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Lifelong Resident: Town Board Jeopardizes Montrose’s Future

We are part of The Trust Project

By Adam MacNeil

Why would the Cortlandt Town Board want to hurt Montrose’s future? The people of this community have worked so hard over the last several years to help Montrose progress into a thriving small town. In January 2020, I presented an idea to Supervisor Linda Puglisi to help revitalize Montrose. She made every effort to help see our project become a reality. The Montrose Matters residents group worked with town officials and KG&D Architects to create a concept for the heart of Montrose. With Linda’s help, as well as Councilman Frank Farrell, we overcame hurdle after hurdle.
 
It was Supervisor Puglisi who offered up the rollerblade rink property to be the new home for a state of the art Ambulance Corps building. A perfect spot on the same property as the Troopers Barracks and paramedics station. It seems Supervisor Becker feels revitalizing the rollerblading rink is more important than revitalizing Montrose. Becker scrapped all of that hard work and instead wants synthetic ice skating in that spot. In my opinion, this decision will set our project back by 5 years.
 
The Montrose Business Association, led by Dennis Malles, spent countless hours working with Supervisor Puglisi to create a commercial sewer district for the businesses in Montrose, including the site of our proposed project. Working with the previous administration they secured an $850,000 grant. Today seven million dollars of Entergy settlement money is waiting for us, for use in this project along with improvements to Buchanan’s sewer infrastructure. All we need is an agreement between Buchanan and the Town and the money will be released. Without the agreement the commercial businesses will not get sewers and this development will not happen. The failure of the Town to work with Buchanan is not only ruining the opportunity to bring sewers into Montrose, it is destroying the trust between Buchanan and the Town that has existed forever. The Town Board blames the Mayor for the inability to come to an agreement. They says there is a lack of trust. Maybe so, but where does this lack of trust stem from? Maybe it’s because Town Officials have been heard saying that the Village has no future and will ultimately fold up and the Town will take over. Maybe its simply because the Town has publicly misrepresented the truth and in fact its the Town Board that refuses to accept the terms of the agreement. The Village Board made that clear in public statements by the mayor and three trustees at the August meeting.
 
I recently received an email from the Supervisor telling me that I misrepresented the circumstances around the skating rink and that the ambulance corps could never be moved to that location because it was established parkland. “News to all of us”, I said.  After FOILing information on this, I learned that it is not as definitive as the Supervisor made it out to be. First, the land was not purchased to be a park. It was purchased to build a new Troopers Barracks and possibly parking for the train station. Second, when the skating rink was built, that part of the parcel was not sub-divided from the remainder of the parcel. Third, none of this property was designated “parkland” through a resolution. Finally, some years after the skating rink was built a portion of this land was used to build the youth center, which isn’t allowed in a designated park. In my opinion, if the Supervisor wanted the ambulance corps to go on this site he could make as strong an argument for it as he is making against it.
 
The bottom line is this, if the future of Montrose was as important to Town of Cortlandt Officials as it is for Montrose residents, as it is for business owners, as it was for Supervisor Puglisi, I’m sure they would have done what was needed to bring this project home.
 
The Town of Cortlandt needs to show Montrose that they care about our future. Please honor Supervisor Puglisi’s commitments and respect the hard work of this community.
 
– Lifelong Montrose resident Adam MacNeil is the co-founder of the Montrose Matters Residents Association. 
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