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Lewisboro Looks to Mend Leon Levy Preserve

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – When the Town Board approved the merger of its Open Space and Preserves committees last month, Supervisor Peter Parsons said he hoped the move would help more get done with the town’s myriad preserves.

At this week’s board meeting, Parsons announced that in conjunction with the Westchester Land Trust, the town is considering several initiatives it hopes will improve the Leon Levy Preserve . They include a Land Trust-sponsored Earth Day on April 22, a summer intern program and cleanup of the “black mansion” – a burned-out structure that has historical significance but presents some safety concerns.

“The Land Trust wants to employ an intern for the summer for 300 hours, which would cost $3,600,” Parsons said. “The intern would inspect and monitor the preserve, create a trail map and foster community initiatives.”

David Emerson, the Land Trust supervisor, would oversee the intern position, Parsons added, noting that none of the Leon Levy work would cost the town money.

Parsons said he was concerned that the burned-out mansion has become an attractive nuisance and is happy it will be addressed.

“I’m concerned about safety,” he said. “It invites you to clamber over it. We want to stabilize it and have it marked with some special caution signs.”

Parsons said he would like to see Maureen Koehl, the town historian, get involved with the project.

“Maybe we could have some markers indicating the history of the house,” he said. “We don’t want people to ruin it by climbing all over it.”

Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia said he was excited to see the Leon Levy Preserve being addressed. The preserve is 383 acres on Route 123 acquired in 2005.

“Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to get some things done there,” he said. “But the internship should be coordinated with Dana (Mayclim) at the Rec Department. And for the safety of the intern, we have to make sure our insurance coverage takes care of this.”

DeLucia added that the board needs to have a more comprehensive report on what has to be done with the black-mansion ruins before the town gives its approval.

“We’re excited about it, but we need a more complete plan to be drawn up,” he said. “We need an exact proposal that says, ‘We will do A, B, C and D.’ ”

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