Capital budget provides for ballpark rehab

Eastchester’s capital budget this year provides for improvements to the ballfields at Chester Heights Park and the Parkway Oval, pictured. Photo/Liz Button

Eastchester’s capital budget this year provides for improvements to the ballfields at Chester Heights Park and the Parkway Oval, pictured. Photo/Liz Button

By LIZ BUTTON
The Eastchester Town Council unanimously adopted its $1.5 million capital budget at the April 22 meeting, which will be used to fund large-scale town projects as part of the town’s annual capital plan.

This year, the Town Council received more than $4 million of capital budget requests from its various departments and worked with department heads to pare the list down. The final list of projects approved by the council and sent to the town comptroller breaks down as follows:

LIBRARY BUDGET:
$150,000
This year’s capital budget includes replacing the entire library roof. Library director Tracy Wright is currently seeking a grant through the state  for the project.

“The roof had major leaks for quite a while,” Wright said. “The last roof was installed well over twenty years ago. It has lived its life. It’s time for it to be replaced.”
In the meantime, the library has covered over certain leaky spots using temporary patches, including one in the children’s room.

If the library is awarded the grant, the town will have to match half of the $300,000 cost of the project in the amount of $150,000. This is a conditional budget item, since it will not come into play unless the town gets the grant.

Wright said she will submit the paperwork for the grant in August, after the next grant cycle begins. There are certain aspects of the $300,000 cost that would not be covered by a grant, she said, such as architectural fees. In addition, whether the library receives the entire sum Wright requests will depend on the types of projects other libraries across Westchester plan to undertake, she said, since each library system gets a set amount of money from the state.

HIGHWAY BUDGET:
$1.1 million

Street resurfacing,
$600,000
The damaging effects of this past winter have necessitated sidewalk and curb replacements and street resurfacing work, according to Eastchester Highway Department officials.

When it comes to street resurfacing, Republican Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita said $600,000 is a little less than the town usually borrows.

“Our bid award came in at less than $80 a ton, which is good news,” he said. “With all the petroleum-based product costs doubling, $600,000 goes a little further than it did last year.”

Colavita said the town approaches street resurfacing programmatically, cataloging the streets with a focus on school and commercial areas. In the last few years, the town has been working on resurfacing the Chester Heights neighborhood.

Bucket truck,
$130,000

Small vehicle budget,
$40,000

Sidewalk and curb
replacements,
$100,000

Parkway road and
bridge repair,
$50,000

LED lights,
$20,000

Colavita said this year, the town will continue to replace older lower-functioning street lights with LED lights; the project began last year with several replacements for portions of California Road.

In the end, he said, systematically replacing electric street lights with LED lights is going to be very cost-effective. It is possible the entire town could be all LED within 10 years, Colavita said.

Packer garbage truck: $201,000

 TOWNWIDE BUDGET:
$241,500
Field and park rehabilitation for Chester Heights Park,
$100,000
Colavita said a large part of the town’s capital budget will go toward fixing ball parks that are used by many of the town’s leagues.

Chester Heights Park, a five-acre park that contains a softball field, a basketball court and two playgrounds, requires a number of improvements.

“The Chester Heights ball field has been in very poor condition,” Colavita said. “The infield surface is really in need of replacement, as are both the chain link backstop and the chain link side fencing along the first and third base sidelines.”

Other changes to be made at the Chester Heights Park, located on Oregon Avenue, include fixing the benches and raising the grade of the field to improve drainage. Concrete will be poured around the dugout sides and around the backstop so the kids will have more of a firm footing, he said.

“It will make it neater and not so much of a tripping hazard. A brand new backstop should also be quite a nice improvement there,” Colavita said.

Field and park rehabilitation for Parkway Oval,
$40,000
The Parkway Oval, which is owned by the Town of Eastchester but is located in the Village of Tuckahoe, also has major drainage issues.

“Right now all it is is a water trap,” Colavita said. “Where when it rains, the benches are under five or six inches of water because it is not properly pitched.”

Starting on June 6, town workers will pour a concrete pad around the first and third base sides to create access to the cement bleachers and a wheel chair ramp.

Colavita said the town wanted to replace the bleachers there, but decided to wait for now since it would be an extra $60,000 in this year’s budget.

Senior services,
$40,000
Since the Lake Isle Country Club is being remodeled under the new catering contract secured by the town, the senior nutrition center there was relocated to the Tuckahoe Community Center. In order to provide for the continuation of the senior nutrition program, the town temporarily installed some kitchen apparatuses, such as a warming oven, at the center. These additional appliances will be relocated to Lake Isle once renovations there are complete.

Town Code,
$25,000
The capital budget approved April 22 also provides for the codification of town laws and ordinances into an electronic code for the

first time.

“We’re taking all of our
local laws, including our vehicle and traffic laws, and putting them in an ordered electronic system,” Colavita said.

Currently, everything is in hard copy, so if residents want to look up a law, they need to come in and get a town code book. The same applies if they are a town employee, which is very inconvenient, Colavita said. This new online system will allow the staff to easily cross reference laws
within the code.

Vehicle for auxiliary
police force,
$36,500

CONTACT: liz@hometwn.com