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From the Mayor: Factors that Make a Community Sustainable and Desired PDF Print Email


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Mar. 6, 2019:  As the trustees and I embark, with assistance from professional planners, on a comprehensive plan for the village, I have devoted considerable time researching what factors make a community sustainable and desired.

With but a few exceptions, the answers were predictable but so worth reiterating as we go forward with our review of Bronxville. Very reassuringly, our village already hits the mark on most of the desired characteristics.

All experts point to the need for planning and a vision for the future because, as history has proven, communities will grow either by choice or by chance.

Someone no less august than Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

In that vein, we are crafting a very specific questionnaire for villagers, merchants, employees, and even visitors to learn firsthand the desires and deficiencies in our village.

As a first step, we are essentially inventorying our assets--human, natural, structural, business--focusing on what our community has, not what it is missing. All experts agree to accentuate the positive and build on uniqueness. To that end, my personal mantra has become "embrace small."

The following is a checklist I compiled after research as to what makes a quality community:

  • A sense of public health and safety

  • A quality public education choice

  • Historic character

  • High-quality services

  • Cultural amenities

  • Attention to roads and infrastructure

  • Unique architecture (cookie-cutter concept of beauty has long faded since post World War II)

  • High-quality senior services (more important than ever as the population ages)

  • Public-private partnerships, as opposed to everything done via government and taxation

  • Enhancement, not adoption, of a new identity by improving existing assets

  • Education and incentives, not just regulation to effect change

  • Carefully chosen development

  • Cooperation with neighboring communities for mutual benefit

  • Attention to aesthetics

  • Strong leaders and committed citizens to volunteer

As Mark Twain said, “We take stock of a city like we take stock of a man. The clothes or appearance are the externals by which we judge.”

Beyond the brick and mortar and the landscape and architecture, what appears to be more important than ever are the intangibles – does the community I chose to live in have a heart and soul? Quality of life is paramount in 2019.

Residents, in essence, want to feel safe, supported, trusted, and heard. People want traditional small-town values, a sense of community, and the ability to impact the institutions they care about.

Individuals interviewed who rated their hometowns A-plus cited a warm welcoming openness, open space in which to interact, local social gathering places, and a culture of caring for each other be it house watching, occasional childcare help, or assistance when a tragedy strikes.

It is well documented that connection with people has a significant impact on happiness and even longevity – depression and heart disease decrease and lifespan increases.

Having a walking community adds to the opportunity for conversation, interaction, meeting new people, and added cross-generational contacts. The days of car to highway to jobs and errands as a desirable lifestyle appears over.

So resonating for me is the desire for most Americans surveyed to live in a community that is accepting of different views – be they sexual, religious, or political.

Our questionnaire will focus on asking you as villagers what you value most in our community so we go forward enhancing and preserving those qualities desired by residents with a true blueprint for action.

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 


From the Mayor: Status of Projects Completed and Under Way in the Village

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville Jul. 31, 2019:  As is custom, this is my last column until post Labor Day. For that reason, I want to...

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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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