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NEW ARDSLEY SIDEWALK FULLY PAID FOR WITH FEDERAL FUNDS

Ardsley SidewalkAs  Greenburgh officials debate what if anything the Town might do about residents demanding sidewalks for their children to walk safely to and from school, the Village of Ardsley last year constructed a $500,000 sidewalk on Heatherdell Road, between Farm Road and Olympic Lane, that was paid for in its entirety by a federal grant under the Safe Routes to School Program.

Greenburgh Police Chief Chris McNerney, himself a resident of the Village of Ardsley, noted that the new sidewalk there was paid for with federal funds when he told directors of the Edgemont Community Council in October that he now supported constructing sidewalks in Edgemont on Seely Place, Ardsley Road and Fort Hill Road.

Several ECC directors were familiar with the Safe Routes to School program because the ECC had received a briefing on it a few years ago from Naomi Klein, of the Westchester County Department of Transportation, who was in charge of the county’s “Safe Routes to School and Walkable Communities” programs.

ECC directors who had been  working for years to persuade town officials to construct sidewalks on Seely Place and other locations in Edgemont were anxious to participate in the program, but Ms. Klein said only municipalities were eligible to apply for grants to pay for sidewalks.

Because Edgemont was not an incorporated village, only the Town could apply for such funding on Edgemont’s behalf and with town officials then opposed to the construction of any new sidewalks in Edgemont, the likelihood of any applications being filed on Edgemont’s behalf by the Town seemed remote.

That all seemed to change when Chief McNerney announced his support in October for the sidewalks on Seely Place, Ardsley Road and Fort Hill Road.  Town Supervisor Paul Feiner also said he was in favor of the sidewalks being built.

But no application for any grant can be filed unless and until the Town actually has a plan in place to build such sidewalks.  Those who wanted the sidewalks built were hoping that with the support of town officials, the Town would now direct its personnel to prepare preliminary plans for the sidewalks so that grant applications could be filed.

As of yesterday, no one had asked any town personnel to draw up any such plans and with the town board now insisting on a study of sidewalk needs in all ten Greenburgh school districts before greenlighting any sidewalk plans for Edgemont, it is unlikely that any plans will be developed in the near future, without which which no grant applications can be filed.

Chief McNerney and Mr. Feiner meanwhile are insisting today that they still remain “committed” to getting Edgemont the sidewalks the police chief says it needs, and say they will hold a meeting next month in Edgemont to discuss the matter.  Because the Town’s plans for Edgemont appear to be on indefinite hold for now, the ECC has thus far declined to sponsor the meeting, but other civic associations may do so.

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