News Release



For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

January 21, 1999


County Executive Seeks Okay to Help Local Factory

Poughkeepsie, NY -- County Executive William R. Steinhaus is urging Dutchess County Legislators to authorize the county's participation in a $995,000 investment to rehabilitate the Reagan's Mill bridge in the Town of Dover, ensuring that a large employer will remain in, and expand, in Dutchess County. The bridge carries Reagan's Mill Road over the Ten Mile River and is within 1,500 feet of the entrance of Westchester Modular Homes, Inc. The legislature will consider the Executive request at its monthly meeting on Monday January 25.

"The currently posted 15 ton weight limit over the bridge has forced Westchester Modular Homes, Inc. to consider moving its facility out of the county, taking with them 170 jobs," said County Executive Steinhaus. "Repairing the bridge will result in retaining those jobs in the Harlem Valley and provide Westchester Modular Homes with better access to their plant."

The weight restrictions on the bridge caused significant difficulty in the day-to-day operations of the facility and, due to the residential nature of the surrounding roads, there are few alternative access routes. "This caused logistical difficulties for the company in shipping the modular homes, and receiving supplies and equipment," Steinhaus said. "However, with the commitment from the County Executive to improve the bridge, the company built an additional maintenance building and is prepared to expand there factory as well."

Of the $995,000 representing the costs associated with the bridge rehabilitation and road improvements, Dutchess County has committed to $445,000 and NYS Senator Vincent Leibel has secured $200,000 from the state Multi-Modal Program. The additional $350,000 needed to complete the project will come from the state's Industrial Access Program (IAP) and is pending the legislatures approval. The county sought the IAP funds and must repay 40%, or $140,000, over the course of the next five years.

The county's share will be funded by existing bond monies dedicated to bridge improvements. The 40%, or the $140,000, of the IAP money is a non-interest loan of which 10% will be repaid in the first year, 20% in the following three years and 30% in the last year. "By the year 2000, Westchester Modular Homes will employ 200 people in the Harlem Valley, making it one of our most important employers in eastern Dutchess County," Steinhaus said. "The county's commitment to this project directly affects the lives of those 200 individuals and their families. I am committed to job retention and economic development. Retaining an existing company and the jobs it provides is even more important than recruiting a new company.   Governor Pataki, Senator Leibel and the county's Economic Development Corporation have been very helpful in securing all the funds needed for this endeavor. I look forward to the legislature's support as well."

"So far Bill Steinhaus and the county have really made an effort help us keep our facility in the Harlem Valley. We have many employees who are extremely grateful," said Westchester Modular Homes Inc. President, Charles Hatcher. "Once the legislature approves the Reagan's Mill Bridge project, we begin our factory expansion and hiring additional workers. I am counting on the legislature to move the process along quickly."

The bridge construction will also allow for the removal of the posted weight limit and, when it is reopen, it will enable regular truck traffic to cross it. Construction is planned to begin this spring and will be completed by summer's end.



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