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Release Date: March 27, 2005

The recent court decision re: Taxter Ridge acquisition instructs the town to apportion payments for Taxter Ridge park to the villages. This reverses a longstanding tradition that villages purchase parkland in the villages. And, unincorporated Greenburgh residents purchase parkland in unincorporated Greenburgh. The plaintiff in the lawsuit that was filed against the town argued that forcing the villages to pay for Taxter Ridge is more equitable since village residents can use Taxter Ridge. But, this is not the entire case. Unincorporated Greenburgh residents can use many parks in the villages. For example, one of the most spectacular parks in the entire town is Scenic Park --which is located on the Irvington waterfront. This park has jogging paths, incredible views of the Hudson, terrific fields, great playgrounds and is located within walking distance of first class restaurants. Every resident of unincorporated Greenburgh has the ability to use the park. But, we haven't paid for this park. The park compares favorably to Battery Park.  And, we don't contribute a dime towards the maintenance of the park.
The court decision has already encouraged the plaintiff in the lawsuit to threaten additional lawsuits against the town. The plaintiff is now demanding that the town not only charge village residents for the cost of acquiring Taxter Ridge but for all other parks in Greenburgh (including Anthony Veteran Park). He indicated that the town pool might also be opened to village residents. Such a decision will force the villages to subsidize our parks. But, we're not contributing to parks within the villages.
I fear that this decision, if not appealed, will make it much more difficult for Greenburgh to acquire more open space. The villages will now have a voice in determining if we acquire parcels of open space and where the open space is purchased. I believe that the villages are resentful of the inequities and predict that precious parcels of open space will stand a greater chance of being developed.  Village residents will object to paying for new parkland in unincorporated Greenburgh because we're not paying for parks in the villages. I also am worried that Greenburgh will become cement-burgh.
I am urging the Greenburgh Town Board to appeal the recent court decision relating to Taxter Ridge. I am appointing a blue ribbon panel to address inequities in how we fund various projects in the town. I also would like the town to push for state legislation to enable the Greenburgh Town Board to regulate how we want parks to be paid for.  PAUL FEINER

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