Monday, Mar 25th

Last updateMon, 25 Mar 2019 12pm

You are here: Home Arts & Entertainment Hyatt Park Sound-Off: The Unintended Consequences of a Park Makeover

Hyatt Park Sound-Off: The Unintended Consequences of a Park Makeover

hyattplayground(Updated October 20)  Residents of the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association and Crane-Berkeley, the Village Engineer, the Superintendent of Parks, Village Trustees, Friends of the Scarsdale Parks and others gathered on Wednesday night at Village Hall to discuss mitigating traffic and parking issues at Hyatt Park on Grand Boulevard in Scarsdale. Hyatt Park also made the news recently because of its status as a public park with key fob-access bathrooms available only to Scarsdale residents

Village Engineer Frank Balbi opened the meeting by showing attendees a map of Hyatt Park to highlight the issues with parking and traffic and the impact on residents in the area. The recent renovation of Hyatt Park has made it very popular for softball and baseball tournaments as well as daily recreational use. He stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the village's proposal, solicit feedback from attendees and clear up any misunderstanding. There is currently no funding nor a solidified plan to build a parking lot at Hyatt Park.

Linda Inouye who lives at the very end of Potter Road remarked, "I've had to call the police because there have been many times, particularly on Saturdays when tournaments are ongoing, one after another after another, that I have not been able to get in or out of my driveway." There is also justified cause for concern about emergency vehicles having access.

Mr. Balbi discussed immediate ways to alleviate some of the parking issues:
• East side of Potter Road will have restricted parking
• Striping of spots on Potter Road
• Adding of three handicapped spots on Potter Road
• Kick out Grand Boulevard 60 feet to add an additional three spots
• Keep 13 spots on west side of Potter Road
• Parking at the Scarsdale Historical Society next to the park (adds 13 parking spaces)

Altogether, 20 spots would be lost on Potter Road with the restricted parking. But the addition of three spots on Grand Boulevard would mean a total of 17 parking spots would be lost. Therefore, the village is proposing a 22-foot wide asphalt aisle way (for two-way traffic) with 27 gravel parking spots and an asphalt turnaround on the west side of Hyatt Park. There would be 10-foot fencing and additional netting to protect the cars parked in the lot from baseballs.

Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks, said that the park is a public park and available for all to use. He added that many Scarsdale residents from other parts of Scarsdale also use the park but are not within walking distance of the park so they drive and need a place to leave their cars. "If you have two games going on at the same time, there's the potential for 40+ cars to need parking spots."

Kaye Eisenmann from Friends of the Scarsdale Parks, reported that the organization disagrees with the building of the parking lot and they recommend that all of Hyatt Field Park be protected and preserved in perpetuity. She asked whether Hyatt Park is designated as parkland and the panel did not know the answer to this.

A Brambach Road resident questioned the map saying it's not updated and it's deceiving. He stated that the map shows more green space than actually exists. He moved from the city to the suburbs for additional green space almost 40 years ago. He also said that the trees were being cut near that area today. Mr. Balbi responded that the map is to scale and accurate.

Another Scarsdale resident asked, "Fundamentally this is a neighborhood park, so why should we be encouraging anyone to drive there?" As Brian Gray stated, however, the parks in Scarsdale are public and open to all Scarsdale residents as well as neighboring residents. If you live in Fox Meadow, you are not limited to the Fox Meadow playgrounds.

Darlene LeFrancois-Haber, representing the Edgewood Sustainability Committee, agreed with the position of the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks saying, "...the conceptual plan should be scrapped. The park is on wetlands and frankly it is irresponsible. There are many trees susceptible to damage because of this." She later brought up the idea of shuttles from established lots to sports events at the park.

Craig Hobbs lives on Boulevard opposite Hyatt Field. He read his and his neighbors' objections to the parking lot in a statement and also had a petition with 30 signatures. He also wanted to reach out to people in other areas of Scarsdale to see if people who have to drive to Hyatt Field Park agree with opposing the parking lot construction. The key points of their objections are loss of public field space, limited seasonal usage (during warmer months), increased transiency and loitering, pedestrian child safety issues, increased sporting events, and use of Scarsdale taxpayer money for maintenance of the park that is now often used by non-Scarsdale residents (e.g. Eastchester residents).

Liz Margolin, a resident across the street from the Park on Potter Road, objects to the increase in softball tournaments at the park, particularly when neither team is from Scarsdale. She read a statement from the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association in opposition to the parking lot. The statement is shown below. "The majority of people at our meeting were strongly opposed to the constructing of 27 parking spots. They feel the loss of green space outweighs any potential benefit and are also concerned that the lot would encourage use of the lot by non-Scarsdale residents including transients and loiterers." Brian Gray responded that Scarsdale is paid whenever visiting teams use the field and said he would reach out to Scarsdale softball to discuss the timing of games as well as limitations on tournaments.

Another meeting attendee noted, "Parking right at the park is unnecessary. Parents can drop their kids off from the game and go park elsewhere. Furthermore, the Crane-Berkley neighborhood also has parking and maps distributed to parents of athletes should reflect this." Mr. Balbi assured the panel and audience that if people started parking in Crane-Berkeley, those residents would be at the next meeting asking for additional street parking restrictions.

Village Trustee Matt Callaghan encouraged all those with a strong point of view to, "...come to village board meetings, write letters, ask us what we think during the meeting. I think what we're seeing is the unintended consequences of a nice field and park."

A resident of 146 Grand Boulevard who lives across the street from the park and field said, "This was a foreseeable consequence," he said. "The playground renovation and the scheduling of more tournaments...we like to pull our car in to where we are going but that's not always realistic." Another local resident said, "The Historical Society house and land is going on the market so those additional 13 parking spots will be lost soon." Brian Gray acknowledged that the Village is aware of this.

A resident of Lee Road added, "Hyatt Field Park was a sleepy park. Now, with the renovation, it's a beautiful and fun park and it's on all the social media sites. So people are coming from all over to use the park. Why couldn't it have been updated without the zipline and bathrooms? We have supersized our park. Not to mention that Scarsdale has made it onto national news because of the $5 key fob access for residents of the village."

Becca, also of Lee Road, commented how Davis Park used to be "all the hype" in Scarsdale. "But then after a year of two, the traffic to the park decreased. Also, Davis is known as a park for 'little kids' and Hyatt Park has become known as a park for kids of all ages. Even teenagers want to uses the park."

Lena Crandall from Fox Meadow suggested a creative alternative to reduce traffic at Hyatt Field Park. "Let's improve all of the other playground and make them just as great. That way people will end up using all of the playgrounds more and not just Hyatt."

Where do things go from here? PRC (Parks, Recreation, and Conservation) will send their recommendation to the Superintendent of Parks (Brian Gray) who will then send his recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees.

(Original Article posted Monday October 17, 2016)

The Friends of the Scarsdale Parks has issued a report opposing the paving of parking spots at Hyatt Field Park to accommodate increased usage at the park which has recently been improved and now has a state of the art playground and restrooms.

Because the new park has attracted more usage, people are parking their cars on both sides of Potter Road, which is adjacent to the park, making it difficult to turn around or pass. On the opposite side of the park there is gravel road or utility path that leads to a rear driveway for one resident. The Village proposed paving this passage, widening it and including 27 parking spots to alleviate the crowding on Potter Road. In addition, since the gravel road is adjacent to a large baseball diamond, the Village would also need to construct safety netting or fencing to protect the parked cars from being hit by balls from the diamond.hyattrestrooms

However, the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks objects for many reasons, primarily because the parking spaces would consume scarce open space that is used for recreation, picnics and play. They contend the park is a sensitive wetland and they object to the use of public funds to solve a parking problem. They argue that "neighborhood harmony over the unintended consequences of Hyatt Field's popularity should be not be achieved at the expense of the parkland itself."

Mayor Jon Mark addressed the issue in his remarks at the Village Board meeting on October 13. He explained that the Village staff had been speaking to people who live next to the park and have been unable to get in and out of their driveways at times when they were blocked by cars belonging to people who were using the park. He explained that in response to these complaints the Parks and Recreation Department was looking into creating parking on the gravel drive.

However, he assured everyone that nothing had been decided as yet and the matter would be discussed at a public meeting of the Parks and Recreation Council on Wednesday night October 19 at 7:30pm at Village Hall.

Statement by the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association on the Parking Situation and Rest Stations at Hyatt Field Park

On Monday, October 17, members of the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association heard from Parks Superintendent Brian Gray on various proposals for alleviating automobile parking congestion caused by visitors to Hyatt Field Park which, at times, has reached a volume that is neither safe nor sustainable on Potter Rd and Lee Rd. After a discussion, the participants of the meeting would like to share our feedback both on the underlying situation and proposed solution.

It is our analysis that the main driver of congestion above and beyond what our neighbors are used to is the usage of the park for tournaments, particularly softball, but potentially including baseball and basketball in the future, and that the problem is at its peak when softball tournaments at Hyatt Field have no Scarsdale teams participating in the games, requiring nearly all participants and spectators to drive. We believe reducing the total number of tournaments, and minimizing if not eliminating any tournaments in which Scarsdale teams are not participating, as was stated policy in the past, will have a major impact.

We enthusiastically agree with eliminating parking on the east side of Potter Road to ensure access to emergency vehicles and reduce inconvenience to residents, and urge that the promised signage promulgating this be installed as soon as possible.

We also enthusiastically support an arrangement between the Village and the Scarsdale Historical Society on usage of the 13-spot parking lot by park visitors, particularly during peak usage periods, and encourage discussion with Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and School on the use of their parking lot during peak times.

Once these steps have been taken, we welcome further community dialogue and good ideas to determine how many additional spots may still be needed, and other options for achieving them.

Although it was not the unanimous sense of the room to be opposed to the concept of a 27-spot parking lot in what is now left field, a strong supermajority of attendees were strongly opposed. They feel the loss of public and green space outweighs any potential benefits, and are also concerned that the lot would encourage non-Scarsdale usage of the park, potentially exacerbating the problem, would have an impact on child and pedestrian safety, particularly for those residents entering the park from the stairs on the west side, and would encourage transiency and loitering, particularly at night.

A minority of attendees were not opposed to the lot in concept, but were also open to other solutions that wouldn't involve a loss of green space, so long as the frustrating traffic and parking issues were improved.

Additionally, at our meeting we discussed whether the current system of round-the-clock key fob access to the comfort stations at Hyatt Field Park was appropriate or if some other arrangement should be put into place (e.g., open to all for some hours during the day, but fob- only access the rest of the time.) It was the unanimous sense of the room that key fob access was appropriate to protect the investment of building the rest stations. However, we believe that the process by which visiting coaches of softball and baseball teams obtain a key fob to access the rest stations needs to be reviewed and improved as, by experience, some of those coaches are not receiving the fobs in advance from their appropriate contact with the Village or the appropriate athletic association.

Finally, the residents of the Boulevard continue to be concerned about safety in crossing the street for pedestrian families looking to use the park and would welcome further dialogue on options like crosswalks, stop signs, and speed bumps.

For more information, please contact Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association President Angela Olcese at or neighborhood volunteer Tim Foley at

What do you think? Please add your comments in the section below:


Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace