Plans to Build Turf Soccer Field on Upper Scout Field in Limbo
By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Nov. 14, 2018: Westchester County’s pending plan to reconfigure upper Scout Field, a county park, to house a soccer field as well as preserve some open space has hit a snag. The City of Yonkers approved an April 2018 resolution opposing the development plan.
Citing that reconfiguration would significantly reduce the amount of green space available to county residents, and Yonkers citizens in particular, the resolution criticizes the county for not including the City of Yonkers in discussions when a large portion of Scout Field is located within the city.
The City of Yonkers also took issue with the inter-municipal agreement (IMA) executed between the county and the Town of Eastchester in May of 2016 authorizing the town to operate and maintain the field for a five-year term with the option to renew the agreement at the town’s discretion. As approved, the resolution states that the IMA grants exclusive use of the soccer field to Eastchester schools and all use and control of upper Scout Field to the Town of Eastchester.
Anthony Colavita, Eastchester town supervisor, stated that use of the field will not be dedicated exclusively to Eastchester schools. The Bronxville School, as well as St. Joseph School and town recreation teams, will have access.
“This has been a twelve-year process to get this project moving,” said Colavita, “and now Eastchester, Bronxville, and Mount Vernon are waiting for Westchester County to make a final decision on what Yonkers wants.” He added that if the county moves to terminate the IMA, which he described as “ironclad,” the county will be obligated to reimburse the Town of Eastchester on a pro-rated basis for preliminary work done on the project. The town, he said, has earmarked $165,000 for field improvements. The town will also pay the county a license fee of $200 per year to maintain and operate the field.
Colavita stated that the Westchester Department of Planning has performed work to determine where a soccer field, 360 feet by 200 feet, will be suitable for the land while maintaining 80,000 to 90,000 square feet of open space.
Under the terms of the IMA, Westchester County has agreed to bond approximately $1.9 million for upper Scout Field improvements, including grading, placement of topsoil, sub-surface drainage installation, installation of an irrigation system, and other work required to create a turf soccer field.
The Town of Eastchester will reconstruct and resurface the entrance road, create a new parking area east of the entrance road, and resurface existing parking. In addition, the town will install a fence, 350 feet by 200 feet, to enclose the soccer field that will allow for pedestrian and vehicle access, as well as furnish signage, scoreboards, bleachers, and benches.
The Village of Bronxville, which already performs sanitation work and leaf removal, will continue to do so.
Friends of Scout Field, a citizen-based organization that opposes the reconfiguration and development of the field, has expressed concern that the plan would destroy the pastoral and ecological environment, upset wildlife, and endanger the Bronx River Watershed. They further contend that the IMA was approved without public knowledge and that it contains no provision for public access for recreational purposes.
Per Colavita, there has been no declaration from County Supervisor George Latimer authorizing work to begin on upper Scout Field.
Pictured here: Scout Field.
Photo by N. Bower
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