Whether you are new to town or have lived here for generations, New Castle residents share a passion for recreation and strong sense of community. We will seek to strengthen both.
The first step we will take is to partner with and support the Recreation Commission to create a new Recreation Master Plan. The plan, which was last updated in 2007, will identify and prioritize projects and programming to reflect the needs of our residents. The Master Plan will consider additional programs and offerings to address a wide range of ages and abilities, so that our parks and recreation opportunities are truly inclusive of all residents.
While the Rec Master Plan is being written we will finish the Town Hall Basketball Court and Inclusive Playground. This project has been in the planning stages for years, and scope modifications have been necessary to align cost estimates with the project budget. In addition, the planned location for the basketball court and playground has been used a staging area for the Downtown Infrastructure and Streetscape Project. With that project coming to a close, and a recent re-bid of the initial RFP due in October 2019, we will soon be in a position to break ground on this long-awaited project. We are the team that will be able to successfully complete this project.
Council Members Ivy Pool and Jeremy Saland collaborated on a proposal to NYS Senator Peter Harckham for a potential grant for enhancements to Millwood Park. With so much attention being paid to the Chappaqua hamlet, we specifically focused on Millwood, where we see tremendous opportunities, particularly for outdoor and recreation activities. Specifically we proposed: renovating the ballfield, repairing and resurfacing the tennis courts, installing lights on the ballfield and tennis courts, and replacing the existing playground equipment.
Millwood Park is a destination for residents from throughout New Castle. Many Millwood residents can walk to this park, and will be further incentivized to do so with the planned installation of new sidewalks in the hamlet. Currently, there is no safe pedestrian access to nearby Gedney Park, therefore Millwood Park plays an important role in supporting recreation for Millwood residents.
Presently, the Town has only one lighted baseball/softball field, Recreation Park, which cannot meet the demand for evening programming. The tennis courts at Millwood Park are the only Town courts, and do not have lights. By lighting the field and courts at Millwood Park, the Town would be able to expand its recreation offerings.
In addition to providing a beautiful, well-maintained location for recreation and outdoor activities, with increased hours of usage due to the lighted fields and courts, the proposed upgrades would also drive economic development in the hamlet. As residents are able to use the park during the evening hours, they would naturally be more likely to shop or dine in the adjacent hamlet. These upgrades would, along with the ongoing sidewalk project and other planned initiatives, make Millwood a destination for New Castle residents, as well as residents in adjacent communities.
We are optimistic that the funding will be granted, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Rec Commission and NCBSA on the completion of this project.
The beautiful trails in New Castle’s Town parks and preserves, are among the finest in the region. Earlier this year, the Town entered into an agreement with the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC) for the planning, development, maintenance, and protection of trails within the Town of New Castle. Specific trails include those at Burden Preserve, Gedney Park, Glazer Preserve, Sunny Ridge Preserve, Warburg Park, and Whippoorwill Park. It’s an exciting partnership that we would like to deepen as we look to better maintain and improve our trail system.
We look forward to the planned update to the Town’s Open Space Management Plan. We support vigorous efforts to identify, preserve and protect open space to promote biodiversity, protect animal habitats, and encourage passive recreation, where possible. We were delighted by the outcome of the proposed Rose Hill development, in which a private owner purchased the land and declared it open space. We should consider other such opportunities to increase public or private conservation areas.
One of the most stunning and environmentally-sensitive areas of New Castle is the West End. We support creating an overlay district for Greater Teatown to preserve biodiversity and conserve the area’s water supply. We believe that the first line of defense in protecting and preserving the Greater Teatown area is to ensure more careful evaluation of proposed development.
Upon completion of the downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape project we can look forward to a renewal of interest and activity in the hamlet. We propose launching a committee, Discover Chappaqua, that would be tasked with identifying programming and events to promote and support the hamlet. One idea we propose is First Fridays – monthly evening activities in the hamlet with a rotating theme such as books, food, art, and music.
Events are an important way to attract both residents and visitors to our Town and to build community spirit and pride. We have several well-attended events organized by the Town, such as the Summer Concert Series at the Recreation Field Gazebo, the Ragamuffin Parade, Summer Fest, the Gedney Park Fishing Derby, and the Memorial Day Parade. Several local organizations sponsor events including the Chappaqua Farmers Market, the Strawberry Festival, the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival, and the NCBSA Little League Parade, to name only a few. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce has Wine Around Town, and the Northern Westchester Arts Guild has launched Art Around Town. Adding more events can attract visitors and residents and help build the unique brands of both Chappaqua AND Millwood. We would seek to expand programming in Millwood. For example, we would revive Millwood 200, a day-long celebration in Gedney Park. We have also proposed a Millwood 5K Turkey Trot.
Residents are overwhelmingly positive about the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, and we share this enthusiasm for creating a regional destination for the Arts. We will continue forward the Town’s role in providing financial support, marketing assistance, and facilities maintenance, while looking to optimize the operations of the ChappPAC.
The Town is fortunate to be the home of The Chappaqua Orchestra, a professional-level orchestra that recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. We will look to improve partnerships with the TCO, such as summer outdoor concerts, holiday sing, and Together in Music, an inclusive concert for all residents.
We believe that a significant opportunity exists to make New Castle an arts destination, building on the success of Art Around Town, and sponsoring public art installations.
This plan is not meant to be exhaustive – surely there are many worthy ideas that we have not included here.
For example, other projects we would anticipate discussing as a part of the Rec Master Plan include: fixing drainage on Recreation Field, building a food kiosk in Gedney Park, upgrading the restrooms at the Gedney Park ball fields, creating pedestrian access from Millwood to Gedney Park, building a replica Millwood Train Station along the North County Trail, constructing Millwood-Ossining Go, aka “MOGO,” a proposed bike lane to connect Ossining and Millwood, exploring options for a public pool, considering a new community center, improving accessibility at the senior center, providing programming for empty nesters, expanding the offerings of the newly launched Teen Zone, and much more!
The process of enhancing recreation opportunities and improving community spirit starts with the Rec Master Plan, which will engage the community in brainstorming ideas and prioritizing projects. We will prioritize this plan, and ensure that the result is a plan that is inclusive and improves access and opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities.
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