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Chappaqua Owners Mixed on King Street Construction

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Several Chappaqua store owners met with the New Castle Town Board on Tuesday night to discuss a proposed construction plan to be carried out on lower King Street later this year.

The construction, which calls for the upgrade of water mains and sewer lines underneath King Street, was met with a mixed reaction from merchants.

“This will kill my business,” said Marmalade owner Cindy Lupica. “If you rip up that street now, you’re shooting me in the foot.”

While Lupica and Chappaqua Village Market owner Vinny Milazzo - who sent a letter - were adamant in their opposition to the construction, others simply wanted to “bite the bullet” and get it over with.

“We’re gonna need to do it sooner or later, let’s do it and get on with marketing the town and re-branding the town,” said Aurora owner Dawn Greenberg. “I think it needs to be done. I think it will be a big plus for us.”

Town Supevisor Susan Carpenter believes delaying the work any longer would be risky, considering the age of the water mains and sewer lines. “We have infrastructure repairs that have to be made,” she said.

According to Town Planner David Brito, the construction would never halt the flow of traffic through King Street, as only half of the street would be under construction at any period of time. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the town estimates the construction would cost $645,000.

Originally, the King Street construction was going to wait until 2013, with the town instead focusing on South Greeley Avenue. However, those plans have been delayed. The town board felt the store owners along the street needed a break following years of construction on the Route 120 bridge and the merchant parking lot.

Lupica believes that King Street owners need a break, too, saying that the disrupted traffic flow from the bridge construction hurt everybody’s bottom-line. She added that construction on the parking lot caused residents to use spots in front of their lower King Street stores.

“I really feel you need to give us a chance to get some traction back with these customers,” said Lupica. “It’s hard. We’re working like crazy to get these people to come back.”

The South Greeley Avenue construction, which would ease flooding on the street, has been deemed a neccessity by town officials and will be carried out in 2013. The town board does not yet know of the urgency to complete the King Street construction, but believes it to be a necessity, as well.

"I know our engineer said maybe we can put it off for a year, but at some point you really have to worry whether or not the infratructure's gonna hold," said Carpenter. "If we have broken water mains and broken sewer pipes, your business will really be hurt."

Along with the infrastructure upgrades, the construction would also call for street-scape projects on lower King Street to be carried out simultaneously. A small park, street lights, and more would be added to the area.

“I personally would love a beautiful park down there right outside my window,” said Breeze owner Susan Maher. “Right now I have a half-rusted ‘Do Not Enter’ sign blocking my front window. So that would be great.”

Town officials will continue to gather information about the urgency of the project and will also survey additional merchants on lower King Street. If the project is approved, the construction would likely take place between the months of July and September, as summer months are typically the slowest for business, according to Town Administrator Penny Paderewski.

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