In keeping with a trustee goal to refurbish and preserve our few and treasured village open spaces, work was recently begun at the Maltby Field adjacent to the village paddle courts.
As a point of village history, Maltby Field was named for former Mayor Roger Maltby, who was a president of the St. Regis Paper Co. and the first owner of the Bowman house at 31 Masterton Rd. Mr. Maltby served as mayor from 1942 until his death while in office in 1952.
Maltby Field was also the former home of the Girl Scout Cabin, which accidentally burned down on Christmas Eve of 2006. The adjacent open field was used every winter to deposit village snow. The resulting destroyed lawn was then re-seeded every spring necessitating a small but wasteful recurring expenses.
The Village Cabin/Maltby Field Committee appointed by the Board of Trustees immediately following the cabin fire was instructed to determine the best use of the property going forward. The committee surveyed the village residents and found little support for rebuilding the cabin with taxpayer dollars but at the same time, residents desired to keep the land as open space.
To keep the property usable and pristine, the cabin committee recommended that the village pursue other locations for winter snow deposit including the purchase of a snow melting machine to expedite the process.
After a great deal of research and competitive price shopping, the village purchased the “Snow Dragon” melter in the fall of 2012 and its use was proven to be very effective for the village in the snow events of 2012/2013.
With a goal of keeping the property forever park land, the village trustees petitioned our former state Sen. Jeff Klein for state grant monies. Sen. Klein was able to secure $100,000 towards our park’s refurbishment.
The village then hired a landscape architect to design a multi-phase plan that could be implemented in segments as village monies and interest surfaced.
The state grant funds coupled with approximately $25,000 from the village capital fund will allow Phase I Maltby Park to be completed by April 1.
The components of phase I include a re-grading of the surface, new layers of top soil and hydro-seeding which involves an encapsulated seed/water composition. In addition, a walking path with benches and a first round of landscaping will be added. The plan envisions a clean, lush “great lawn” suitable for family picnics, ball or Frisbee toss.
The next phases of the plan, most probably in three or four more segments, include a gazebo and landscaped garden nearest to the Bronx River Parkway exit as well as a fitness trail, a terraced hillside with seating perhaps for music and a community garden as additional amenities.
The Maltby area is one of the gateways to Bronxville due to its proximity to major highway exits and its improvement will be seen by visitors and residents alike.
The benefit of the architecturally designed “phase in” plan is the ability to add amenities, large and small, without having to remove or re-design a previous improvement, thus saving both time and money.
Throughout village history, various elected officials have sought to improve the Maltby property and at one time, swings and slides were installed, at another time a baseball diamond and backstop were added for team play. However, the dimensions of the property do not even meet current practice field standards and even our very young softball players were hitting balls onto Paxton Avenue.
The current beautification of Maltby Field offers the trustees and I a long overdue opportunity to publically thank the members of the Village Cabin/Maltby Field Committee so ably chaired by former Mayor Sheila Stein and members including Eloise Morgan, Ann Parks, Dorothy Brennan, James Kroulas, Tim McGrath, Kelly O’Connell, Sugar Genereaux, Marjorie MacAllister, David Harris, Ed O’Toole, Randy Mayer, Peg Connors and John Stephens.
This committee provided village government with a vision and an impetus to act to keep Maltby Field forever pristine park land and enhance the beauty of the village’s historic West Side.