The Examiner

No. Castle’s Miller House Committee Seeks Negotiations Role

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290 Miller House Update pic 3A group seeking to preserve the building that served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Battle of White Plains wants to participate in negotiations between Westchester County and the Town of North Castle.

Ed Woodyard, president of Friends of the Miller House, said his organization should be part of the Miller House talks between the county and the town who are working on plans to restore and move the 275-year-old house from its Virginia Road location in North White Plains. The Friends met on March 21 at Hergenhan Recreation Center in Armonk to discuss the latest developments surrounding the effort.

Woodyard noted that earlier last Thursday Councilman John Cronin, the town board’s liaison to the committee, sent him an e-mail informing him that he and Supervisor Howard Arden had met with representatives of County Executive Rob Astorino’s administration.

“We should have been involved,” Woodyard said. “We can’t start fundraising until we know what’s happening.”

The town has been in negotiations with county officials about moving the Miller House to the town’s Fountain Park located near the ball fields behind the North White Plains Community Center.

John Diaconis, treasurer of the Friends of the Miller House, a group of local residents that formed to raise money for costs connected to the historic structure, said the county must provide funding for the renovations and ongoing physical maintenance of the building. The county has been solely responsible for its upkeep since 1993.

Friends of Miller House member Charles Pound said he would like to see a written document stating the county would set up an endowment to provide funding for the house’s renovations and upkeep.

North Castle Councilman Michael Schiliro, who attended last week’s meeting, agreed there should be no financial responsibility for renovation and maintenance for the town. At Schiliro’s suggestion, Woodyard said he would work with Town Clerk Anne Curran to set up a town board work session with the committee, possibly as early as next month.

Committee members agreed that they would raise money in the future, but those funds would be to support programs, not for renovation and maintenance. The format would be similar to the fundraising efforts of the Friends of the North Castle Public Library, committee members said.

In 2010, the Board of Legislators approved a $1.2 million bond to help restore and move the Miller House to the North Castle side of Kensico Dam Plaza. But Astorino vetoed the legislation, saying he wanted private entities to fund the Miller House project in a time of projected deficits in county budgets. Even though the Board of Legislators overrode the veto, the county did not raise the $700,000 in additional funds required to refurbish and move the house.



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