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Bronxville Government and History

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Bronxville Village Trustees Approve Funding for Variety of Capital Projects and Improvements Including Equipment for Police, DPW, and Playground PDF Print Email


By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter

Jun. 19, 2019:  Village capital projects took center stage at the Bronxville Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, June 10. Moving into the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the board approved a round of resolutions to fund various classes of planned purchases and improvements.

Village Administrator Jim Palmer stated that, while the village has earmarked $750,000 for improvements to the Pondfield Avenue underpass, issues of jurisdiction between MetroNorth Railroad and the village have not been clearly delineated. “I have reviewed the deed from 1914,” Palmer said, “and haven’t seen anything that specifically states that the village is responsible for the sidewalks or railings.” Bid documents are ready to be sent out for some of the aesthetic improvements. If necessary, Palmer will ask village attorney James Staudt to assist in producing a statement to indicate that the village, in moving forward with that work, in no way means it will assume that responsibility in the future.

The board approved funding of $348,588 for items with a useful life of three to five years, including a new copier, body cameras for police officers, pay stations for the new parking lot, a license plate reader for parking enforcement officers, and a new fingerprinting machine.

For projects with a 15-year useful life, the board approved $212,949 in funding. Plans to purchase a new dump truck, a new sanitation truck body, and a new electrical panel for the paddle tennis courts and to replace some of the Sagamore Park playground equipment fall within this category.

Improvements to village hall, primarily painting and interior improvements to offices, are expected to have a 25-year useful life, received $197,168 in funding approval.

Looking toward the future, Bronxville resident Betsy Harding urged the trustees to “really get it right and cover all the bases” in analyzing the needs for a new department of public works garage and building a facility to meet those needs.

Jim Palmer reported that, despite recent rains, construction at the former Avalon parking lot on Parkway Road is proceeding on schedule and the lot should open July 1. The new sidewalk along Parkway Road and the walkway to the Metro-North Railroad platform both opened this month.

Mayor Mary Marvin announced the death of former Bronxville mayor William J. Murphy. Murphy served as mayor in the mid-1980s and then became the village’s volunteer parking commissioner. “Bill was the definition of a volunteer,” Marvin noted. “He lent his time, talents, and financial generosity to this village. Everyone here at village hall will miss him.”

The board of trustees will meet on Monday, July 8, at 8:00 pm in the trustees room at village hall. A 7:00 pm work session will precede the public meeting.

From the Mayor: Impact of Millennial Generation Is Growing PDF Print Email


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Jun. 19, 2019:  Everyone in retail, industry, government, and urban planning is discussing the impact of the millennial generation on communities going forward. By definition, millennials are the 92 million Americans born between 1977 and 2000 accounting for approximately 25% of our population and 21% of consumer purchasing power. Roughly one in every four millennials is a parent and 53% of millennial households have children. As a group, they differ from Gen Xers and baby boomers in many ways – when they plan to marry, their financial situation, and how they consume products and media.

Because of their distinctive characteristics, future planning on every level has to adjust accordingly.

As illustration, millennials have grown up in a world that emphasized the value of convenience. Between takeout food, video streaming, personalized social media feeds, and the ability to Google any question in real time, they have been conditioned to think in terms of how fast, efficient, and available a service or product can reach them.

As a direct response to this phenomenon, Walmart is currently expanding its same-day online grocery delivery service to 100 metro areas, covering roughly 40% of U.S. households by the end of this year.

Millennials have also aged in a world of choices; be it Netflix options, online product comparisons, and then nearly a dozen ways to pay when an item or service is chosen. Cost is a big factor, given they saddle more debt than any other generation. The average millennial debt – mostly due to college loans – is $40,000 per person, while the corresponding average salary is $35,000.

Unlike past generations who were hyper-focused on acquiring “things,” millennials spend much of their disposable income to buy “experiences.” As “millennial entrepreneur” Taylor Smith said on NBC, “We aren’t spending our money on cars, TVs, and watches. We’re renting scooters and touring Vietnam, rocking out at music festivals or hiking Machu Picchu.”

In the current market, if you sell a physical product, the item needs to tell a story or paint an experience to a millennial. (I harken back to the J. Peterman catalogue.) Tom’s Shoes is a perfect example of a brand that was able to tap into this desire. Their one-for-one purchase and giveaway has become a new category of socially conscious marketing, cementing a connection with people and causes that millennials value.

As far as purchases, millennials have little interest in owning big-ticket items such as houses, televisions, and cars. Only one in three thinks a TV is a needed purchase, as they have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon – all with the ability to binge watch on demand.

What millennials do want is to eat right and be healthy. Along with this has come a major uptick in the sales of athletic apparel and footwear.

Tastes and interests in every life sector are changing thanks to the power and numbers of millennials, and unless society keeps up, products, even neighborhoods, could become obsolete.

Some small but cautionary tales include companies manufacturing fabric softener, napkins, and bar soap. Thinking it unnecessary and chemically laden, millennials don’t buy fabric softener. As a result, Downy’s sales dropped 26% in just eight years. Six in ten households purchased napkins 15 years ago; now it is less than four, while the sales of paper towels are skyrocketing and only 33% of millennials use bar soap to shower vs 60% of those 65 and over.

Beyond these small blips on the screen, huge institutions such as McDonald’s, national and state lotteries, and even the stock market have felt the pinch because of millennial choices. McDonald’s is reviewing its business model as millennials are preferring fresher, healthier organic and ethically sourced food such as is served at Panera, as opposed to the McDonald’s offerings.

In the 50 to 64 age cohort, 61% of Americans played a lottery last year vs only 33% of millennials. Only 13% purchased stocks vs keeping their savings in Real Estate (30%), cash (30%), and even gold (17%).

Since most millennials do not have the car to transport the 24-roll pack of paper towels, rather opting to have it delivered, bulk grocers such as Costco and BJ’s are feeling the loss.

And in a true shot to “Americana,” the sales of brand-name beer and Harleys are declining. If the millennial taste preferences for craft beer, wine, and liquor continue, by 2030, beer will no longer have the largest share of the alcohol market.

Do-rags, sidecars, and patch-laden leather jackets do not resonate with millennials. Harley Davidson, so feeling the pinch, has been re-tooling factories to manufacture scooters and attract a new market retailing at half the price of a basic Harley.

Net-net, the influence millennials have in every aspect of life is growing daily. As a society, we need to understand and engage this segment of society on their terms. 

Pictured here:  Mayor Mary Marvin.

Photo by N. Bower 

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.

Bronxville Non-Partisan Committee Announces New Members PDF Print Email


By Susan Meaney, Member, Bronxville Non-Partisan Committee for the Nomination and Election of School Trustees

Jun. 19, 2019:  The Bronxville Non-Partisan Committee for the Nomination and Election of School Trustees (NPC) announced the individuals who will join the committee, following the village-wide election that ended on June 11. This year, one representative from each of Bronxville’s seven voting districts was elected to serve a three-year term. In two of those districts, a representative won re-election after being elected in 2018 to serve out the remaining year of a retiring member’s term.

The new members are Dean Vanderwarker (District 16); Ed Reilly (District 17); Nick Willoughby (District 19); Beata Gocyk-Farber (District 20); and Anthony Mercando (District 22). The re-elected members are Jeff Hine (District 18) and Lee Huang (District 21).

The NPC thanks the five members of the committee who rolled off the committee effective June 12: Larry Bettino, Andrew Harwood, Jim Purdy, Lindy Devereux, and Don Bringle. These individuals have generously donated their time and energy to ensuring that the candidates for school board trustee are recruited, properly vetted, and nominated each year. Their service to the NPC is very much appreciated. 

The NPC will resume activity in September when the committee will reconvene to begin soliciting applications for school trustee candidates to run in the school district election in May of 2020.

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

Bronxville Police Blotter: June 1 to June 9, 2019 PDF Print Email


By Bronxville Police Department

Jun. 19, 2019: The following entries are from the Bronxville police blotter. 

June 1, 2019, 8:17 am, Bolton Gardens: Police responded to a neighborhood complaint for weekend construction work being performed. The workers ceased and were warned and admonished.

June 2, 2019, 6:42 am, Pondfield Road: A wallet containing over $1,100 in cash was turned over to police. The owner was contacted, and it was returned.

June 5, 2019, 3:19 pm, Pondfield Road: A resident reported that he had lost all of his parking permits. Replacements were issued.

June 6, 2019, 9:59 pm, Palmer Avenue: Lawrence Hospital staff requested police assistance in identifying an unknown male with an altered mental state. Officers were able to obtain identification and make a notification to a family member.

June 8, 2019, 2:07 pm, Pondfield Road, CVS: An unknown male shoplifter ran from the store with a basket full of miscellaneous items. The incident is being investigated.

June 9, 2019, 10:51 am, Masterton Road: Bronxville Police assisted the Eastchester Fire Department as it investigated an odor of natural gas emitting from a fireplace. EFD was able to make the fireplace safe and clear the residence for occupancy.

From the Mayor: Public Survey Has Unprecedented Response; See Key Takeaways PDF Print Email


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Jun. 12, 2019:  The village is in the final months of our comprehensive plan process. To recap, the plan is a strategic review of our community’s values, aspirations, and shared vision for the future as well as a village-wide framework to define how Bronxville’s plans, initiatives, and investments fit together. The hope is that it will serve as a consensus document, a blueprint to guide the village as people in leadership change.

Our board of trustees expects it will also serve as a guide for the zoning regulations, planning process, and capital budget--in essence, a “to-do” list for village government.

The process started with a work session attended by the planning and zoning boards members. In many ways, these volunteers are our front line viewing what we do well or not so well as to land use. The work session was followed by stakeholder meetings with many groups, including the Historical Conservancy, Chamber of Commerce, Concordia College, and NYP Lawrence Hospital.

A public survey was formulated and disseminated during the April-to-May window, which was recently followed up with a public hearing and workshop on June 4, 2019.

For those unable to attend the recent public session, I thought it instructive to share some of the major takeaways from the survey. 

This information is also available on the village’s website under the heading Comprehensive Plan. 

As to survey response, it was truly unprecedented. We received 705 responses, representing nearly 30% of the total households in the village, with 41% of the respondents having been village residents for over 20 years. Of those who participated, 74% were in the 46 to 75 age cohort. Most respondents (52%) worked full time, while 23% were retirees.

The following is a synopsis of key takeaways from the survey by category: 

Population and Housing 

At the last count in 2016, our population was 6,395 residents. 

Our population peak was in 1940 at 6,888. 

As to housing, 84% of our homes are owner-occupied, with single-family homes accounting for 41% of the inventory, single-family attached 12%, and multi-family structures compromising 48% of our housing stock. 

Approximately 75% of our land area is single-family home property. 

Residents favored better control of teardowns and major renovations and tightening of controls of home sizes vis-à-vis lot size. 

Residents own, on average, 1.8 cars per household. 

Central Business District 

There was significant support for upgrades on Metro-North/village-owned underpass property. 

Desire for installing new and more LED light fixtures to improve pedestrian safety on the densely traveled streets, in particular, near the train station. 

Support for a small boutique hotel in the downtown. 

Respondents voiced concern for the future and quality in our retail market. 

Top priorities for the business district include improved sidewalks and more downtown parking for residents. 

Meter times were deemed sufficient and there was minimal desire for Sunday meter hours. 

58% of respondents felt central business district traffic is an ever-increasing issue. 

A parking structure was favored by 55% of the survey takers while 25% did not support a structure. The most favored location was in the Kraft Avenue lot on the undulated land near Saint Joseph's Church. 

Occasional closing of Park Place was endorsed by 90% of the respondents, but over 60% said no to a permanent closure. 

54% use the taxi service in the village. 

51% didn’t favor golf cars, scooters, or bikes in the business district as alternatives to cars. 

Municipal and Institutional Assets and Uses 

Bronxville School enrollment has declined since its peak in 2013-14, with the projected decline to continue through 2028, reflective of the demographic trends nationwide. 

Over 82% of respondents support Concordia College’s current development and uses. 

Survey takers were evenly split at 34%/34% on the question of increased growth and services at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, with the other 32% non-committal. 

17% of respondents use the paddle and/or tennis courts, while 86% support all of our parks and recreational facilities becoming smoke-free. 

The village library and its programs were viewed favorably by 86% of the survey takers.

85% of the respondents supported the not-for-profit institutions paying a user fee for services such as police, fire, and infrastructure repairs. 

50% supported more police walking patrols in the downtown. 

63% want the use of LED fixtures expanded beyond the central business district. 

As to big-picture vision and goals, in essence, most respondents wanted the character of the village to remain the same, with some improvements/tweaks around the edges. Respondents were particularly proud of the village’s historical nature and are dedicated to its preservation. 

Pictured here:  Mayor Mary Marvin.

Photo by N. Bower 

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.

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