Sweeton gives state of town message

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:45

    WARWICK-The Town of Warwick reorganized Monday, with the Town Board and supervisor making appointments for the year. Supervisor Michael Sweeton also gave his annual state of the town address, noting some milestones achieved last year in the town as well as some areas that needed work. Safety was a key issue in the town in 2004. A phone alert system was put into place to notify citizens in emergency situations as well as to get information out to large numbers of people who may be affected by events in their area. The need for this system came to light after a fire at Jones Chemical made residents and officials realize there was no efficient way to notify large groups of people in town. The system was successfully tested and has been used in non-emergency situations, too, such as to notify residents of a certain area of hydrant flushing. Sweeton noted that a citizen's advisory panel was formed in an effort to increase understanding between Jones Chemical, municipal leaders and citizens. "This panel has led to greater security at the facility as well as a clear line of communication to improve safety," he said. The town and residents of Penaluna Road won a big victory as they stood their ground against a company wanting to enlarge an illegal debris storage facility. Instead, the site is being cleaned up at no cost to the taxpayers, according to Sweeton. Communication has improved via a new municipal television station, channel 12 on CableVision. Non-profit information and government meetings and notices are broadcast around the clock. The Department of Public Works handled a tough winter in 2004, as well as heavy rains throughout the summer and fall. "They did it professionally and still managed to perform all their other repair duties," Sweeton noted. Included in the major work done this year was the realignment of Kain and Bellvale Lakes Roads and Sanfordville Road with Pennings Lane. Seniors have something to look forward to soon in Warwick. Last year, the town broke ground on a new senior citizen meeting room at the back of the Town Hall. Grants from the county helped pay for this larger facility, which will give seniors ample, sun-filled room to meet as well as kitchen facilities to cook. "This new facility, to be opened this spring, will allow our senior clubs to increase their membership accommodating the many who are on waiting lists," said Sweeton. Parks certain grew in 2004, according to the supervisor. The town began clearing land for future development at the Union Corners Road athletic facility. New sod is on the baseball field out at Union Corners Road. A new walking path opened at Pine Island Park, as did an ice skating rink. A new bathroom is in place at Airport Road Park and a new baseball field was built at Kings Estate Park. The big park news in 2004, though, was in Greenwood Lake, where Purchase of Development Rights funding bought a new public beach. Purchase of Development Rights also made strides in 2004, Sweeton said. In addition to the beach purchase, the town also closed on the John Baird farm, which is adjacent to another PDR protected farm. Funds were secured from New York state, the federal government, and Scenic Hudson totaling over $2 million, allowing the town to close on the Brady, Raynor, Miller, and Bates farms. The town recognized Seymour Gordon, the town's own pioneer in PDR. A plaque was dedicated to Gordon and will hang in Town Hall, listing all properties acquired through the PDR program. Sweeton noted that the town is working with the Warwick Partnership for a Quality Community on ways to alleviate rising property taxes, as well as to improve business attraction efforts. Sweeton made mention of losing a board member to Albany. Annie Rabbitt won election to the 97th Assembly District in a hotly contested race. The board is expected to name Rabbitt's replacement on the board later this month.