MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The community could see some much-anticipated projects get off the ground this year if the pandemic begins to subside and some semblance of normalcy returns.
At the Town Board’s annual reorganizational meeting on Jan. 6, Supervisor Ken Schmitt and members of the board gave an update on where some of those projects stand as the New Year dawns.
Swan Cove/Downtown revitalization
Schmitt said the plans to build Swan Cove park and a municipal parking lot, as well as update sidewalks and lighting in the business district, are moving forward.
Schmitt said that Insite Engineering, the town’s consultants on the park/parking lot plan, is in Phase 3 of the project.
“They’ve finished up Phase 2 of the work that they were contracted to do. Most of that involved engineering and technical work on the site,” he said. “They are now working on Phase 3 and that deals with conceptual elements of the project. What I mean by ‘conceptual’ is what is the park going to look like, what amenities will be in it? What is the municipal parking lot going to look like? Are we going to have traffic islands? Is there going to be a certain motif with stonewalls and lighting? Things like that.”
Phase 3 includes the sidewalks in downtown Mahopac as well.
“Phase 3 should be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks and then at that point the public will have input on it,” the supervisor said. “Then we will decide on a final design.”
Schmitt said Phase 3 is extremely important because “this will be what we and the public want to incorporate into this project.”
“This is where the feedback from the public and from the Chamber, the business owners, is important,” he said. “We hope to have a design from Insite later this month.”
Town attorney Greg Folchetti explained the difference between an informational meeting and public hearing, both of which will be needed.
“There will informational meetings open to the public [seeking input],” he said. “But when it comes to additional borrowing, which you’ll need, there will be a public hearing for that. But the borrowing will be when you finalize the design before going out to bid, so the money is in place.”
Councilman Mike Barile said more information will be forthcoming over the next 90 days, noting that the sidewalk-improvement part of the project is pending.
“When it comes to the sidewalks, right now our hands are tied,” he said. “We can’t really do the sidewalks until the parking lot is finished.”
Route 6 sewer project
The town has long sought to add a town sewer line down the Route 6 corridor from the Westchester border to the heart of the Mahopac business district. County Executive MaryEllen Odell called the project a “game changer” because it would be a boon to businesses along the Route 6 corridor and possibly attract a long-sought-after hotel to the area.
The problem has been finding a suitable sewage-treatment plant to accommodate it and also have the blessing of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
A plan to hook up the sewage-treatment plant in Heritage Hills in Somers was discussed but scuttled when the Somers Town Board said any extra capacity at the treatment plant would be reserved for Somers businesses and residents only.
But now Schmitt said the project is breathing new life as a different treatment plant is now being discussed.
“We have a meeting scheduled for [this] week with the deputy commissioner for the DEP,” he said. “We have had very encouraging talks with the DEP with respect to the Mahopac Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is right across from the Town Hall here. The DEP has been very receptive to our discussions.”
Two years ago, the Alexandrian Group from Romania bought the old Guideposts/Paladin Center property in Carmel Hamlet with the intention of turning it into a distillery. They have been paying taxes on it ever since. While most of their approvals are in place, the pandemic brought the project to a grinding halt. But Schmitt said the company is determined to move forward with the plan.
“From what I’m told by our code enforcement officer and building inspector, Alexandrian is moving forward with its plans to develop that site,” Schmitt said. “They have pulled back somewhat on the timeline regarding breaking ground because of COVID. The pandemic has affected virtually everything. But they are still very enthusiastic about building it there. They told the engineers and the architects involved in that project that they are absolutely moving forward.
“They’ve been approved, and they were actually moving forward at a much faster pace [than anticipated] until COVID hit and slowed everything down,” he continued. “But they have a demolition permit and most everything else ready to go.”