LEWISBORO, N.Y. – In an effort to re-energize the committees and its mission, the Lewisboro Town board voted this week to officially merge the Open Space Advisory Committee and the Preserve Committee.
The newly reconstituted committee will work with the Parks and Recreation Department and have access to its resources, but will still report to the town board.
“The primary objective is to re-energize the management of the preserves and provide [the new committee] with a work force from Parks and Rec so we can move them along,” said Supervisor Peter Parsons.
Parsons had said that in light of the current economy and the town’s recent budget woes, Lewisboro wouldn’t likely be in the market to purchase any new open spaces. However, he noted, it doesn’t mean that more open space couldn’t come the town’s way through other methods.
“There are some parcels around town in private hands that could be given to the town for whatever reasons and donations would still need managing,” he said.
Parsons said it was his intent to raise the profile of the new committee, which will be known as the Open Space and Preserves Advisory Committee, and help increase awareness around Town of Lewisboro’s open space assets.
“Take the Brownell Preserve off of Route 138 in Goldens Bridge for example,” Parsons said. “That should be a beautiful preserve for people in that area. It’s in walking distance from Indian Hill and Arbor Hills, but I bet they’re not using it because it hasn’t been made inviting. The town has owned it forever and it’s a real asset.”
Parsons said he wants to the committee to become more proactive and get things done before they become a problem. He cited the Old Field Preserve, formerly the Houlihan property, in Waccabuc as an example. Several years ago, the town and county made an agreement that Lewisboro would build a 10-mile hiking trail linking the Old Field Preserve to town parks and other preserves in exchange for funding to help buy the property. The town has yet to fulfill its end of the bargain and the county has recently reminded town officials of the obligation. Parsons said he hopes it’s one of the first things the new committee will look into.
While several members of the two former committees have left voluntarily for numerous reasons, Parsons said no one is being thrown off the new committee. Existing members will be able to finish out their two-year terms and the town board has named Greg Monteleone to chair the reconstituted committee.