Putnam County Executive Odell Tells CID ‘Better Days are Ahead’
John Jordan | June 30, 2016
MAHOPAC—Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell says the county needs to expand its commercial base by securing additional sewer capacity, and also must attract and retain Millennials, as well as encourage ongoing initiatives like “Envision Brewster” and the redevelopment of Tilly Foster Farm.
Odell was the keynote speaker at the annual breakfast of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. The program was co-sponsored by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, the Putnam County Economic Development Corp. and the Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors. More than 70 people attended the event held at the Putnam County Golf Course on June 23.
“I would say better days are ahead,” Odell said. She said that since she took office in 2012, she has realized while some progress has been made in Putnam via initiatives launched by the public and private sectors in Putnam, the county “needs a larger footprint.” Odell added, “We really need to engage the region.”
In that vein, Odell said that Putnam is continuing to finalize details on a partnership with the City of Danbury, CT to acquire additional sewer capacity and build a connection to the Danbury sewer system along what could be a 15-mile stretch on an underutilized commercial strip along Route 6. The county executive said the initiative could involve the purchase of up to 1 million gallons per day of sewer capacity from the City of Danbury.
She describes the potential commercial development that the sewer connection could bring as one of the largest opportunities for business growth in Putnam County. Property owners would be able to build larger, cleaner projects by eliminating space for a septic system.
“This partnership between Putnam County and the City of Danbury to purchase sewer will hopefully allow us to develop this (Route 6) corridor all the way back (from Danbury sewer line connection) to the Village of Brewster,” she said. Odell said that the Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and the Danbury City Council are drafting a memorandum of understanding regarding the sewer partnership with Putnam County. She added that another potential partnership with Danbury would be expanded transportation between the Brewster region and Danbury. Odell estimated the sewer connection project would likely cost $1 million a mile to install. She said the county was applying for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the federal government to help pay for the project.
She said that the sewer initiative along with the revitalization initiative “Envision Brewster” has the potential for making Brewster, Putnam County’s Jersey City or Hoboken.
Other initiatives announced by the County Executive included the establishment of a BOCES Culinary Arts program at Tilly Foster Farm. “We are building a teaching kitchen in Tilly. We are rebranding it to be an educational institute.”
BOCES students will be at Tilly Foster Farm beginning in September, enrolled in the first of five planned courses that were developed by Putnam County in cooperation with BOCES. These courses will also be open for adults as well, Odell noted.
She also provided updates on the proposed mixed-use projects Union Place in Mahopac and Oregon Corners in Putnam Valley. She said that possibly brining water to Putnam Valley “could be a game-changer” for Putnam County.
Another significant project Odell mentioned is at the former Butterfield Hospital mixed-use project in Cold Spring. Putnam County will be leasing approximately 6,000 square feet at the development to be used as a senior center.
County Executive Odell announced earlier in the month that architectural design firm, Todd Zwigard Architects (TZA), was awarded the contract to redesign the Lahey Pavilion, which will house a new state-of-the-art senior center at the Butterfield site. The first round of draft plans will be submitted to the county by early July.
Photo Caption: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odel