This past August, the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber Legislative Advocacy Board (LAB) published its Carmel Vision 2020 paper outlining the need for a new townwide master plan. Since then things have certainly taken off.

The current focus is on Mahopac’s business district and the town’s purchase of the Swan Cove parcel where dilapidated row homes currently stand. The intention is to convert this into a beautiful park by the lake connected to Chamber Park by way of a walking bridge. That alone totally elevates the lake experience at that location.

Additionally, the town is in negotiations to purchase the parking lot and Community Center (home of the chamber) currently owned by Tompkins Mahopac Bank and convert it into a municipal parking lot with a possible new community center.

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The Chamber’s LAB finds this project to be of utmost importance to the hamlet’s transformation into a great place for shopping, dining and just being by the lake at sunset, all elements from our position paper presented to the Town Board on a new master plan for Carmel.

The long-awaited and contested sidewalk project on the south side of Route 6N/South Lake Boulevard can finally commence. This will be a tremendous beginning of a renaissance for the hamlet.

Traffic studies, designs, how many spaces, engineering, what aesthetics can the new sidewalk give us and the rest will come soon. The LAB will be monitoring, and we will be listening for your input.

In addition to all of that, Thom Ianniccari and Lawrence Zacks (chairs of the LAB), along with Chamber CEO Michael Celestino, have been keeping tabs on the county’s proposed sewer extension project that will run a trunk from one end of Route 6 to the other within Putnam. This is an important item in our Vision 2020 paper. Sewers, and later water, will be the lifeblood not only of the community’s needs, but of new and smart commercial redevelopment.

These projects are a vital piece of a much larger picture and an open conversation with both pros and cons are good. And here is why: Good business growth provides much needed tax revenue. All of the above project decisions need to be made with the utmost financial care in order to maximize the value to the community and businesses. It is our goal to have a broader tax base and a walkable downtown.

Vision 2020 sends a clear message that there is a need for this and more to help Carmel grow on so many levels and not just monetarily. A new townwide master plan is required for that vision.

The LAB and all on the Chamber board and management ask that you support the Carmel Town Board with your input. The Town Board meets every Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. Go there. Speak out. Be heard.

As always, we at the chamber LAB are here to listen to you, as well. Feel free to contact the office and leave a message for the committee chairs: 845-628-5553.

Thom Ianniccari and Lawrence Zacks  are co-chairs of the Legislative Advocacy Board for the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber.