Friday, May 24th

Everything You Wanted to Know About Scarsdale But Didn’t Know Who to Ask

GAOpen3When will the pool complex be renovated? How many cars have been stolen this year? And will we ever have a dog park?

Those were just a few of the topics covered during the discussion at the Greenacres Town Hall meeting, which assembled Scarsdale’s top brass to the elementary school to meet with Greeenacres residents. The annual get-together, sponsored by the Greenacres Neighborhood Association, brought together leaders from the schools, the Village and public safety for honest talk about what is and is not happening in Scarsdale.GAPanelCommunity leaders responded to questions from residents.

Probably the best news for the community is that Greenacres will finally have a new playground to replace the antiquated equipment on the Village-owned portion of the field across the street from the school. GNA President Kristen Zakierski showed the photo above of a colorful complex of climbing equipment and swings that had been selected in a poll of residents. Also surprising was new information from Mayor Justin Arest that the long overdue project, estimated to cost $200,000, would be funded from a grant secured by State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.

Greenacres Principal Sharon Hill was proud to report that the school had been named a “Blue Ribbon School,” and invited everyone to take a look at the prominent sign that now stands outside.

School Board President Ron Schulhof was pleased to report that the board has agreed on the proposed 2024-25 school budget that will be put to a community vote on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The budget includes funding to extend integrated co-teaching for special needs students in seventh grade and will add financial literacy and advanced calculus courses at the high school. Included in the facilities budget are funds to dredge the stream that runs through the high school parking lot and floods during big rain events. As the budget increase does exceed the state imposed tax cap, the budget will need to pass with a 60% vote and he encouraged everyone to vote yes.

Superintendent Drew Patrick, in his second year on the job, updated the ongoing work around belonging. You may recall a survey last winter about developmental relationships and equitable practices. Next steps have been formulated and the survey results will be shared at the May 13 meeting. Patrick also discussed technology in the classroom, sharing that the district has a three-year technology plan whose top priority is digital use and wellness. He said media and information competency – and mindfulness – are top of mind as school leaders contemplate computational thinking and the impacts of computer use. Parents also asked about district-wide support of the Wait Until 8th smartphone pledge, and Patrick said there would be more to say about that in the coming weeks.

KristenGreenacres Neighborhood Association Presdient Kristen ZakierskiJeff Coleman, Superintendent of the Department of Public Works, made clear that flooding in the Village is a top priority, as is the ongoing work with Con Edison throughout the neighborhood. He assured residents that roads will start to be resurfaced soon.

A recurring theme throughout many of the presentations was communication and the vast array of methods for residents to stay connected to Village news and information. Mayor Justin Arest urged residents to sign up for emergency alerts through Everbridge. Acting Village Manager Alexandra Marshall promoted the Village newsletter as a way to stay informed about crucial deadlines.

Mayor Arest acknowledged that the 2024-25 Village budget exceeds the tax cap due to mandated costs, and that the deferral of projects over many years has negatively impacted infrastructure. He said there are plans to repair or replace fields, tennis courts and playgrounds. He also noted the work session on the land use moratorium on May 14, and made clear the moratorium will expire at the end of the six months as intended. Additionally, he shared that the Village is working with State Assemblywoman Paulin as it continues its tax investigation.

About the renovations to the pool complex, Mayor Arest said work is underway, and that the Village has onboarded a construction manager. The pool will open Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and will operate as usual. Arest said the pool would operate as usual in 2025 as well and would not be renovated until after the 2025 season. Asked about the potential of a Scarsdale dog park, Arest said the Village would continue to look for a suitable location.

Acting Village Manager Marshall cited significant drainage improvements to Supply Field 2 and a joint field study with the schools, the findings of which will be shared on May 23. Trustee Jeremy Gans underscored that the fields are a top priority. Marshall also shared that the Scarsdale Farmers’ Market will return on May 12, run by Down to Earth Markets, and that the Village will kick off a partnership with Westchester County for Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway.

Police Chief Andy Matturro provided crime statistics for Scarsdale. There have been four burglaries this year across the Village, compared to nine in 2023. There continues to be a regional increase in car thefts, but there is a downward trend, with three stolen cars in Scarsdale this year compared to seven last year. None were in Greenacres. The police department continues to do daily walkthroughs of elementary and nursery schools and participate in active shooter training.

Fire Chief Christopher Mytych reminded residents that there are always nine firefighters on duty for whatever residents need, big or small.

Matt Chesler of the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps reminded residents that trained staff are available 24/7 to respond to emergencies and provide vaccines.

There are several free programs available to residents through police and fire:

RU Okay program, where senior citizens can register with police to receive an automated call each morning. If there’s no response, an officer will come by and check.
Dark House program, where residents can alert police if they’ll be away for a week or longer. Police will watch the home and look for any issues.
Knoxbox.com provides home lock boxes to residents who would like the fire department to have access to enter their home in the event of an issue. This allows rapid access to the home, even when the residents are away.

(Written by Lauren Easton)

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