Pine Brook Park- ing Lot

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Pine Brook park

theLoop is receiving a bit of mail about Pine Brook Park, in Larchmont (Palmer Avenue and Pine Brook)

writes one resident,

 Pine Brook Park is being used as a parking lot for equipment related to the Palmer Avenue beautification project. It is disappointing that residents of the neighborhood were asked to donate money to replace rotting playground equipment but were not informed that the trade off would be this. Why was this kept a secret from the neighborhood? I for one would not have donated had I known this would happen. It doesn’t seem safe for kids to be playing near it and we miss our field and basketball court.

and another,

Do you know why Pine Brook Park is still such a mess, even with the arrival of spring and baseball season? It has been a really long time that our Village has had to endure the mess there and I am wondering if you can help figure out why all of that equipment is there, when we’ll get our park back, and if the fields will be fixed by the Village?

We’ll try to find out. Anyone out there know?

photo: Jennifer Barnes

15 thoughts on “Pine Brook Park- ing Lot

  1. And now… this wonderful streetscape renovation of Palmer Ave starts by chopping down nearly all of the trees along the street!
    A few of them were scraggly and diseased, so better off being cut down. But most were healthy trees that have been growing for decades, and providing shade and welcome greenery. The Mayor says that there’s no alternative but to cut them down in order to fix the sidewalks. REALLY? There are plenty of sidewalk repairs and streetscape upgrades that keep trees in place. What is the point of killing all these trees?
    Whatever new trees may be planted to replace them will take DECADES to grow in.

    Seems to me that the whole project is being managed abysmally! First the contractor parks his heavy construction equipment in a park for a year BEFORE even starting the construction. (Really, there’s no where else he could park them? What about all the empty lots near the highway)
    Now, killing a whole street full of trees.
    What’s next? Can’t wait to find out!!

  2. When I attended the LARCHMONT Village Board’s meeting tonight to
    hear a discussion about the ruination of Pine Brook Park, it was quite
    telling that the issue was described on the agenda as “the
    renovation” of Pine Brook Park. After some opening announcements about the
    “quality of life” concerns in Larchmont that prevent
    leaf-blowing after June 1st, it seemed quite ironic that “quality of
    life” concerns seem to have nothing to do with the park where our
    children play and through which our commuters make their way to the train. All
    that the Board could offer were more assurances that Pine Brook Park will be so
    much better……someday. It was sad to witness the total
    disconnect that the Board has created with regard to the needs of its
    residents.

    There was an interesting question raised by one of the women
    who helped to raise the funds to renovate the park. She asked if it was legal
    to put dangerous equipment in a public park. I think the lawyers in the
    neighborhood should look into that one.

    I was also quite surprised that when the
    co-president of the Pine Brook Association finally spoke, after many
    residents had already expressed their real concerns, he offered some
    advice to the Board about the planting of grass on the field…someday. Then,
    he told a full house of Pine Brook folks that the plan to keep construction
    equipment in the park was made public by the board. He gave no explanation and
    then he left. I felt that he undermined the efforts and intentions of
    the good people who attended the meeting. It was sad to know that the
    Association, which exists to “look out” for the residents here, had
    nothing substantive to say.

    All in all, a frustrating
    evening. We did learn something tonight, however. If you e-mail the Mayor, as
    many people have, you should not expect a response. She is only a volunteer,
    after all.

    What we need to do is to continue
    to expect that the equipment be removed now. Look for petitions to sign that
    are circulating in the neighborhood, and write to the Mayor anyway.

  3. We received this email today (5/9). Seems the construction vehicles aren’t going anywhere.

    Below is an announcement from Mayor McAndrews:

    Due to circumstances beyond the Village’s control, streetscape work on Palmer Avenue has been suspended until the week of May 20, 2013. Until that time, parking conditions along Palmer Avenue will remain normal.
    We will provide you with details as they become available.

    Thank you for your patience.

  4. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. People complain about the business district and then they complain when the board tries its best to address those concerns. The ball field will return, probably better, and moving the t ball game for a season is not that big a deal when considered in context. The investment in the business district, if done properly, will yield dividends for many years. Give the board some slack. They generally do things well and they are responsive to residents concerns, even if it takes some time to get things done. Reading the posts makes it seem as if we have no understanding of the importance of infrastructure improvements.

    • As a resident of Pine Brook with older kids, and a husband who owns a business in the Palmer district, I can assure you the ire you are reading isn’t over a missed season of T-ball. It is because 1.) the contractor was green lighted, without effectively notifying residents, to park huge machines near children before the majority of the red tape was cut and 2.) it is becoming clear that after having taken residence in the park for a year while no work was being done, the contractor might need to get replaced, with nothing to show for it. Back to square one.
      I am all for improving the business district, I think it is very, very important for Larchmont and a coup that the mayor and trustees secured such a large grant for the work. However, they need to do a better job communicating to both residents and business owners what this project will entail and what the end result will be so that we can support it. For now, everyone is focused on what is in front of them: big, ugly, dangerous machines in the neighborhood’s only park, and no work being done.

  5. I heard that Pix11 did a news story on our little park on 5.3.13, though I haven’t been able to download the video.

    Whatever “improvements” the contractor has undertaken are rediculous. A screen around the fence? There is still a hole in the fence! If our Mayor has made this poorly-considered agreement to allow the contractor to store equipment in our park, I am left with several questions:

    1) What upgrades can we expect for our ball field? What does the contract stay?

    2) How soon after the Palmer Avenue Project is complete can we expect equipment to be removed? The field was being used as a parking lot and holding site for months before the actual work was undertaken.

    3) How soon after the Palmer Avenue Project is complete can we expect the ball field to be restored?

    4) Safety of the children must be of paramount concern. There has been a large wood chipper in the corner of the park, not fenced in, for weeks. Perhaps that should be moved?

    5) Does the contractor need such a large area to store equipment, or would a smaller area suffice?

    As a local mother of a young child who visits the park often, I remain very concerned about this issue. If our elected official thought this was the best use of our resources, perhaps she should offer more information to us about the project so that we may see how she could have agreed to this arrangement.

  6. Hello,

    The streetscape project will begin very soon and will last five months. I know that the loss of the use of the playing field has upset many residents, but it is the best staging area available. The Village has demanded that the appearance of the area be improved immediately by the contractor. The agreement with the contractor is that he will improve the ball field, leaving it in much better shape that before he started storing materials and equipment.

    The Village expected construction to begin last Fall. Obviously, it didn’t. The reasons are many. Just let me say that the Village would not begin until all the proper insurance and performance bonds were in place. It would not begin until it were certain that concrete would cure properly. It could not begin until incredibly complex Federal Highway construction specifications were filled and approved by the NYS Department of Transportation. This is simply no ordinary sidewalk repair. It is being funded in part by a grant from the Feds which is administrated by the DOT. Believe me, we had to jump very high to get over $800,000. in funds but it has taken a battalion of engineers and lawyers to do so.

    The Village will be proud of the improvements and when it is done we will also have a new ballfield. I ask for everybody’s cooperation and I realize how many have lost patience. So have I.

    Anne McAndrews

    Mayor, Village of Larchmont

  7. The Village, the Pine Brook Association and a large number of contributors gave a substantial amount of money to renovate the Pine Brook Park playground just last year. As one who was heavily involved with that project I can guarantee you that no one told me, or the others who were also heavily involved, that the rest of the park would be turned into a highly unattractive, perpetual construction site, that the T-Ball field in the park would be rendered useless for this season, if not destroyed, and that the very attractive new playground would be next to very unattractive construction equipment, etc., for months and months and months.

    I do not know why the Village cannot get the Streetscape project even begun, much less completed. It was postponed last Thanksgiving so as not to interfere with Holiday business for local merchants, but it is now six months later and there has been no apparent progress.

    Perhaps the Village can tell all of us what has delayed the project and when, if ever, it will actually take place. Perhaps it can also tell us when Pine Brook Park will again be the very attractive, low-key, child-friendly park that it has been for decades.

    • Well said Ralph. I had no idea they were going to use the park as a storage area either. It makes me sad to think about all of our hard work…and now look at the park!! And the town also might want to know…there’s a small hole in the fence that small kids are climbing through. They should fix that before an accident happens.

  8. This is NO FAIR.
    Park the construction equipment somewhere else, not in the middle of our playing field!

    There is NO reason that residents of this neighborhood should be deprived of this playing field. We pay just as much in taxes as anyone else…
    C’mon, PLAY BALL!!!

    By the way, we residents of this neighborhood have DONATED money OUT OF OUR OWN POCKET for the reconstruction of this park, and it is adding insult to injury to now use it to park construction equipment!

  9. I wrote an email a few weeks ago to Jere Dieck and Sandy Constabile, the co-presidents of the Pine Brook Association asking what was going on. Jere responded almost immediately by phone and explained that the machines had nothing to do with the playground renovation at all (which is what I had erroneously believed). The Village had decided to allow the company working on the Palmer Ave. beautification project to store their equipment there as apparently there is no where else in Larchmont to do so. Jere said that he was told they would continue to use it until early September.

    As a Pine Brook resident with children that loved to use the fields at the park (they are too big for the play equipment), it saddens me that they have been without their neighborhood park for over a year now. Jere told me he would pass on my email to the mayor, though I don’t know what else can be done at this point beyond registering a complaint and asking the powers that be to do what they can to keep the Palmer project on time.
    I also asked if there is anyway “they” (the Association, the town, the village, whoever) could be a little more transparent about this information for the many residents who live near the park. Everyone I have spoken to about this thought it had something to do with the renovation (including a realtor friend who sells homes in the area). It’s ironic that in their quest to keep this bit of bad news on the down-low (buried in some minutes somewhere, I couldn’t find them on the website) they have inadvertently put a negative spin on what was otherwise a very successful, community-affirming campaign to renovate the playground.

    • …and just to clarify, the website I am referring to is the Village of Larchmont website, I am assuming that this must have been brought up and approved at a Board of Trustees meeting at some point? If anyone knows anything more about when this was approved, please let us know.

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