Continuing the ongoing endeavors in multiple NY areas to rebuild and beautify their parks and athletic complexes, Mount Vernon, just west of Yonkers, is at last following suit with a restoration of its own. With planning and proposals open for some months now, County officials have finally announced that Mount Vernon Memorial Field project is underway, with the $25 million contract awarded to the New York-based LandTek Group.
The journey to this point has been a long one, and the end is still far off.
A Piece of Local History: A Brief Timeline
After opening in 1930, Mount Vernon Memorial Field swiftly became a staple of the community. It “was, in essence, our Yankee Stadium,” the City of Mount Vernon NY proudly states on their website. It was home to local games and track meets, high school graduations, and performances from the likes of the Jackson 5 and Nina Simone.
The finished restoration hopes to bring the field back to its former status as a commercial hub, but more than just time creates distance from Mount Vernon Memorial Field’s present state and its glory days. It has since fallen into disarray, the victim of frequent illegal dumping, and has been closed for the better part of the last decade. Multiple administrations have devoted time and money to cleaning and attempted restorations, but none led to reopening.
In 2019, before the process to rebuild began, a $2 million cleanup project commenced, with initial plans to build a stadium on the former field. Taking six weeks starting in September, this would be the first phase of the current project.
In March of 2020, the final plans for the Mount Vernon Memorial Field would be unveiled by County Executive George Latimer, and bids would open soon after. Fast-forward to the present, to the LandTek Group and the work that is to come.
What Will Be Done to Restore Mount Vernon Memorial Field?
The accepted proposal differed slightly from the original vision when cleanup started last year, with the following in the works:
- An NCAA regulation football field, which will also be suited to other sports, including field hockey and soccer.
- 3,900 seats. The original grandstand was demolished two years ago, and the new one sports an additional 1,000 seats.
- Updated, modern locker rooms and public restrooms.
- A skateboard park will share some space with three adjacent tennis courts.
- An NYSPHSAA certified eight-lane track.
The level of work to be done will be tied into a mixture of restoration and full teardowns and rebuilds. An earlier report on the plans suggests that a specific task will involve removing boulders and debris under the current tennis courts, part of an earlier refurbishment from a previous administration’s cleanup attempts.
The official groundbreaking is Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Officials are optimistic that the project will wrap up in time for high school football teams to take the field in the fall of 2021.