By Susan Monteleone
BARRYVILLE January 2, 2004 It began just as a way to preserve the trails he would ride his horse on, but today it is blossoming into an attractive getaway for people from Long Island, the New York City area and other states.
And if John Corso has his way, its about to offer a lot more.
Corso has a home in Barryville that borders the former Robinson Sawmill on Hillside Road. He also owns several hundred acres around his home, which will soon become home to dozens of new homes and perhaps even a medical facility.
How did this all come to be? For years, Corso would ride his horse through the wooded trails and enjoy the mountain views, until one day the property went up for sale. Corso noticed a car with New Jersey plates eying the property, and in fear that the property would be sold to a developer, he contacted his lifelong friend Frank Rappo. The two men purchased the Robinson Sawmill Property over two years ago.
The two friends bought the property in hopes of setting a new example for developers.
We just wanted to show other developers that they can develop a property without destroying it and not turn it into another Levittown, as well as building a beautiful development and still make a profit, stated Patricia Krohley, marketing manager for the business now known as Mountain Partners.
Mountain Partners is affiliated with Corcon Builders of West Hempsted, which is currently listed at #25 out of 100 of the top retail builders in the area, and R&L Systems of Queens, which is well known for electrical work, according to Krohley.
Krohley said Mountain Partners has received 110 percent approval from the Town of Highland in support of their current project, and the very first site home is nearly complete.
The development will offer 5- to 10-acre lots, as well as customized log homes worth up to $425,000 all nestled within 246 acres on top of the mountain, which offers views of the Delaware River and surrounding countryside.
The development will also offer horseback riding to the public as well as a tack shop and a community center (which will also be available to the public).
The community center will offer vast programs for all ages, and the horseback riding will be available to the public, but some areas will be limited for residents only, stated Krohley.
Krohley added that the tax base in the Town of Highland will be enhanced with the development.
Currently, we have 70 to 80 buyers looking at the property and very interested parties. Just today, we had a woman from NBC inquire about building a home in the development, she explained.
Krohley said that the people looking at building in the development are mixed: young couples, couples with children, older people, and professionals.
We do not want the development to be a retirement development we want it to be a development that will continue to strive and grow, she said.
Krohley, however, is more excited about the biggest part of the plan: a hospital substation of sorts, as well as a pharmacy.
I have talked to a local hospital who is interested in setting up a hospital substation, she said. It would offer emergency medical care and possibly a helicopter landing zone. We would like to establish the hospital for those who may not make it to a hospital located 30 minutes away. . . . It would be a perfect spot for a hospital.
I am also working on establishing a pharmacy. Many people have asked for one of these to be put in Highland, and we are trying to do just that, stated Krohley.
With the hospital being added to the development area, it will save a life, and that will make all the hard work to get it established all worth it, she continued. With the river accidents and auto accidents that happen more in the summer, a hospital offering a variety of medical services would be an asset to the area, and I will be working my hardest to make it become a reality.
The medical facilities would be part of a 40-acre retail site that would be built along Route 97 near its intersection with Hillside.
When the hospital, pharmacy and retail area are built, they will not have glaring signs it will blend into the natural site and will possibly be of a log construction, said Krohley.
With the construction of a mini strip mall, Krohley did state that Mountain Partners will not compete with the local businesses and that they simply want to create a tax base and new jobs. She further noted that the taxes for each home could range from $5,000 to $10,000, thus potentially alleviating possible negative impacts.
This development is simply a labor of love for John and Frank, said Krohley. The land is selling like crazy. . . . These men love the area and are promising to preserve as much as nature as possible, with limited amount of impacts.
With the development in process, a little peace of heaven will not be destroyed.
Just recently, Mountain Partners learned that they and the Town of Highland were chosen by a national log home magazine as one of the top ten places to build a log home within the United States, and Better Home and Gardens is planning a feature in their magazine. Not to be outdone, the History Channel is also planning a feature regarding the development.
Further information on the development can be obtained by calling Mountain Partners at 516-505-6606.