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Chappaqua Architect Proposes Downtown Overhaul

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Resident architect Chuck Napoli on Tuesday night presented a radical overhaul of downtown Chappaqua to the New Castle Town Board after working closely with residents and business owners on the plan all summer.

The draft of Napoli’s proposal calls for the installation of an indoor parking garage, a turf field, a new row of stores and a performing arts center.

The indoor parking garage would be constructed on top of the current Robert E. Bell Middle School field next to Senter Street and would create 400 spaces. On top of the 12-foot garage would be a turf playing field.

Napoli said the current South Greeley Avenue parking lot would be converted into a 15,000-square-foot area for new buildings that could be used in any way. He said there also would be room at the back of the new area for a performing arts center.

The current proposal would cost about $15 million and would require nearly three years of construction. Napoli said the money would come from loans and individual contributors, and said several local merchants already are interested in investing.

Since much of the land is school-owned, the project would require approval by the Chappaqua Central School District. Napoli, though, hoped the town’s support would be the first of many dominoes to fall and would get other involved parties to jump on board.

“Wouldn’t it be great if the buck starts here?” Napoli said. “Somebody has to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t going to wreck the town.’ ”

Rob Greenstein, Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce president, urged the town to get behind the project, saying it’s a better option for the town than the proposed retail center at Chappaqua Crossing.

“It would be nice if the Town Board showed some excitement about this, like a lot of people in this room feel for this project,” he said. “It seems like you guys are more excited about [Chappaqua Crossing] than you are about this great project that would solve so many problems.”

Board members said the project had potential, but held off on making any judgment before learning more.

“I think this is the first of many presentations we are going to hear from Mr. Napoli,” said board member Elise Mottel. “And I’m sorry that we’re not jumping on the table. It’s not that we’re not interested or excited; it’s that we want to hear more about it.”

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