Major Repairs at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Gain Approvals from Westchester Legislators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2013

Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-815-4462 (cell)

Major Repairs at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Gain Approvals from Westchester Legislators

White Plains, NY – More than $8 million in major repairs for the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, which is located in the towns of Pound Ridge and Lewisboro, were advanced today by the Westchester County Board of Legislators, to ensure that the park’s facilities will be able to safely accommodate patrons and visitors in the future.

A unanimous approval of two amended bond acts to fund the repairs came today during a meeting of the BOL’s Budget & Appropriations Committee and followed a similar approval last week from the BOL’s Government Operations Committee. Both committees heard from the County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation that the entrance roadways, parking areas, pathways and watercourse drainage channels are in poor condition, and that various buildings have deteriorated over the years, necessitating restoration of the lean-to shelters, maintenance garage, visitors’ center, Michigan Road barn, park office building and maple sugaring house.

“Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is one of Westchester’s most popular and cherished parks because of its natural wonders, hiking trails and camping facilities,” said BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah), whose legislative district encompasses the park. “As part of the County’s five-year plan to restore its park facilities, this work is needed before further deterioration occurs, and I’m pleased my colleagues on the Board have recognized this.”

Final approvals for the two amended bond acts to effectuate the work at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation (one bond for $4,075,000 of road and drainage projects, the other bond for $4,250,000 of building repairs and improvements) are expected at tonight’s regular BOL meeting. Both bonds include $300,000 and $450,000, respectively, of previously authorized bonds that began design work for the projects.

“Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is one of Westchester’s most popular and cherished parks because of its natural wonders, hiking trails and camping facilities,” said BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah). “As part of the County’s five-year plan to restore its park facilities, this work is needed before further deterioration occurs, and I’m pleased my colleagues on the Board have recognized this.”

Included in the road and drainage projects will be repaving of the existing asphalt roads and parking areas, replacement of gravel for other roads, plus restoration of culverts and swales for stormwater management. The building improvements will be comprised of extensive interior and exterior repairs and rehabilitations.

“Dollar for dollar, the County’s infrastructure investments always prevent greater spending down the road, and so approving the funding for these repairs and getting them underway now makes good sense and will be appreciated by the many devotees of this wonderful park,” said Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont), chair of the BOL’s Budget & Appropriations Committee.

Since the project lies within the Croton watershed, which is a part of the New York City drinking water supply, improvements at the park will require the approval of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

“Maintaining our parks and recreation facilities keeps them attractive for visitors and underscores the County’s commitment to protect our natural resources and provide many different types of recreational opportunities,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), chair of the BOL’s Government Operations Committee. “Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is unique in that it features some of the most untouched natural space in the county. Improvements to the park’s roads and facilities will make it a more welcoming attraction.”

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=Bazzo 01/29/13

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