Parks, Edgemont, NY

Swimming and Tennis will be lost for our community at A.F. Veteran Park. The EIC has budgeted ZERO dollars for replacement. These services are utilized by hundreds of our neighbors, the Edgemont Day Camp, EHS JV Tennis Team and others.

Does not a Government have the responsibility to provide for all of its constituents?

The EIC eliminates important Parks and Recreation services currently offered by Greenburgh, in order to make their projected budget appear feasible. (excludes $2,000.000 in expense) Every member of our community does not choose or cannot afford to join a private country club, or send their children to expensive summer, sleep away and day camps.

The EIC’s Incorporation Feasibility Study/Budget reflects substantial expenditure savings, generated through the removal of services at Anthony F. Veteran Park, $2,000.000. Although the EIC has presented the premise that a new swimming pool facility opening at Sprain Ridge Park is a viable replacement, it is critical to understand that this facility is already available to our community in addition to AFV Park and is not a replacement. In addition, the Sprain Ridge Park facility will be open to all Westchester County residents and therefore cannot offer the intimate, small, community setting which exists at AVP. It is extremely important to understand that the EIC proposal reflects a first year $474,000 overall budget surplus but contains no Parks budget. The inclusion of our current Parks and Rec. services “blows” the EIC budget.

The loss of recreation and park facilities in any community presents a serious quality of life issue. Decreased services, clearly negatively impact home values, decreasing the options and increasing the cost of services/living for our community members. The EIC’s suggestion of a future purchase of land and construction for a new swimming/tennis facility would dramatically increase operating costs beyond the existing projected EIC budget and generate even more long-term capital debt than the EIC currently projects.

Please consider the following:

The EIC is incorrect. Should Edgemont become a separate village, residents would lose far more than the right to use the Anthony F. Veteran Park swimming pool and tennis courts.

According to CHAPTER 891 OF THE LAWS OF 1982 (“THE FINNERAN LAW,”) the option for any village in the Incorporated Town of Greenburgh to choose to fund and thereafter use the park expired on November 1, 1982. Based upon this statute, it would probably require an act of the New York State Legislature to extend that option to Edgemont should it become incorporated as a village.

Presently, 350 Edgemont residents have pool and tennis memberships; 25 tennis only passes are available for residents who live in Greenburgh Incorporated. 581 residents of Edgemont benefiting from Unicard discounts for programs within Greenburgh would lose that discount. Fees for services provided within the Parks and Rec. system would be higher and some services might not be available at all.

The EIC report did not reflect the potential loss of playing fields for the Elmsford Little League, which 221 Edgemont children utilize. In reality, the West Rumbrook Park baseball fields are not federally funded and therefore are open only to residents of the unincorporated area of Greenburgh. Like the AFV Park swimming and tennis areas, the use of the Rumbrook Park fields could be in jeopardy for our little leaguers, as 221 of the 563 members of the Elmsford Little League are Edgemont residents. Should Edgemont become a Village only fewer than 1/3 of the remaining members would reside in the unincorporated Town, rendering the League ineligible to use these ball fields.

A most significant loss would be borne by our children. Edgemont’s Summer Day Camp program for K-5th graders would lose access to the six AFV Park swimming pools, which previously included without additional charge, swim instruction, lifeguards and insurance for as many as 250 youths. The viability of the Edgemont Day Camp would be compromised through the loss of its swimming program. In addition, Edgemont Recreation could also be in jeopardy as the Day Camp is the only profit generating component of Edgemont Rec.

The EIC makes the argument that an existing program from Ardsley is allowed to use the Town pool, rendering our Day Camp’s exclusion, discriminatory. However, the EIC did not properly research their argument, as the program in question is run by Greenburgh, in space contracted through Ardsley Schools. The EIC has also promoted an untrue rumor that places a fictional, looming $10,000.000 capital requirement and presents horrible conditions at AFV Park. They suggest its terrible condition will force the Park to close its doors. In fact, a new liner was placed in the pool a few years ago and funds have been placed in the Greenburgh Capital budget for a “spruce up” of the bath houses. These claims made by the EIC are wholly untrue, presented to render a wonderful park, less appealing and a liability.

In addition, the High School Junior Varsity and Modified Tennis Teams would lose access to the 19 tennis courts, currently available at the Town Park.

The Greenburgh Nature Center in 2018 receives $408,000 in funding and all of its ground and building maintenance, in kind, without fee, from Greenburgh. The Town, which owns the GNC buildings and grounds, provides free rent and also pays for all capital projects through the purchase of bonds. The EIC report proposes an annual grant of $100,000 to the GNC from the Edgemont budget. The GNC’s future could be in jeopardy.

To propose no Parks and Recreation Department budget is wholly unconscionable. A significant number of Edgemont families cannot afford private country clubs and expensive day camps and the Edgemont Day Camp and AFV Park are wonderful options.

Keep in mind, the savings generated by eliminating the Parks and Recreation budget is $2,000.000. Without the removal of Park services, the EIC budget and plan is impossible.

Most villages have their own community pools, senior centers and community activity facilities. The proposed Edgemont Village would not. Should the proponents of a new Village agree that these park services are important to be retained, they certainly have not shown us where in Edgemont they might be located, how much they will cost to build and how their construction and maintenance would be financed. It is inherently wrong to eliminate services enjoyed by Edgemont residents for decades, in order to present a new Village budget which “balances.”