Now the work begins

Mid-Orange Correctional Facility transferred to Warwick Valley LDC and Town of Warwick


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  • Photos by Roger Gavan A recent photo of the former Mid-Orange Correctional facility. Additional photographs can be found online at warwickadvertiser.com.




  • In a symbolic gesture, Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton raised a handful of keys. He had just made the announcement at a press conference held Thursday, March 6, that on the previous day the State of New York had finally approved the transfer of the 730 acre property at the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility to the Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation (LDC) and the Town of Warwick.




  • Orange County Partnership CEO Maureen Halahan promised that her agency was eager to market the property. "Our mission is to make sure that the world knows what we have here in Orange County," she said.



— In a symbolic gesture, Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton raised a handful of keys.

He had just made the announcement at a press conference held Thursday, March 6, that on the previous day the State of New York had finally approved the transfer of the 730-acre property at the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility to the Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation (LDC) and the Town of Warwick.

After explaining that he always needed the assistance of the security detail to gain access to the buildings, Sweeton added, "Now we have the keys."

That prompted friendly laughter and applause from a packed room at the Town Hall that included local officials, business owners and many other interested citizens as well as members of the media.

In July 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced that the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick was on its list of seven prisons to be shut down to save the state money.

As a result the local economy suffered the loss of 322 jobs and the property has remained vacant since the fall of that year.

Approved and shovel-ready
In the recent transfer the Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation paid $3.5 million for a 150-acre parcel of the former correctional facility property with a one percent interest loan from local businessman Robert Schluter.

This portion of the property, which includes existing buildings and shovel ready building sites, will be marketed for economic development under the name Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park. Sweeton reported that a number of parties have already expressed serious interest in the location.

The bulk of the property, 580 acres, was sold to the Town of Warwick for just $1 and will remain undeveloped and used for recreational and land preservation purposes.

Incentives, marketing, partnerships

Sweeton explained that all this had been accomplished at no cost to taxpayers and that for the first time in its history, the property would produce tax revenues.

"As we work to attract business opportunities to this great location," he said, "Empire State Development will be offering economic incentives through New York State. The Orange County Industrial Development Agency will be making local incentives available and the Orange County Partnership will be taking the lead on marketing the property. It is this team work that will make this project successful and fulfill its potential to attract hundreds of jobs to the area."

Development and open space
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus praised Sweeton and his commission for their accomplishment.

"This acquisition," he said, "will leverage Warwick's accommodating environment for new and existing employers while preserving the inviting open spaces Orange County is known for."

Orange County Partnership CEO Maureen Halahan promised that her agency was eager to market the property. "Our mission is to make sure that the world knows what we have here in Orange County," she said.

LDC Chairman Robert Krahulik told the gathering that the vision was to provide residents with good-paying jobs close to home. Like Sweeton, he praised the efforts of the coalition of local government and businesspeople that worked to present the state with a development plan.

As a lifelong resident of Warwick he added, "This is an opportunity for people to both live and work in the Town of Warwick."


By Roger Gavan

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