BOOM – Orange County Building Boom #2 Takes Off
Orange County is poised to step into a big building Boom. Is it ready? From one end of the county to the other, projects are popping up, BIG projects. County officials, planners and builders/developers will have to meet the challenges that this coming success will bring. The benefits are obvious: An enormous new Sleep Inn in the Village of South Blooming Grove just past the Route 208 overpass will provide a place for tourists, travelers and visitors involved in new projects to stay, tax relief and income from water and sewage usage to existing residents, not to mention some amenities like a new restaurant and future pool. There are no less than 4 other new hotel/motels going up in the county that will join a dozen or so that already exist. New businesses will provide thousands of jobs for both new and existing residents and bring additional financial resources to the area. The list of new projects seems to grow daily. Chester will very soon boast of a new Police Department within feet of a new Senior Center. It also boasts a large expansion of Steris, one of the largest commercial facilities in its Industrial Park. Both Chester and Blooming Grove have completed new zoning for the former Camp LaGuardia property and expect interested companies to be checking it out in the coming months. A beautiful and smartly designed apartment complex on Route 94 with a view of the Chester Valley has been so successful that it had a lengthy waiting list before its units were finished. It’s one of the few newer complexes in the area that follows smart planning policies with a mix of village and valley atmosphere and within walking distance to both the town and village. But the growth news in Chester is not all good. After fighting a large high-density development on Route 94 called “The Greens” for over 30 years, it finally was won by the developer and recently purchased by a Brooklyn group. And if Chester could accommodate to one more high density complex, it will now face two, because the Village of Chester also lost their efforts to deny the BT Holdings Complex up and behind Shop Rite Plaza.
Washingtonville also has a major expansion of a manufacturing facility in the works as well as a bustling Placemaking project that is attracting not only a variety of businesses, but by efforts of officials has garnered them some FEMA land along the Moodna for a new parkland.
A little farther west Goshen is balancing the needs of projects like marijuana growing facilities, Amy’s Kitchen and, if it passes through current court challenges Legoland. Even farther west there are yet more challenges to the CPV power plant which the New York DEC is contesting.
And in the New Windsor/Newburgh area the proposed projects include Waterstone Retails collection of box stores, a project that has the Town of Newburgh negotiating a fair tax deal and neighboring stores wondering what would happen to their similar businesses.
The Town of New Windsor just recently cut the ribbon on what might be the best holiday gift the region could hope for … two new wells that can provide water for itself and its neighbors as well. Just in time, this will prevent worry when the City of Newburgh returns to its usual water resources rather than its temporary aqueduct connection, a date that has now been pushed off over worries about how long the Department of Defense will take to remediate the PFOS/PFOA contaminants that are still traveling through groundwater.
Finally, in the City of Newburgh, the proposed Mill Street 91-unit affordable housing complex presents both monetary and cultural challenges. There are residents who are not eager to greet a big clean block of apartments. As much as many buildings in the City are in need of restoration, there is a history and character to them that many love. In the balance of growing to a safer and cleaner city, on grounds that are steeped in American history and with views of the Hudson River and mountain ridge behind it, a delicate balance will have to be preserved between the old and the new, and between enticing new business, and preserving the positive unique culture and interesting mix of ethnicities and the skills and talents that already exist of these people that make Newburgh what it is.