BOOM! Eastern Orange County Business Explodes Into 2021

By Edie Johnson

Town of Blooming Grove – One after another very large business projects have entered the eastern half of Orange County over the past 2 years, and like dominos the word got around that it’s a great place to locate, and other companies joined the parade after Legoland broke the ice. Last week it was Resorts World Casino deciding to put a gaming venue at the Newburgh Mall (Town of Newburgh), and official news of the $18M purchase of Sleep Inn (Village of South Blooming Grove) along with a big commercial complex by Old Mansion Road (also in VSBG).

703,000 sq. ft. Warehouse Proposal Plus Hotel Proposed On Craigville Road By Oxford Depot Rt. 17/6 Exit

The proposed Warehouse site. Note that on the other side of Craigville, up on the hill is where the Cable Company Mediacom site is located
Existing heavy tree barrier and Mediacom just visible to the right, next to green marker

This week Blooming Grove’s Town Board listened to a presentation about a proposed Warehouse and Hotel Project that would span 703,000 sq. Ft. on about 25 acres. A hotel recently added to the layout at the east end would encompass about 30,000 sq. ft. It was the first of what will be many presentations to both the Town Board and Planning Board along with their professionals. Supervisor Rob Jeroloman introduced the Councilmen to the applicant and the applicant’s representatives to the Board; the ZOOM meeting including the town’s engineer and consultant, a traffic specialist, an architectural group and engineers for the applicant, and Town Planner, Bonnie Franson.  Planning Board Chair Ed Gannon said he thought the plans looked very good, but they were perhaps moving a bit fast on the traffic and sewage issues before presenting to his board.  The applicant’s representatives assured him that the details were very preliminary and flexible. Board members had generally positive reactions, including Ward 6 Representative Steven Amante in whose ward the project is located. Amante said he especially appreciated the detail given to what impact that the project would have on its surrounding environment.  He asked them to be transparent about the sewage disposal issues as they progress, especially since it borders wetlands. The wetlands have been walked and flagged by DEC and there is a 100 ft. buffer. He also asked that special caution, possibly several signs, be posted that there are a lot of visitors to Goosepond Park who cross the road at the 17M Intersection. Councilwoman Sonia Ayala said she is anxious to see more design details about what the building will actually look like, and what exactly they expect the business to be. She noted that the warehouse shows three floors while the hotel shows only one.  Councilman Tom DeVinko said that for him water and sewer are at the top of the list, along with the exit strategies on 17M,  and drainage plan for a planned flat roof. The parapet measures at 43 ft. 6 inches at the top, and the main roof is 3 ft. 6 inches lower.

Warehouse Building

Trailer Parking and Waiting Area

The buildings for this project would be on a large piece of land just west of the Quickway and Oxford Depot Exit on Craigville Rd., and adjacent to the Trestle Tree Overpass (across which the Heritage Trail runs and continues behind the meadow and marshland of the property.)  Town Planner, Bonnie Franson emphasized that the height of the 3-story building would have to be taken into consideration, especially with regard to buffering between it and the Heritage Trail, but the applicant’s architectural group said that they are very aware of the buffering needed.  The site already includes a large number of tall evergreen trees and bushes, will have a retaining wall between it and the trail and an adjacent development on the far side of the trail.  It is also planned on a low area with a ridge that will buffer it from view. Franson also pointed out that there are still many missing details, including ownership information, grading which will affect visual impact, decisions on sewage treatment, what trucking businesses would be using it, and why the warehouse design featured so much office space since retail is not permitted. She cautioned the Council members that it only takes one issue to trigger a need to have a POS DEC (positive declaration of environmental impact) rather than a NEG DEC and that an archeological study is likely to be required. The town will also have to decide whether its Town Board or Planning Board will be Lead Agency, or as is sometimes done they function as Co-Lead Agencies.

The applicant expects to be hiring several hundred employees.  There are sparse details about the proposed hotel since it was just added to the plan recently.

A very preliminary traffic presentation uncovered several upcoming issues.  First, any traffic studies to be done during this year will have to take into consideration that traffic is much lighter due to the pandemic. Second, site distance upon entry and exit have already been measured, and are adequate due to the length of straight road from it toward the Oxford Depot exit. The applicant’s representatives insisted they will require all drivers to exit the site toward Route 17M and not Craigville Rd. A left turn from the site would send them under the Trestle Tree overpass which would only have room for one vehicle to pass if it was a large truck, and that is an important problem to be avoided, as would be major truck traffic into residential neighborhoods.  Most traffic they said will likely be coming from New York City to the Oxford off ramp. However, there is no on ramp, and so they would have to continue across the overpass to Route 17 M where there is an on ramp nearby toward the east, or to the major Chester intersection which has both on and off ramps.  The Third issue was a bit thorny however, in that truckers  coming from New York City will likely have GPS send them to the Route 208 exit, where there is already a big congestion issue.  Instructions not to use that exit may or may not work and the issue will need further study.

This applicant has not at this point stated they intend to request any PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement from the County. Several warehouse projects (Medtronics and Amazon) in Montgomery and New Windsor faced strong opposition because of a PILOT request and low starting pay for workers.  Amazon has since started to unionize.

Supervisor, Jeroloman did not say how long the project has been percolating, but it was clear that while the applicant representatives gave great detail and expect it to progress quickly, there are many presentations to go and details to work out, especially regarding water, sewage treatment, parking, ownership, trucking route and opportunities for fair hiring practices and use of local contractors. Distance and effective natural visual barriers between it, the Heritage Trail and adjacent homes, is sure to be a prime issue, with homeowners nearby already voicing some concern.

It’s Time For Trees For Tribs

If you know of a stream that could benefit from having more trees growing along it, The Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs (water tributaries) Program is offering free native trees and shrubs for planting along the tributary streams.

Staff can also aid with plant selection, creating a planting plan, site preparation, advice on project other information to improve the odds of success for your project. Anyone in the Hudson Valley that owns, manages, or can partner with a landowner that has property along a stream can receive free plants. You can recruit volunteers in your community and work with local environmental groups. Submit your application by March 1st for a spring planting by downloading the two-page application located at:  www.dec.ny.gov/docs/remediation_hudson_pdf/hrewtftap14.pdf. For more information, please visit the DEC website: www.dec.ny.gov/lands/43668.html.


Officer Deets Retires With Achievement Award

New Windsor – On February 8, 2021, Police Officer Christopher D. Deets retired from the New Windsor Town police force. Officer Deets was recognized with a Service Achievement Award by Town Supervisor George J. Meyers III and Police Chief Robert L. Doss at a walk out ceremony. Supervisor Meyers stated, “Officer Deets is leaving the Police Department in a better place than when he found it and anytime you can say that, it means the officer did a good job. I wish the best for Officer Deets and his family”. Chief Doss stated, “Officer Deets has been awarded for saving 4 lives over the course of his career here. I think that says it all about his hard work and dedication to serving the community. I commend him for his service to the Town and we will miss him.” Also, on hand for the ceremony was Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus and Orange County Commissioner of Emergency Service Brendan Casey who recognized Officer Deets for his military service with the U.S. Army and his police service to the County.

Caption: Officer Deets (center) with New Windsor Supervisor, George Meyers to his left and Chief Robert Doss to his right.

Newburgh Free Library Announces New Director

The Newburgh Free Library welcomes Mary Lou Carolanas their new Director. Mary Lou has been the Assistant Library Director at the Newburgh Free Library since 2018, initiating many outreach driven efforts placing the library front and center on issues of community development, arts and cultural planning, civic engagement and multicultural education and programming. Carolan believes the evolving needs and desires of the community must drive library decisions for selecting relevant programs, services and collections. She secured the temporary acquisition of the award-winning Wesley Wofford sculpture of Harriet Tubman to grace the library plaza last fall. This project consisted of developing and working with a dynamic committee of community members to create a years’ worth of programs and community conversations inspired by Harriet’s legacy of courage, freedom and truth.

A native New Yorker, Mary Lou Carolan was raised on Long Island and spent the first stage of her career managing non-profit community based organizations around the country. Her return to New York in 2001, led her to first volunteer for and then rise through the ranks to become the director of the Wallkill Public Library. It was then that she decided to pursue her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science to begin her second stage. “This is where the blending of my life began –a career built upon service to the community now focused on creating libraries that are vibrant and dynamic community learning centers.” After 11 years at the Wallkill Public Library, Carolan became Director of the Cornwall Public Library, overseeing a number of significant building redesign programs. In 2018, the opportunity to work for the Newburgh Free Library was irresistible. “Newburgh is very much like the culturally diverse town of Freeport that I grew up in. I feel at home here. Newburgh has my heart and I am committed to help grow the library in new and innovative ways, embracing emerging technology, acknowledging the need for strong digital literacy, equity and access, and continuing the dedication of libraries to provide materials, information and opportunities for all.” Mary Lou Carolan can be reached directly at 845.563.3604 or at ml.carolan@rcls.org.

Neuhaus Presents Newburgh’s Azariah McLymore Citizen of the Month Award

McLymore, 20, recognized for community service and dedication

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has recognized Azariah McLymore as the Citizen of the Month Award winner for the month of February. A lifelong Newburgh resident, McLymore, 20, a law school student, was honored for her many contributions and dedication to the City and community. “What Azariah has accomplished at such a young age is both impressive and inspirational,” Neuhaus said. “Azariah cares deeply about Newburgh and has had a positive impact on the city and its residents in a wide variety of ways. She serves as a role model to her peers. I know that Azariah has a very bright future. We are all proud of her commitment to making Newburgh and Orange County an even better place to live.” McLymore created the non-profit organization McLymore Foundation in 2016 and has organized a variety of clothing, shoe, and food drives, art and book club meetings, summer scholar sessions, family dances, a community health fair, block parties, and events. She has also worked with her father, Robert McLymore, a Town of Wallkill Police Officer, to create the RDM Ministries Scholarship.

In addition, McLymore is a tutor for the Marist Upward Bound program, assisting students with essay writing, homework and college prep. She has also served as a site supervisor for the Newburgh Boys and Girls Club Summer Youth Initiative. McLymore graduated from the Newburgh Free Academy P-Tech program in 2018 with an Associate’s degree in cybersecurity. She received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College in December of 2019. McLymore is now a law student at North Carolina Central University School of Law. She plans on interning with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office this summer.“I have been inspired by the needs of my community,” McLymore said. “I always want to be in a position to help Newburgh and contribute to the City. To be recognized by County Executive Neuhaus is humbling and much appreciated. I want to thank him for acknowledging me and the City of Newburgh.”

Photo Caption: Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus with February’s Citizen of the Month, Azariah McLymore, and her family at the Orange County Government Center on Monday, February 8th. (From left to right) Azariah’s parents Robert McLymore and Sharon McLymore, sister, Zoe McLymore, 11, Azariah McLymore, County Executive Neuhaus, and Azariah’s brothers Robert McLymore Jr., 17, and Elisha McLymore, 15.

Assemblyman Jacobson Seeks Women Of Distinction Nominations

Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D-Hudson Valley) announced that he is seeking nominations for the 2020 Women of Distinction Awards to recognize and honor local women who are making a difference in the community and the lives of others. Awards will be given for work in various fields, including health care, business, public service, education and military service. Winners will be honored at a virtual awards ceremony in March.

“March is Women’s History Month, an opportunity to recognize the trailblazing women who have moved – and continue to move – our state and nation forward,” said Assemblyman Jacobson. “In honor of this month long celebration, I am hosting my first annual Women of Distinction Awards to highlight the remarkable women in our community who inspire others and are a positive force for change. I hope you’ll join me in honoring these everyday heroes.”

Jacobson requests that nominations for the 2021 Women of Distinction Awards be submitted by Friday, March 5th. Contact Jacobson’s office for a nomination form, which can be returned by email to PetersonS@nyassembly.govorby fax to845-561-5218.

Governor Cuomo Opens Up New Groups Eligible For Vaccination – New Vaccine Rules Begin on Feb. 15

New Vaccine Rules Begin on February 15

Vaccination doses will begin to be delivered to pharmacies. Continued help to sign up is available on the Orange County website (www.orangecountygov.com). The doses that Orange County Govt. has received for Nursing Homes, Hospital Caregivers, Emergency Responders and Teachers are progressing near to completion.  The County requests that any doses not used at other facilities contact them so they can be sure they are administered within the required time frame.

Priority Individuals With Preexisting Conditions -Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Pulmonary Disease, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Heart Conditions, Immuno-compromised State, Severe Obesity, Pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassemia, Type 1 or 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Cerebrovascular Disease, Neurologic Conditions and Liver Disease Will Be Eligible.

According to CDC, other medical issues can be presented and approved with municipal authority.

New Windsor Ambulance Corps. & Building, which is on the designation list for approval by the State has not yet received doses.  They have approximately 2,000 individuals who have signed a list to be administered vaccine when it comes and are not taking any more names at this time.

Orange County Total Cases – 33,599
Deaths – 690
Current Hospitalized – 127
Hospitalized Under Inv – 3

Active COVID Cases as of 2/9

165 – NEWBURGH
164 – NEW WINDSOR
163 – CITY OF NEWBURGH
158 – CITY OF MIDDLETOWN
106 – MONTGOMERY
95 – MONROE
94 – WALLKILL
92 – WARWICK
79 – BLOOMING GROVE
50 – CHESTER
49 – GOSHEN
41 – PALM TREE
39 – WOODBURY
34 – HIGHLANDS
34 – WAWAYANDA
32 – CRAWFORD
31 – CITY OF PORT JERVIS
28 – CORNWALL
21 – MINISINK
21 – MOUNT HOPE
17 – GREENVILLE
16 – DEERPARK
14 – HAMPTONBURGH
11 – TUXEDO

Total COVID Cases

3,712  – CITY OF NEWBURGH 
3,166  – CITY OF MIDDLETOWN 
2,831  – NEW WINDSOR 
2,742  – WALLKILL 
2,672  – NEWBURGH 
2,272  – WARWICK 
2,113  – MONTGOMERY 
1,848  – PALM TREE 
1,821  – MONROE 
1,313  – GOSHEN 
1,123  – BLOOMING GROVE 
1,076  – CHESTER 
938  – HIGHLANDS 
881  – WOODBURY 
648  – CORNWALL 
647  – WAWAYANDA 
581  – CITY OF PORT JERVIS 
501  – MOUNT HOPE 
485  – CRAWFORD 
405  – HAMPTONBURGH 
376  – MINISINK 
355  – DEERPARK 
256  – GREENVILLE 
237  – TUXEDO 

Jacob Sanchez Brings Home National Figure Skating Medal

Newburgh/Montgomery – At 13 it would seem astounding that Jacob Sanchez could master both the expressive aspects (way beyond his years) and the spins and jumps that he does. But Jacob has been figure skating since he was 5 years old and along with last month’s 2021 Junior U.S. Figure Skating National Medal he brought home National medals in both 2018 and 2019. Last year he won the Gold Medal at the North Atlantic Regional Figure Skating Championship held in Hackensack NJ. Of course his top goal is to grow from national competition to International and Olympic skating.  Triples are just about a piece of cake for him because he loves to go high. Oh, and he’s also working on a “quad” jump.  Jacob attends school at Valley Central Middle School and lives in Montgomery, but trains at Ice Time in Newburgh and is coached by Oleg Makarov

Orange County Police Reform Panel Taking Public Comments On 2/10

Goshen, N.Y, -The Orange County Sheriff’s Office Police Reform and Reinvention Advisory Panel will take public comments on its draft plan at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10th.

The public is welcome to attend and make a comment on the draft plan during the meeting by calling 833- 672-0045. The passcode for the meeting is 8787366.  Comments can also be made by emailing PoliceReform@orangecountygov.com. The draft plan is available for review on the County website at  https://www.orangecountygov.com/2014/Police-Reform.

 In accordance with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 the Advisory Panel will put forth recommendations to the County Legislature to adopt a plan, which must be signed by the County Executive and sent to the State no later than April 1, 2021. The draft plan will be presented to the County Legislative Public Safety Committee for review at the February 18th committee meeting.  

The Advisory Panel is tasked with developing a plan to improve the deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices of the Sheriff’s Office. The plan will also focus on promoting community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.

The Advisory Panel represents County government, social services agencies, community service leaders, clergy and education leaders, and not for profit agencies.

COH Mayor And Trustee Candidates Announce

On January 29, Village Trustee and mayoral candidate James A. Gagliano, along with Trustee David P. Carnright, and Vishwa B. Chaudhry formally announced their candidacies for the March 16 Cornwall-on-Hudson village election.Trustee Gagliano is seeking to become mayor – contesting a five-term incumbent — while Trustee Carnright and Mr. Chaudry are pursuing Trustee seats. This team of proven leaders shares a collaborative perspective on how best to guide the Village as it grapples with 21st century challenges and builds upon sound fiscal policies that remain the hallmark of recent Village Boards.

“This election is about providing a better leader option; one willing to listen to residents,” Trustee Gagliano said. “As our Village continues to grow, diversify, and evolve – it’s time for a different collaboration strategy. I will always engage and consider varied viewpoints.We may not always agree, but I’ll always seek common ground as a fair-minded servant-leader.”

Trustee Carnrights aid “My local experiences in Cornwall, along with a career working within the energy sector have provided insight into our infrastructure needs. Working to improve the lives of our neighbors remains my number one goal.”

Mr. Chaudhry said, “Immediately after emigrating from India in 1981, I knew settling in Cornwall was right decision – a place I could start a family. I am fiercely proud of our community and seek to further contribute by serving on the Board and improving services for our residents.”

The election will be held on March 16 from noon until 9pm at Village Hall.

About the Candidates:

Trustee James A. Gagliano was elected to the Board in 2019; bringing real-world leadership experiences as a West Point graduate, Army veteran, and retired FBI executive who made a difference tackling violent street gangs and mentoring young men in Newburgh between 2008-2012. Currently teaching and a doctoral candidate in Homeland Security matters at St. John’s University, he remains a committed community volunteer; first with Newburgh Boys & Girls Club and currently with Girls on the Run. On the Village Board, he has assisted in contract negotiations, helped pass a local lighting law, and taken ownership on conservation issues such as tree-plantings and researching the Danskammer project to provide a complete picture on environmental impact.He and his wife Tiffany have raised five children in Cornwall.

Trustee Dave Carnright retired from Central Hudson and as a member of  IBEW Local 320 in 2017, and was appointed to the Board in 2012. He went on to win reelection four times. He served on the school board from 2003 – 2012, and remains an active member on CCSD district facilities committee. President of Cornwall youth football, Dave has volunteered in youth sports for more than a quarter-century.A longtime member of the board of directors for Cornwall Little League, Trustee Carnright also served on the Cornwall July 4 Committee for 25 years. Dave remains a sober voice and problem-solver on the Village Board, continually seeking consensus.

Vish Chaudhry has served on the Village planning board for eight years. A fierce opponent of gridlock, he has championed the streamlining of processes, recognizing impact of governmental decisions on residents. Completing a Chemistry degree in India, Vish went on to earn a B.S. in business administration from Mount Saint Mary College in 1996. A 33-year veteran of the Metal Container Corporation, Vish gained valuable experience in area of capital project management, specifically related to infrastructure – water and waste water management. Mr. Chaudhry’s interest in serving on the Board is predicated on a desire to focus on needs of entire community and sensible fiscal oversight. A 37-year resident of Cornwall, Vish and his wife Nancy have raised two sons, Neal and Noah – proud members of Cornwall’s championship football program.

Cornwall-On-Hudson Candidates L-R, the photo depicts Vish Chaudhry, James Gagliano, and Dave Carnright  (Photo Credit J. Ferrara Photography).