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It’s finally settled -- Ridgeway Golf Club will now be home to the French American School – ending the property’s long history as a golf club. The French American school reached a deal to purchase the club for $11 million earlier this month, and plans to consolidate their 852 students onto one campus. Currently they run a preschool in Scarsdale, a lower school in Larchmont and an upper school in Mamaroneck.

It is difficult to imagine the grand clubhouse with its gracious dining room and marble locker rooms as a school. Beyond the indoor facility there’s an Olympic-sized outdoor pool, ten tennis courts and the 18-hole golf course. The club was the site of many happy occasions – including bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, delicious Sunday brunches and charity fundraisers. The dining room windows looked out over the bucolic golf course and dining there you could easily forget you were minutes from downtown White Plains.

The city of White Plains had considered purchasing the 128-acre property and creating a semi-private recreational facility but the school stepped in with their offer before White Plains could reach a decision. According to a statement from the school, they will no longer maintain a golf course on the property, but much of the land will remain as open space.

The club began in 1912 as the Gedney Farm Hotel that included tennis facilities, a swimming pool, bowling, squash courts, stables, a polo field, ice skating rink, and a kennel for pets of guests. A picture of the original pool from a penny postcard is included here. Howard Willets, who owned racehorses, stabled them in a barn that is now the men's locker room. Also shown here is a lease for the property for the creation of the Gedney Farm Golf Club in 1922. On September 20, 1924 a fire destroyed the original hotel and Eddie Cantor, a guest at the time, witnessed the 9-hour blaze.

The golf course remained as part of the Gedney Farm Golf Course until 1952 when it was purchased by a group of individuals from Harry Lewis and renamed the Ridgeway Country Club.

Though it thrived for decades, the club fell on hard times in 2009, losing 25% if it’s membership. Facing a deficit of $1 million on a $4 million budget, they originally sought to sell the club for $20 million and to keep it open for another five years. They also reduced the initiation fees hoping to attract enough new members to stay afloat. However existing members left for other clubs, and though some new members signed on, there were not enough members to meet expenses.

In December 2010, the club was sold for half of the original asking price. Sadly, this beautiful expanse in the heart of White Plains will now be used for education, rather than recreation. Share your memories of Ridgeway below:

parkbenchThe Land Use Committee of the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday December 8 to continue the discussion on the establishment of an Open Space Fund to allow the Village to purchase selected properties and safeguard them from development. The meeting began with a presentation from Village staff, which addressed the creation of a fund. Upon completion of the presentation, the trustees had a discussion and then opened the floor to the public to voice their comments.

Here are a few of the highlights of the presentation, titled “Community Preservation Fund and Real Estate Transfer Tax Report,”

• In order to establish a Community Preservation Fund, an Open Space Advisory Board and impose a Real Estate Transfer Tax to fund it, the Board of Trustees would need to adopt a resolution and hold a mandatory referendum.

The Community Preservation Fund would be used to preserve community character by acquiring an interest in real property, establish a bank of development rights and for management and stewardship of the program.

An Advisory Board would be established to review and make recommendations on proposed acquisitions. The Board would consist of five to seven members with experience in conservation and land preservation, who are not already serving on another town board.

A Community Preservation Project Plan would be required to list every parcel under consideration for acquisition with a detailed evaluation of available land use alternatives, and prioritization for preservation. This plan could be amended at any time in the 60-day period before the referendum and would need to be updated once every five years.

Selection criteria for properties to be preserved include ecological importance, protection from flooding or use as a water resource, distinctive character, park or recreational value, important landscapes, capacity for public use and enjoyment, preservation of native biological diversity, passive use and preservation of culture.

• The current list of parcels for consideration include: Scarsdale’s Woman’s Club, the Church on Murray Hill and Post Roads, Fenway Golf Club, Ramsey Farm, Boulder Brook, Parlato Property, Quaker Ridge Golf Course, and the gas station on the corner of Post and Popham Roads.

• A Real Estate Transfer Tax of up to 2% of the amount above the median sale price of a Scarsdale home would be imposed and paid by the purchasers of homes in Scarsdale.

• The timeline for the establishment of an Open Space Fund includes committee meetings on draft proposals, public hearings, and adoption of the local law and plan by a vote. Pending approval, there would be a village wide referendum.

In the discussion many of the trustees, pointed out issues with the plan, and concurred that this project might not received the necessary public support. Trustee Flisser expanded upon this concern by acknowledging that the public may turn the proposed plan down, taking away time and energy that could have gone towards a more viable project.

Lynne Clark, a Scarsdale resident, real estate broker and member of the Conservation and Advisory Council, said that though she liked the idea of the preservation fund, she would not support the Real Estate Transfer Tax.

Commenting on the fund and the meeting Clark said, “As a member of the Conservation Advisory Council, I am an advocate for the preservation of open space. However, I am not in favor of taxing buyers to build up a fund to do so. If in the future our Village Trustees feel this is a top priority, the expense should be shared by all the residents of the Village. It seems to me that a few new residents to our community should not have to bear the brunt of raising funds for the enjoyment of the many who already live here. It is not fair, in my opinion. In principle, as an experienced real estate broker at Houlihan Lawrence, I felt also that in this economy and with our housing market slowly easing out of a decline, it was not an appropriate time to put an additional transfer tax burden on Scarsdale buyers. Buyers today are looking for the best value and are searching everywhere. Our prices and taxes are already among the highest in the County and State. To maintain a stable real estate market here, we need to remain competitive with other fine Westchester communities who do not have such a tax. I think our hard working Trustees have made the right decision for this time and place."

The Board decided to postpone the issue for later discussion and to consider doing a survey of residents to assess support for an Open Space Fund. The Board concluded that they needed to get a feel for community sentiment before moving forward. Read the report in its entirety on the Village website.

Kids’ B.A.S.E: In other news from Village Hall, the Village Law Committee met with representatives of Kids’ B.A.S.E. of Scarsdale on Wednesday December 7th to discuss plans to build extra classrooms in the interior courtyard and as well as a playground on the perimeter of their site facing Saxon Woods.

The extra classrooms would allow the school to create a proper library and a resource/discovery center. It was made clear that these plans, specifically the playground, would in no way infringe on the Saxon Woods property and that the new facilities will provide a safe environment for the children. Trustee Toder asked the attendees if there were any downsides to the plan and no objections or comments to his question were voiced. Since the Board of Trustees determined that their interests are protected by the plan, the committee unanimously decided to support the building improvements.

paulin2stcThe Scarsdale Teen Center (STC) hosted the Tenth Annual Visions of Community Awards at Scarsdale High School on December 5th, honoring New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin for her dedication and service to the Scarsdale community. The re-elected Assemblywoman described the event as “exciting” and said that she felt “honored” to be given this award. Ms. Paulin also said that since her oldest daughter was on the original STC teen board, she has a special connection with the Center due to her involvement in helping the teen center grow and become the establishment it is today.

Speaking for the STC Adult Board, President Margarita Meyer said “We are thrilled that Assemblywoman Paulin has agreed to be the recipient of our tenth annual Visions of Community Award. Paulin epitomizes lifelong commitment to community service especially with regard to our youth and their families.”

During the ceremony, Ms. Paulin’s husband, Ira Schuman and a close friend, Barbara Jaffe described Amy as an amazing person, sincerely dedicated to a variety of programs and events in Scarsdale and Westchester. Kendra Charisse Porter, the new executive director of the Scarsdale Teen Center also spoke, saying, “it is important to honor those people who have supported the Teen Center … it’s extremely vital that you have the community involvement, and Visions of Community is just that.”

The Scarsdale Teen Center is in its eleventh year of operation.paulinstc

Scarsdale Teen Center
862 Scarsdale Avenue
914-722-8358
www.scarsdaleteencenter.com

This article was written by Elliot Liskin -- a junior at Scarsdale High School and a member of the Scarsdale Teen Center board.

Photo Captions and Credits:

(Top) Sam Gonzalez, Co-President Teen Board, Kendra Charisse Porter, Executive Director, Scarsdale Teen Center, Ira Schuman, husband of Amy Paulin, and New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin

(Right) New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin

Photo credits: Carl Desir

 

 

handsWithin the last few weeks, Scarsdale has experienced a number of deaths under tragic circumstances. Times like these raise difficult questions with no easy answers. In response, the community is planning a number of town meetings to be held on Wednesday, December 15th at:

1:00 pm - Scarsdale Women’s Club, 37 Drake Road

7:00 pm - Girl Scout House, 31 Wayside Lane

8:30 pm -Wayside Cottage, 1039 Post Rd.

Scarsdale mental health professionals, clergy and civic leaders will provide leadership and facilitate discussion. The meetings will focus on ways we can support each other and the community. In addition, resources and information on suicide, including a discussion about how to talk to children of all ages, will be presented.

To attend, please RSVP by CLICKING HERE or by calling Scarsdale Family Counseling Service at 723-3281.

 

 

owl.jpgWho’s Home? A Brite Avenue resident called police on the afternoon of 11/29 to report that a large bird was flying around inside her house. Police arrived and found a big owl in the living room. They opened the front door and were able to force the owl to fly out.

Inappropriate Conduct: The father of a 15 year-old girl returned to his house at 1:30 pm on the afternoon of 12/1 and found that his daughter was engaged in inappropriate conduct with a 19 year-old Raymond Ortiz of Yonkers. The girl had failed to go to school. Ortiz was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child and released to his parents on $250 pail, pending a court date.

A 30 year-old woman reported an unsettling incident that occurred at 4:44 am on December 5th. The woman was walking toward her car that was parked on Depot Place when she saw a black sedan drive around the circle toward her. The car drove past her and then stopped. The woman got into her car and as she was backing out of the parking space, a man got out of the car and walked toward her. He rolled up a magazine or newspaper that was in his hand, stuck his hand in his pants and made sexually explicit expressions with his mouth and tongue. The woman drove away and could see the man standing in the street behind her. She described the suspect as a white male in his fifties wearing an insulated winter hat with earflaps. She had never seen him before.

Arrested: A Crawford Lane woman charged her 25 year-old daughter with driving the mother’s 2010 Honda Civic without permission on the evening of December 1. The daughter, Alexandra Lascher did not have the authority to use the car. Her mother was in White Plains hospital at the time and asked police to take charge. Lascher reappeared with the car on 12/2 and was arrested for unauthorized use of a car. On December 4, when Mrs. Lascher was released from the hospital she asked police to help her move her daughter out of the house.

Accidents: At 1 pm on 12/3 Alfreda Bendet, age 87 of Mohegan Road in Larchmont was driving with her adult daughter in the car. Bendet was turning from Grand Park onto Griffen Road when she lost consciousness. Her daughter quickly shut off the car and took her mother’s foot off the accelerator. The car rolled backwards into a stone wall at 2 Grand Park Avenue. Ms. Bendet was transported to the hospital and her condition is unknown.

An 81 year-old Crawford Lane driver rear-ended another car on Mamaroneck Road on the morning of 11/29, causing the second car to end up on the grass. A witness saw the elderly driver strike a curb, hit the second car and then go up and over another curb. When questioned by police, the 81 year-old man had no recollection of the accident. Police have asked the DMV to review the driver’s capabilities.

A passing car grazed a Garth Road man, who was crossing the street on the night of 11/29. The man’s hand was cut and the car did not stop.

A Lockwood Road man was driving on the Post Road near Sprague Road on the night of 12/1when he hit a big pothole. A tire and rim of the wheel were damaged and an airbag was deployed. A utility company had recently dug up the road.

Asleep at the wheel: A tired deliveryman was found asleep at the wheel of his 2001 Nissan Pathfinder at the intersection of Mamaroneck Road and Post Road at 3:56 am on 12/1. Police woke him up and the driver explained that he was making deliveries to nursing homes in the area and fell asleep while stopped at the traffic light.

Death: Lloyd Marmon, age 78 of 40 Fenimore Road passed away overnight 11/30-12/1. His son Judd found him on the morning of 12/1 when he arrived to take his father to a doctor’s appointment. Mr. Marmon had been ill.

Disputes: A Mamaroneck Road man called police to complain that he was being harassed about a payment from Adam Levine of Hardwood Flooring, Inc., who had sold the Scarsdale man wood flooring. Police intervened and Levine agreed to deal directly with American Express and refrain from bothering the customer in Scarsdale.

A contractor and an architect, both hired to work on a Heathcote Road home, were feuding over the job schedule on 12/1. The architect threatened to “kill” the contractor, pushed him in the chest and left the meeting abruptly. The architect reported a different story and charged the contractor with being extremely argumentative and raising his fist at the engineer. The architect agreed to refrain from any future contact with the contractor.

Found: Forged $50 bills were found printed on sheets of paper on the sidewalk of Popham Road near Lockwood Road on 11/29. The forged bills included serial numbers. Police turned over the forged bills to an agent of the U.S. Secret Service.

A cosmetics bag containing keys, credit cards and a license was found on Boniface Circle on the afternoon of 12/2. Police tried to contact the Yonkers woman who owns the bag but were unable to reach her.

Thefts: A Sprague Road man reported that his Dahon collapsible bike, valued at $600 had been stolen from a bike rack on East Parkway where he locked it on the morning November 22. When he returned in the evening, the bike and the lock were gone.

A Southwoods Lane man reported that someone had accessed his Yahoo email account and sent emails to all of his contacts asking them to send money. The hacker then erased all of the man’s email addresses and changed the reply email. The incident occurred between 12/2 and 12/4.

Locked in: A six year-old Gaylor Road girl locked herself into the bathroom at five pm on 12/3. The child was able to unlock the door herself to get out.

Wind Damage: During the windstorm on the afternoon of 12/1, trees and wires were down around town:

  • Two large trees fell in the road way and blocked traffic. One tree was at the corner of Foxhall and Palmer and the other fell down across Black Birch Lane.
  • There was a transformer fire at the intersection of Burgess and Post Roads that inactivated the traffic light. Police closed Post Road and called the Fire Department.
  • A large portion of a tree fell on the room of a Fayette Road home, bringing the power line with it.

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