North Castle Residents:
Many of us came to North Castle because of its natural beauty and wonderful recreational opportunities. Together with our excellent schools, top-notch, well maintained recreational facilities and open space are key drivers in enhancing our quality of life and increasing our property values. But in order to provide these critical benefits, they need to be constantly nurtured and maintained.
As an avid outdoorsman, conservationist and former chairman of the North Castle Open Space Committee, I am extremely pleased to announce the far-reaching improvements we have made to our parks, recreation facilities and programs which were presented at the September 25th Town Board meeting. Importantly, we have accomplished these improvements without any new borrowing or tax increases. In fact we have doubled the budget for park and recreation improvements by finding cost savings and revenues from a variety of areas. Here is the exciting list of advancements:
Sports Field Management Program
We reinstituted a regular and systematic turf management program which will help keep our fields in much better condition for our parent coaches and kids to play on.
Playing Field Expansion
I am aware that our town does not have enough fields for all of our wonderful sports. The cost of turf fields is prohibitive. Recently I identified two neglected, Town-owned land parcels suitable for this purpose. We are currently evaluating the costs, and we should be able to create new athletic fields without any tax increase.
Winkler Park Renovation
Winkler Park was deeded to North Castle over 25 years ago. Since that time. little or no improvements had been made. It was time for a serious refresh. We cleared overgrowth, resurfaced the tennis and basketball courts, refurbished the parking lot, entrance sign and gazebo. We also repaired the play structure making it safety compliant. We even added a fishing dock courtesy of an aspiring Eagle Scout in town. Winkler Park is now reopened and residents in that neighborhood have a lovely spot to bring their families. The pond is chock full of fish so bring your kids because it should be a gratifying first fishing experience! Please practice catch and release so all our families can enjoy the action.
Community Park at IBM
We successfully re-negotiated the operating license with Armonk Indoor Sports Center to include a $1,000,000 fee increase over the life of the contract, along with an agreement to renovate the existing parking lot. We hope to use this windfall money to renovate the building at Community Park. When renovated we will use it for the Art Show and our Town camps.
Increased 2013 camp enrollment from improved marketing efforts resulted in our highest profit in the last 8 years. Beyond providing our kids with a great summer camp experience, we were able to hire 9 more local teens and college students than in 2012…a terrific summer job opportunity for our young residents. Watch for online registration for summer 2014!
Wampus Park South
Using federal FEMA funds from Hurricane Sandy, we cleared the swath of land near the entrance to town on Maple Ave. We recently put out to bid the work to transform the rest of the park to a lawn and event space. The work includes clearing the remaining trees and brush, building a rip-rap wall alongside the brook, and planting ornamental trees and wild flowers along the bank. Soon, it will be another lovely park for residents to enjoy.
Paddle Tennis Courts at Community Park
The renovation of these courts was approved at the last Town Board meeting. Once the courts have been renovated, I plan on having an opening paddle clinic. We will be inviting local teaching pros and nationally ranked players. I will keep you informed of the date.
Phase I is underway for a multi-phase, much-requested bike path which will stretch the entire length of North Castle. Recreation subdivision and other fees are expected to be used to complete this exciting project which will benefit residents of all ages!
I would like to thank Recreation Supervisor Matt Trainor, Don Brandes and all the Rec Department staff for their great work. Special thanks to Town Councilman John Cronin who worked closely with the Rec department and Board members Joseph DiMauro (Chairman), Susan Lichten, Anthony Milone, Dan Zenkel, George Alvarez, Frank Benish, Vito Errico and new volunteer Pat McCarthy to make our goals a reality.
It is important to me to give North Castle residents the quality of life you moved here for: wonderful parks, better services and a community we can all be proud of. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.