Town Board Unveils Duck Pond Plans, OK's Stop Signs

Residents Petition to Improve Railroad Tunnel

by Harriet Kline

(July 18, 2005) The Town of Mamaroneck Board’s only meeting of the month on July 13 was lengthy and jammed with residents interested in the agenda full of traffic hearings and a presentation outlining restoration proposals for Gardens Lake. Also, residents presented a petition calling for improvement of the tunnel at the Larchmont train station.

Gardens Lake Restoration

New York State and Westchester County have set aside $1,600,000 in grant monies for a major restoration effort along the Sheldrake River. The town’s Gardens Lake (also know as the Duck Pond) is to be included in this effort. This is the next step in a collaboration that was proposed in 2003 and agreed to by the town in 2004. (See: Duck Pond Plan Proceeds.)

Dr. Mark Laska of Great Eastern Ecology, an environmental consultant hired by Westchester County, presented proposals for the improvement of the overall ecology of Gardens Lake. It is anticipated that dredging will be done at selected parts of the lake. An aquatic beach will be created at the thruway side of the lake to hold some of the sludge. In time, this will become an emergent marsh for native plants and wild life. Additional sludge will have to be carted off site. It is also hoped that the meadow at the town side of the water will keep ducks from entering and polluting the lake. The current plans complement the building of a sediment basin last year by the county.

George Roniger, representing the Gardens Lake Association, said he was “delighted with the plans” and was pleased with the efforts to diversify the flora and fauna at the Duck Pond.

It is anticipated that the designs will be completed this summer. Westchester County must then prepare bidding documents and determine where the dredged sludge can be deposited. The project completion date is projected for the year 2006-2007.

The Town of Mamaroneck and the City of New Rochelle have each agreed to contribute $200,000 to the overall budget of $2 million for the Gardens Lake/Sheldrake River project. The Town Board unanimously approved a bond resolution authorizing the $200,000.

Stop Signs on West Gardens Lake Road

Several town residents appeared at the meeting to speak in favor of erecting stop signs to alleviate speeding traffic along West Garden Road. The Town Traffic Committee had recommended four stop signs, but the board had tabled the issue in June after receiving almost no public input at the public hearing. (See: Public Missing from Town Public Hearings on Stop Signs.)

After a lengthy discussion with no opposing resident views, the board voted to put up two stop signs – one on West Garden Road and the intersection of Mardon Road and another at West Garden Road at Clover Street. Another proposal for a stop sign at Locust Ridge Road and Glen Eagles Drive was also approved.

Railroad Tunnel Maintenance

At the close of the meeting, George Roniger presented the board with a petition objecting to the “disgraceful condition” of the underpass at the Larchmont railroad station. The petition was signed by 60 residents.

Metro North Tunnel at Larchmont Larchmont Tunnel

Photos taken in July 2004 at the Larchmont train station show portion renovated by the MTA (left). The Village of Larchmont is responsible for maintenance of the as yet unrenovated section (right).

The underground tunnel is partially maintained by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and partially by the Village of Larchmont.

Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe explained that In return for receiving money from meters on the parking deck adjacent to the station, the Village of Larchmont agreed to be responsible for maintaining part of the tunnel. The MTA renovated its portion of the tunnel recently but Larchmont has not upgraded its section that runs under I-95 and leads to Memorial Park in the Town of Mamaroneck.

Last year, the Village of Larchmont Board was discussing plans to make improvements using funds raised through an increase in fees charged for parking permits at the station lot. However, a specific plan has yet to be implemented. (See: Larchmont Station Renovation: Mostly On-Time.)

Supervisor O’Keeffe, contacted after the meeting said, “I’ve talked to Ken Bialo about it a couple of times and we agreed that we’d settle the whole thing before they finish the station renovation.”

Would the town be willing to put money towards the tunnel? “No,” replied the supervisor emphatically. “Because the Village of Larchmont continues to get money from the parking. They haven’t kept their part of the bargain,” she said.

Asked for comment, Mayor Bialo e-mailed the following: “We have been looking at completion of the station renovations as a target date. We have preliminary estimates of cost. I have asked George Latimer for his assistance, and he was encouraging.”

At the end of the board meeting, Supervisor O’Keeffe indicated she will bring the issue to the attention of Mayor Bialo again. She also encouraged residents to appear before the Village of Larchmont Board to press their case.

The next Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday August 8.