Joining numerous other coun-ty leaders and business owners, Republican Harrison Coun-cilwoman Marlane Amelio was elected to the board for the Friends of Westchester County Parks on Dec. 13.
Amelio has served on the Town Council since 2011 and was re-elected last month. Self–described as unusual in her environmental views as a Republican, Amelio expressed excitement to be elected to the position.
“I’m very excited and happy,” Amelio said. “I have always said I’m an odd one when it comes to Republican views on the environment and conservation in that I tend to be a very green person who believes in open space and the protection of our parks.”
Friends of Westchester Cou-nty Parks was created with the goal of securing private funds to assist the county to maintain and operate its parks. The non-profit, created in 1978, currently has 27 active board members, who, according to executive director of the organization Joseph Stout, help in numerous ways.
“Some donate money, some donate wisdom and some donate work,” Stout said. “We have the same set-up as any non-profit. They help us with tasks, raise money, help recognize others who make contributions, help guide the staff and raise awareness of the value of the county parks system.”
Stout, a former commissioner of the Westchester Co-unty Department of Parks, Re-creation and Conservation, advocated for Amelio’s induction onto the board.
“She’s an outdoor and fitness advocate, animal lover and she’s interested in parks and rec[reation],” Stout said. “We’re always looking for folks who are advocates for the county park system.”
The county park system has overwhelming benefits, according to Amelio.
“You can’t dispute all the positive benefits of a park,” Amelio said. “From financial benefits of promoting tourism to social benefits of bringing a community together. And there is the all-important part of just being able to go out and be outdoors and enjoy the benefit of participating in outdoor activities.”
The Westchester County Pa-rks, Recreation and Conservation department manages more than 50 parks and recreation facilities including Playland amusement park in Rye and the Westchester County Center in White Plains. Other local parks include Saxon Woods Pool, in White Plains, and golf course in Scarsdale as well as Silver Lake Preserve, also in White Plains.
-Reporting by Phil Nobile