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NWH Wants Leonard Park for Construction Drive Route

Mount Kisco mayor expresses concern over how residents could be impacted.

Seeking an expedient way to bring construction materials for its new parking garage to its premises, would like to use Leonard Park's road corridor as a pass through.

Officials on behalf of the hospital came to Mount Kisco's Village Board of Trustees meeting Monday night to make the case.

In a prepared statement, CEO Joel Seligman wrote that doing so is safer than another alternative considered, which would involve driving through Routes 172 and 117, making two "difficult turns" and potentially leading to temporary closures of both roads.

Kerry Flynn Barrett, vice president, human resources, read the statement for Seligman because he was unable to attend the meeting due to the death of his father.

“There is no comparable closing of roads required if the trucks pass through the park," his statement read.

The plan would be to have about 300 trucks pass through the village over a 20-day period in October, during an off-season time of year for the park.

Construction is already underway for the 496-space, 2-story structure, and is projected to finish next year. NWH has argued that the garage is necessary in order to support its parking needs. Overflow space in recent years has been rented at Chappaqua Crossing, where NWH has ambulatory care space, due to an on-site shortage.

The idea of bringing materials through Leonard Park has stirred concern locally about a possible negative, quality-of-life impact. In his letter, Seligman stated that he has not experienced opposition.

“Up until this point I have heard of people who oppose our using the park for these 20 days," the statement read. "But I have never met someone who is really opposed to it and do not actually know who they are. The people I speak with from Mount Kisco don’t understand why there is a question about this. They certainly do not want 20 days of traffic nightmare, especially where there is a simple and reasonable alternative.”

Seligman noted in his statement the non-commercial nature that NWH entails and its community role for Mount Kisco.

“We are not a commercial enterprise. We are not Target or McDonald’s. We are not creating a commercial venue for Leonard Park. We are building a parking garage for your hospital.”

The proposal to use Leonard Park, or at least the communication of it, has bothered Mayor Michael Cindrich, who replied to Barrett, “I’m not thrilled on the way this has been handled from the onset.”

“In my opinion it should have been part of process," he said.

Cindrich was also frustrated that alternatives had not been studied. As examples, he brought up using Route 128 instead of 172, or using a slip-lane for traffic in a Route 172 scenario, in order to avoid a sharp left turn.

The mayor noted that both the village and the hospital both have responsbilities to others.

“We’re both singing the same song from the same page of music. We’re both non-for-profits. We’re both here to benefit the community.”

The mayor told Barrett that his concern is with people who use the park, and discussed its local importance.

“It’s sacred ground to a number of residents and to those of us who have been around the village and enjoy the park immensely.”

The legality of using Leonard Park for transport has also been raised as an issue. Cindrich acknowledged that the possibility of doing so violating a deed restriction on the property has come up; the park was private property before the village took it over.

Seligman, in his statement, argued that allowing for a public service support role is not out of line for the original vision of using the park.

“It is your hospital. Does anyone believe that the founders of Leonard Park would not have considered this a reasonable accommodation to improve their community hospital?”

While unhappy with the scenario, Cindrich has not ruled it out, and plans to have an update at a future date.

“What we’re trying to do is make it palatable for the community,” he said

margaret d'alessandro August 14, 2012 at 02:01 PM
As long as they do not drop material and make a mess of our beautiful park I do not see a promblem!
William Sarokin August 14, 2012 at 04:03 PM
While permission should be granted, there are legitimate concerns and i'm not crazy about Mr Seligman's arrogant sounding responses. The soccer fields will still be in use in October with lots of cars parked along the roads. Construction and dumpster truck drivers are not the most conservative drivers around. But if the cops keep an eye out, they drive slowly through the park, and are responsible for any damage it seems like a reasonable request.
Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 06:09 PM
On another point: Would anyone prefer using the Routes 117/172 combination as the route? What about 128/117, as the mayor brought up as a hypothetical?

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