Pieces of history came tumbling down in Dutchess County.
In some instances, when historic buildings are about to be torn down, neighbors press their local government to preserve the dilapidated structures at any cost.
That was not the case in Millbrook, as residents were ready to put the Bennett College days behind them.
Contractors started demolishing the former college’s buildings this week, with plans on leveling nearly the entire campus.
What You Need To Know
- Bennett College went bankrupt in 1977, leading to its complete closure in 1978
- Contractors began tearing down the former college’s buildings this week, and plan on leveling nearly the entire campus
- The village is working with nonprofits to turn the campus into a green space — a gateway into Millbrook
First the site of a fancy hotel in the 1800s, the area was taken over by the Bennett School for Girls, a high school, in 1907. The school then transitioned into a college.
Bennett College went bankrupt in 1977, leading to its complete closure in 1978. It has been falling apart ever since.
Soon, it will all be gone.
“Can’t wait,” said Lori Decker, who lives in a condo across the street from the campus. Decker was pleased to learn a group of nonprofits — the Millbrook Community Partnership — will spend $20 million to turn Bennett College into Bennett Park.
Decker said the crumbling campus has become a tourist attraction, not in a good way.
“A lot of people come by and they want to take pictures,” she said. “I don’t know, but they do. It’ll be really nice to have a little bit more serenity.”
The village is working with the nonprofits to turn the campus into a green space — a gateway into Millbrook — with a park and walking trails. They also plan to turn the nearby Thorne building into a community center.
“We’re looking forward to it,” neighbor Don Barbour, 95, said of the project.
The owners of his complex agreed to rearrange the property’s amenities to make more room for the park, according to village documents.
“They’re going to put the swimming pool right behind these garages,” Barbour said, “so we’ll have a closer walk to the swimming pool.”
The village and nonprofits have been planning to replace the college with a park and community center since 2017, though it is unclear when the project will be completed.
Bennett College in Millbrook, #NY is being demolished. The campus has been crumbling since the college went bankrupt and closed in 1978. The campus is being turned into a park and community center. pic.twitter.com/7XI9vJs241— Ben Nandy (@BenNandyNews) September 30, 2021