Terrific Day for New Rochelle’s Kids (and Grown-Ups)

Great recreational facilities are among the features that define great communities. So it was a true pleasure yesterday to welcome the County Executive and various other officials to New Rochelle for the official opening of the newly upgraded Fosina Field at City Park.

Named in honor of Joe Fosina, who is a long-time head of Youth Tackle of New Rochelle, former City Council Member, and widely-admired community leader, Fosina Field will accommodate football, soccer, and lacrosse games on an all-weather synthetic surface. It is just one part of the overall reconstruction of City Park, the 21-acre recreational center on Fifth Avenue.

Already completed: an upgraded Skidelsky Field, a new natural turf softball field, and an underground flood control system. Next up, and scheduled to be finished by June 2012:

  • new synthetic turf softball and baseball fields, aligned to permit simultaneous play;
  • a trail system through the Park’s wooded setting;
  • a playground and splash pad for youngsters; and
  • new public restrooms, parking areas, and field house retrofits (this last item has a 2013  completion date).

The City has also reserved a footprint for the possible development of a new ice rink. Our Parks & Recreation staff, led by Commissioner Bill Zimmermann, is presently evaluating a rink proposal, and I anticipate that options will be presented to the City Council this month.

Together, these improvements will increase City Park’s overall capacity, enhance the quality of play for scores of leagues and teams, and make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people who visit City Park every year. The project has been years in the planning, and it is enormously satisfying to see it take physical shape.


City Park Site Plan

City Park is a roughly 21-acre site on Fifth Avenue. This is a site plan for the full project. If an ice rink is developed, it will be placed near the southwest portion of the park. (Click image for larger view.)

Two other items are worthy of note:

First, the project’s overall $12 million price tag is funded entirely by grants and donations. The largest of these is a $9.8 million “legacy” grant from Westchester County, provided as part of an agreement that shifts ownership of County roads to the City and sets targets for the development of workforce housing within New Rochelle. We have also received funding from FEMA (to pay for storm-related damage to Skidelsky Field) and from Monroe College (which will be among City Park’s many users). Especially during this period of serious fiscal challenge, New Rochelle has been very aggressive in seeking outside funding to pay for local priorities. City Park is a notable success. Other examples include the North Avenue and Lincoln Avenue reconstruction projects.

Second, the City Park project demonstrates our capacity to cross lines of political party and levels of government to accomplish significant goals. The City worked hand-in-glove with our County Legislative delegation — Jim Maisano, Sheila Marcotte, Judy Myers, and former Legislator Vito Pinto. And we enjoyed a constructive relationship with County Executive Astorino’s team with respect to the terms of our legacy agreement. All deserve thanks for their hard work.

As a resident, as a father, and as a mayor, I could not have been more pleased by yesterday’s event. (And, despite my third-rate athleticism and inappropriate footwear, with some careful coaching I actually managed to put the ceremonial penalty kick into the goal.)