The brand new Woodlands Legacy Fields made its debut on Thursday in Yorktown.
The complex includes an all-weather, multi-purpose field with lights, which will accommodate soccer, football and lacrosse; and one natural-grass, 60-foot field for softball and Little League baseball.
"It's been a long time coming but I believe that this was worth the wait," Yorktown Supervisor Susan Siegel said. "We have an abundance of youth athletes here in Yorktown who will be delighted to play at this beautiful field, state-of-the-art facility."
The idea for the project was fostered in 2001, county legislator Michael Kaplowitz said. Since the town could not afford the $7.5 million project, he came up with the proposal that the county would invest in it and fund it through the Westchester Legacy Program. The Legacy program was created to provide capital funds to address the shortage of active-recreation areas in the county, officials said.
Kaplowitz said this is the second largest field in Westchester. Ground for the project was broken in Oct. 2007. The town of Yorktown provided the cost and expenses for labor material and equipment. Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo said the new field replaces the trees and hills that once stood there.
"It's phenomenal and at the end of the day it's all about the kids," he said. "They'll have another place to play."
Yorktown's donation to the complex is $1.3 million. The rest of the money, $6 million, was funded through county bonding, Kaplowitz said.
“These fields are an important addition to the variety of recreational parks in our county,” Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said. “This is our legacy to our kids, who can enjoy healthy sports and have fun for many years to come."
The new field is located on town property and will be managed by the town’s recreation department under an inter-municipal agreement with the county. The facility is by permit use only, said Jennifer Fava, Superintendent of the Yorktown Parks and Recreation Department.
The hourly rate for Yorktown residents for the field use is $15 per hour, and $30 per hour for non-residents. The light use rates for the baseball field is $10/hour for residents and $20/hour for non-residents; and for the all-purpose field the rate is $30/hour (resident) and $60/hour (non-resident).
Former town supervisor Linda Cooper who was in office when the project was approved, called it a "wonderful project," which is surrounded by public parkland and trails.
Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy, who has been actively speaking about creating more fields for the kids in town, commended the work done for the field and said his three children would too be using it.
"If we can get the kids to become more active, there is a potential of them becoming healthier with regards to juvenile diabetes," he said.
The Woodlands Legacy Fields site is located at the western end of Strang Boulevard in Yorktown.
During Thursday's ceremony, four Yorktown kids were already playing ball on the field. Georgia Christensen, 6, Aiden Boyle,5, Connor Daly, 5, and Caroline Daly, 2, laughed and kicked soccer balls around.
"It's a great field for the town of Yorktown," Eileen Boyle said who was there with her 5-year-old son Aiden. "It's a nice future for the little ones."
Check out the video for highlights from the ceremony.