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Fate of Upper Scout Field Remains Undecided PDF Print Email


By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter     

Jun. 5, 2019: The only remaining open area at Westchester County’s Scout Field will remain undisturbed for the time being. The county’s plan to reconfigure Upper Scout Field to house a soccer field while preserving some open space remains in limbo. The decision rests with Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and he has stated that he wants to get a clear idea of the best use of the park for everyone concerned.

Under the terms of an inter-municipal agreement (IMA) unanimously approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators in 2016, during the Rob Astorino administration, the Town of Eastchester was authorized to operate and maintain the soccer 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 would grant exclusive use of the soccer field to Eastchester schools and all use and control of Upper Scout Field to the Town of Eastchester.

When Latimer assumed the office and inherited the agreement from Astorino, he contacted the various Scout Field constituencies and did a walk-through of the park. “I will continue dialogues with those parties,” he said. “Is this an either/or situation, or is there a way to harmonize the desires of the various groups? That’s what I want to learn.”

Scout Field lies within the jurisdictions of Westchester County, the City of Yonkers, the City of Mount Vernon, the Town of Eastchester, and the Village of Bronxville.

Although requests for proposals (RFP) have been issued for a soccer field, a move that has raised concern among some interested parties and park patrons, Latimer emphasized that no contracts have been authorized. He explained that the RFPs will give the county an idea of how much the project might cost. Under the terms of the IMA, the county agreed to bond $1.9 million for Upper Scout Field improvements required to construct the field.

Yonkers city councilman Mike Breen, whose District #5 includes Scout Field, stated that the city is concerned with the proposal’s permitting process, which could develop the open area into a controlled space that will be locked, limiting accessibility. “We also have an issue with Eastchester as the managing entity,” he said. In April 2018, the Yonkers City Council approved a resolution opposing the county’s development plan.

Friends of Scout Field, a citizen-based group that has organized to oppose the reconfiguration and development of Upper Scout Field, has expressed concern that the plan would destroy the ecological environment, upset wildlife, and endanger the Bronx River Watershed.

“We feel the county board of legislators was derelict in their duties in voting unanimously for the development plan,” said John Torres, a member of the group. “They made the mistake of approving the plan without knowing all the facts.” He added that the board has kept this citizen group at arm’s length.

Several group members have met with George Latimer and left the discussion feeling that he wants to be fair and equitable to everyone concerned. “He’s hearing our concerns and that’s important,” Joan Aracich noted.

According to Susan Burkat, also of Friends of Scout Field, the argument that a soccer field in this particular location is needed is a false argument. “There are at least twelve other places for kids to play organized sports in the county.” She pointed out that bird watchers, parents with small children, and dog owners are among area residents who enjoy Upper Scout Field’s open space.

John Torres stressed that the Friends of Scout Field movement to save the park has a strong group of supporters who stand in solidarity to preserve the park as open space and stop Upper Scout Field’s reconfiguration. “We’re confident we can stop this, but we can’t be complacent,” he said.

For County Executive George Latimer, the real issue is determining the best use of the park for the greatest number of people.

Pictured here:  Scout Field

Photo by N. Bower


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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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