Flint Park Artificial Turf Field Officially Opens in Larchmont

by Judy Silberstein, Larchmont Gazette

Flint Park
Larchmont-Mamaroneck Midget Football cheerleaders revved up the crowd.

(October 9, 2008) The newly installed artificial field in Flint Park has been in use for a number of months now. But Saturday, October 4 brought out a raft of community leaders, kids, parents and cheerleaders along with the drummers from Mamaroneck High School’s "The Force" to formally dedicate the Alexander Alma Field in honor of a Holocaust survivor whose son contributed to the field in his honor. (See: New Turf Field to be Named in Honor of Holocaust Survivor.)

Oliver Alma with his mother accepted a plaque in honor of his contribution to the field. They are flanked by Mayor Liz Feld (left) and County Legislator Judy Myers and NY Senator Suzi Oppenheimer.

"Some days it’s good to be the mayor," said Mayor Liz Feld, opening the ceremonies. "And this is the best."

Thanking an assortment of community and government groups and individuals, the mayor said, "All of this is here because of you."

She particularly singled out Fields for Kids, the grassroots organization that has pushed for the addition of sports fields in Larchmont and Mamaroneck and contributed $800K million for the Flint project. (See: Flint Park Artificial Turf Field Now Expected to Open in May.) And she called the overall $4.5 million renovation of Flint Park the "ultimate private-public partnership, with only 20% coming from the tax payer."

Flint Field

(l-r) Fields for Kid President Jim Hanley, Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe, Town Councilwoman Nancy Seligson, Larchmont Trustee Anne McAndrews, County Executive Andy Spano, County Legislator Judy Myers, Larchmont Trustee Jim Millstein, NY Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, Larchmont Police Chief John Poleway, Town Councilman Ernie Odierna, field donor Oliver Alma, Flint Park Conservancy President Catherine Kortlandt. Photo by Kim Becker.

In turn, Westchester County Executive Andy Spano corrected the mayor good naturedly. Although only 20% of the project was being paid for by Larchmont taxpayers, Westchester taxpayers had kicked in $2.5 million from the County’s Legacy program, he reminded her. Brushing off a few drops of rain, he also noted, "If it keeps raining all day, the field will still be dry, which is a big improvement over what it used to be."

Adding a synthetic turf field at Flint Park, while opposed by environmentalists in Larchmont and elsewhere, was viewed as a major plus by local sports organizations who can continue playing on the fast draining turf even when rain or wet conditions require canceling games on natural grass fields.

County Legislator Judy Myer stressed that developing the new field took team work on the part of the municpalities, Westchester County, Fields for Kids and many others. "Eveything had to come together, we had to come together as a team for it to work," she said. Jim Hanley, president of Fields for Kids, gave credit to the "five fathers of the five families" who head up the local lacrosse, soccer, Little League and football leagues.

Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, with help from Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe kicked a ceremonial soccer ball into a net defended by a host of junior goalies.

The synthetic turf field is only one element - albeit a major element - of a much larger park renovation project that includes an upgrade of two natural grass fields, a new environmental area overlooking the water, and new signage, landscaping, picnic areas, bleachers, pedestrian paths and other improvements, some of which are still underway. Mayor Feld announced that a $250K contribution from a local donor will be paying to refurbish the park’s tennis courts, beginning in November.

Community leaders and soccer enthusiasts celebrated at the dedication of the new artificial turf field in Flint Park. Standing (L-R): Westchester County Parks Commissioner Joe Stout, Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe, Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld, Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, County Legislator Judy Myers, County Board Chair William Ryan, County Legislator Vito Pinto.

As guests left the ceremony, members of the Larchmont Department of Public Works were busy putting finishing touches on the nearby landscaping and preparing the field for its next engagement - a full Saturday of soccer games.

Outside the field, Trustee Anne McAndrews test drove the new light-weight GEM electric vehicle that the Department of Public Works will use to maintain all of the new features in the park.