Neuhaus signs resolution to purchase Maple Avenue building

Chester. The signing comes after the county legislature voted to acquire the building for $1.

| 10 Jul 2024 | 03:53

On Monday, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus officially signed the resolution, entering into an agreement to purchase the Maple Avenue building in the village of Chester. On July 2, the Orange County Legislature unanimously voted to acquire the building for $1.

Neuhaus has suggested that the county could repurpose the building for a high-tech training facility, as well as for other municipal uses. But first, the school district must go through the work of subdividing the property through the village. About three acres must be subdivided from the rest of school property. There are also pending issues regarding utility hookup separations and parking. Other repairs and asbestos remediation might also be necessary.

“First and foremost, we must stabilize the property,” stated Neuhaus. “After securing the property, developing a phased plan for renovating and upgrading the building will be the priority.”

The Maple Avenue building was erected in 1947 as Chester High School, with a second portion being added in 1965. It was retired upon the opening of the Chester Academy on Hambletonian Avenue in 2004. Orange-Ulster BOCES utilized the former high school until 2019. As previously noted, the referendum that school district residents approved earlier this year allows the school district to transfer only the 1935 and 1965 portions of the building to Orange County; the school district will maintain ownership of the gymnasium and athletic fields.

“I’m excited about what’s in store for this terrific building and for our community,” said Orange County Legislator Glenn Ehlers, who was present for the resolution signing. “County Executive Neuhaus and the great team that will repurpose it have a wonderful vision, and I’m grateful to them for seeing the potential in this structure and what it can ultimately become.”

In its announcement, the county added, “This would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of Orange County government, the village of Chester, and the Chester Union Free School District, as well as the support of the Orange County Legislature.”

“Much of our world is already built,” said Orange County Legislator Joseph Minuta. “Adaptive reuse of existing constructs repurposes past investments of materials, efforts, and skilled trades. This reduces the time, resources, and materials required while at the same time reviving a community.”

“This is the recipe for a success story in the County and we are going to get to work on this project to make it something very beneficial to County residents,” said Neuhaus. “Winston Churchill said, ‘We shape our buildings; thereafter, our buildings shape us.’ I look forward to working to create a future for this beautiful building that will shape and enrich our community for years to come.”