the Benjamin Steakhouse group. Benjamin’s Steakhouse owns properties in Manhattan, Japan and Westchester. They plan on opening one of their prized steakhouses on the lake and turning the rundown hotel into a high-end resort with a projected investment in excess of $10 million dollars. So 2022 looks like it will be an exciting year for the Village of Greenwood Lake.