The Examiner

New Castle to Abandon Name Change Proposal Amid Mixed Reaction

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Mixed reaction from New Castle residents appears to have put an end to the possibility of the town changing its name to Chappaqua.

Last Thursday, Councilman Adam Brodsky was the first town board member to state publicly that he would be against a change and others followed.

“After much consideration and hundreds of emails from residents, I have decided not to support changing the name of New Castle,” Brodsky posted on the New Castle Community Discussions Facebook page. “The community seems by my rough analysis equally divided and without overwhelming support, I can’t in good conscious (sic) endorse moving forward with the change.”

On Friday, Supervisor Robert Greenstein followed by saying there was roughly split feedback from those residents who weighed in, which wasn’t enough support for officials to continue pursuing the matter.

In the responses that he received, Greenstein said he found that residents with Mount Kisco and Millwood mailing addresses who live in the Chappaqua School District more strongly favored a name change while residents of the West End were overwhelmingly opposed.

Meanwhile, residents with Chappaqua mailing addresses were in the middle, with some opposed because of fears that it would dilute the name while others found it acceptable.

“No doubt, it has elicited strong opinions on both sides,” Greenstein said. “Which, to me, means it doesn’t have the overwhelming support. Like I stated from the beginning, without overwhelming support we should not proceed.”

The town board publicly raised the issue for discussion at its Jan. 3 work session. Greenstein said at the time that changing the town’s name from New Castle to the highly recognizable Chappaqua would help brand the entire town because of the current hamlet’s cache and that people outside of the immediate area aren’t aware of New Castle.

The intention was never to get people upset or stir a controversy but to encourage responses to see if there was support for a change, said Greenstein, who also added that there were a sizeable number of residents who didn’t think it was an important issue.

“It certainly confirmed the confusion aspect,” Greenstein said. “There was a lot of agreement there was confusion with New Castle. For anybody who lives in Chappaqua schools and doesn’t live in Chappaqua, they constantly have to say Chappaqua schools, Mount Kisco. Nobody knows New Castle.

But without strong support for a change – the supervisor mentioned that he would need to see support in excess of 60 percent – he would not support a change.

Councilwoman Hala Makowska said she also found reaction roughly split but trending slightly more against renaming the town.

At a recent Millwood-West End Advisory Board meeting, most of the board and all of the residents who spoke were strongly against the idea.

Opinions of those who opposed a name change ranged from loss of town history and the West End’s own identity to not wanting to be associated with what some perceive is snobbery from the Chappaqua side of town.

The most valid argument against the change for the West End was trying to explain to future home buyers that there is a section of Chappaqua that is not in the Chappaqua School District, Greenstein mentioned.


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