Marlborough airs grants, traffic – and Indian Trail progress

By Rob Sample
Posted 5/15/24


At its Monday, May 13 meeting, the Marlborough Town Board agreed to sponsor an application for funding for Milton’s historic Kent Farm from the state’s Restore New York …

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Marlborough airs grants, traffic – and Indian Trail progress

At its Monday, May 13 meeting, the Marlborough Town Board agreed to sponsor an application for funding for Milton’s historic Kent Farm from the state’s Restore New York Communities Initiative. This move followed a public hearing on the proposal, which preceded the meeting.
OP Kent and Sons, the property’s owner, will apply for a grant of $1.5 million from the Empire State Development Corporation, which runs Restore New York. It aims to convert a historic house into an event space, cidery tasting room, and farm-to-table restaurant, as well as rebuild an adjacent barn to serve as a store, museum, and event venue. The property is located at 160-162 North Road in Milton.
The house on the property is also known as the Hallock House and dates to before the Revolutionary War. “It was shot at by the British,” said Chip Kent, owner of Kent Farm and the Locust Grove Fruit Farm and Brewery. “It’s long been our plan to restore the house and use it as a tasting room and bed-and-breakfast, with the barn as an event space.” 
In response to a question Kent noted that the restoration plans for the house call for painstaking disassembly and reconstruction, with an aim to retain most of the original wooden structure. “I have a very good carpenter – as well as several others who are interested in jumping in to help,” he said.
The proposed project earned praise from Town Supervisor Scott Corcoran and other community officials. “I think we have a really good shot at this,” said Corcoran. “I think it’s a great idea – it’s awesome.”
“I’m definitely in favor of anything that will protect our New York heritage,” said Mici Simonofsky, who chairs the town’s Conservation Advisory Committee.
It was a good night for grant announcements: Marlborough Chief of Police Gerald Cocozza announced that his department had received a $99,000 grant from New York State. It is part of a $127 million program that funds technology and equipment for police agencies outside New York City, and the Marlborough Police Department originally applied for $100,000. The money will go toward the purchase of body cameras, in-car cameras, license plate readers, and electronic speed signs in the town.
“Typically, the state is very good to fire and police departments – so it there is grant money out there, we want to apply for it,” Corcoran said.
Besides the Kent Farm resolution, the Town Board approved a four-part resolution for town fuel purchases, with Russo Fuel & Propane selected as the vendor. It also approved an agreement between the town and John Mazza, whose garage encroaches into the town’s right-of-way along Dragotta Road. Under the agreement, Massa would assume liability responsibility for that part of the garage. He also would need to remove the encroaching structure in the future event the town decides to widen Dragotta Road and needs that right-of-way property.
The Town Board also okayed a resolution to authorize Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., to publicly bid for Youngs Park sports-field lighting. The town recently received $100,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for this lighting project. A resolution to retain counsel for a legal matter involving a violation of town code resulted in a tie vote, and thus failed to pass. The violation took place at property located at 219-229 Mount Zion Road, on a parcel owned by Steven and Caroline Santini, and concerned tree cutting.
During the public comments, Old Indian Trail resident Maryanne Quick questioned Corcoran on the recent progress to resolve the collapse of a section of Old Indian Trail just north of her driveway. The collapse occurred on April 23 of last year, but a solution is under way.
“We’re trying to push the roadway 10 feet to the west” in the affected area,” Corcoran noted. Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. is the engineering firm providing services to the project. Town highway crews will do much of the clearing work on the west side of the road. The work on the east side of the road, the cliff’s edge, would involve installing stabilizing rods into the rock underlaying the roadway, installing footings atop those, and building a three-foot retaining wall. 
“It’s similar to building a foundation,” said Corcoran. “It likely will require a private firm to build the retaining wall.” The town would issue a request for bids and would choose from among those. 
Quick and several others on the board discussed whether the road should revert to a one-way status, because it is quite narrow. However, Corcoran said that is a discussion for a later date. “I just want to first get it fixed,” he said.
Hudson Bluff Drive resident Peter Hoffman said traffic on Route 9W in the vicinity of his house has grown to the point where left and right turns can be very problematic. “I often have to divert myself onto the paved shoulder of the highway to make a right turn onto my street,” Hoffman said. 
Making a left turn when driving southbound is even more problematic, he said. “I’ve had to go down to CVS and make a U-turn at times,” Hoffman said. “Could somebody on the board ask the DOT about installing turning lanes?”
Corcoran said he has a good relationship with several people at the DOT – but has been frustrated by its recent approach to highway projects. The DOT now places much of the financial burden on municipalities to fund such initiatives, and he estimated that a turning lane would cost the town $800,000 to $1 million. “They will give you a permit… but you first have to do the engineering work,” Corcoran said.
And that’s for just one turning lane: the town needs quite a few of them. 
“We also asked the DOT to lower the speed limits on 9W [within the Town of Marlborough],” said Cocozza. “They responded that it would clog traffic too much.”
“There isn’t a single safe area on 9W to make a turn,” noted board member Dave Zambito. “Unfortunately, the DOT doesn’t care.”