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County Takes Action on Historic North Castle Site

NORTH WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Board of Legislators Monday passed a measure to develop plans to restore and relocate the historic Miller House from its current site on Virginia Road in North White Plains to Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.

Although County Executive Rob Astorino was against the procedure and vetoed it last year, the county legislature overrode his veto Monday and approved the plan to move forward with the project funded by a $1.3 million bond from the county.

According to Legislator Gordon Burrows, the house was taken over by Westchester County Parks in the early 1970s but it has been neglected so badly since then that it has been falling into disrepair.

“Legislator of the area John Nonna has been actively trying to restore the property in question,” Burrows said. “He was successful in lobbying the county board of legislators for a bonding process of the house.”

The $1.3 million bond to restore the site is more than enough to get the job done, Burrows said.

“According to today’s report the cost of relocating the Miller House to the park by the dam would be about $660,000, so in some ways there’s a savings, we’re not going to have to use all the bond money and we’re still preserving history,” Burrows said.

The report states that the $1.3 million bonds are to be issued solely for the purposes of financing “the restoration of the main building, repair and replace the outbuildings, associated landscaping and site work all set forth in the county’s 2010 budget, as amended.”

Originally, the agreement did not take into account using the bond money to establish a new location for the Miller House. In order for the authorization to use bond money to move the site to Kensico Dam, the county legislature must amend the original agreement.

Burrows said he believes the amendment will pass soon and once it does, the site’s relocation should be a speedy process.

“It is necessary for the county board to pass the amendment and once it passes I imagine it’s going to be back on track,” Burrows said. “Within the next couple of months the whole process should begin.”

The act to move the site requires the commissioner of public works and transportation to work with the commissioner of parks, recreation, and conservation over 30-days following the adoption of the act in order to develop plans to move the site to Kensico Dam Plaza.

Burrows thinks that when the final restoration takes place it could have a positive impact on the general public.

“The new location would allow for people to go in and out and visit this place and hopefully it augments schools and history programs,” Burrows said. “It’s just another piece of revolutionary history that we wanted to preserve and that’s the basis for what’s been going on.”

The house, which is said to have been occupied by George Washington on several occasions during the Revolutionary War, was home to Elijah Miller who served in the French and Indian War.

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