From the Mayor: Visit the Four Corners Print

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville


Sep. 27, 2017:  As I wrote last week, the village was abuzz with expansion in virtually every neighborhood, be it paving, striping, sewer cleaning, drainage projects, or building renovation.

Perhaps even more important, long-term, two of our village institutions took on the expansion of mind and body.

Our beautiful library, built in 1942 as a library replicating a residential Georgian home, is now the home of so much more than a repository of book exchange. The Bronxville Public Library Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Bronxville Public Library have taken to heart the words of the first library board president, Ernest Quantrell, who had the vision almost 70 years ago to declare that "a library should not only be a storehouse for books and a shelter for readers but also an influence on the community. We hope the library will stimulate not only an interest in books and architecture but also in art and other cultural fields."

The activities organized inside its doors this summer are a testament to the commitment to culture and enrichment of every variety and for every age group.

If you stopped by the library in July, you might have seen the 250-plus children participating in the Bronxville Summer Reading Game, and the expansive lawn was home to a petting zoo, concerts, and a science show attracting 150-plus participants.

As a member of the Westchester Library System, our library can access virtually any book in any form from around the county for our patrons. The library also offers computer lessons, Kindle lending, free museum passes, and even daily printouts of the New York Times crossword puzzle.

The fall schedule promises to be as ambitious as previous program offerings.

In the recent past, the library has been home to the acclaimed toddler and infant program encompassing story reading, songs, puppetry, and crafts. Elementary school children from The Chapel School, St. Joseph School, and The Bronxville School walk over for 3:30 PM enrichment activities, and adult programs take place virtually every hour. Here's just a sampling of activities: Lectures on estate planning, elder law, and asset protection; tai chi and chair yoga; painting and ornament-making; cooking demonstrations; musical revues; and historical lectures. 

So please come and sample what is truly a library of the future and spread the word. As Lady Bird Johnson said, "Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest."

Only steps away from the library's front door is the village's newest expansion, the Giving Garden. The brainchild of the Bronxville Green Committee, led by Mary Liz Mulligan and master gardener/resident/broadway musician Dave Phillips, the garden has to date donated over 200 pounds of fresh vegetables to a soup kitchen in Mount Vernon, and harvesting continues on a twice weekly basis.

The impetus for the garden was the knowledge of the state of health in Westchester County, one of the wealthiest in the nation. One in five residents cannot count on daily food, and the rates of diabetes and obesity are skyrocketing.

Our food banks are doing their best, but by definition, their food must have a long shelf life--hence, salt-laden canned goods and no organic vegetables.

The garden not only helps our neighbors in need and supports the concept of local agriculture, it has become a catalyst for community giving, interaction, and learning. Our garden has been visited by dozens of other communities as they aim to replicate our model.

Now a gathering place for families to learn about agriculture, we hope to involve our schools going forward.  Just this morning, I looked out to see students from the Eliza Corwin Frost preschool program planting with Farmer Dave.

The garden operates solely on the generosity of volunteers and funding from local citizens. Our own Bronxville Rotary gave the leadership gift that truly made it all possible.

Thanks to another generous resident, professional web designer Nicki Piercy, the garden has a state-of-the-art website where anyone can sign up for planting, harvesting, or weeding for as little as one hour weekly. For those of us who live in apartments, the work is truly cathartic. If digging in the dirt is not your preference, donations can be made via PO Box 404.

All of the above activities are simply not possible without the extra efforts of the Bronxville Department of Public Works, the Bronxville Police Department and the office administration and staff. Though bare bones in numbers, their dedication to the village is inspiring. 

So please, take a moment and visit the Four Corners. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!