May 28, 2023
Culture & Community

MV Marches For Memorial Field – Decades Of Decay While Politicians Debate Different Renovation Plans

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admin-ajaxExpressing their concern about the ongoing neglect of Memorial Field and its significance to the community, Mount Vernon residents, clergy and community leaders rally and march as part of the annual event, Unity and the Community. The event focuses on issues of social justice, community togetherness and honoring residents of Mount Vernon.

“Memorial Field can, once again, be a great place for young men and women throughout the county who enjoy athletics and outdoor recreations,” said Majority Whip Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon). “Moving forward with a renovation project makes sense in so many ways. Athletics help keep our young people off the streets. Also the work will create jobs.”

Memorial Field, formerly know as City Field, was hailed as one of the finest fields in the State with its ideal location visible from the Hutchinson River Parkway. After years of neglect, the stadium on East Sandford Boulevard, built-in 1930, has decayed into a collection of chipped bricks, rusted bleachers, peeling paint, potholes and weeds.

“Memorial Field used to be like our Yankee Stadium: when you played there, you felt like you were playing somewhere special,” Darlos James who coaches the Razorbacks and played at the stadium while growing up told the New York Times in 2009. “It’s horrible now, but we play on it anyway because that’s all we have.”

jackson-5-early-concert-poster-lot-319I was told by clergy, civic leaders and residents about the millions of dollars allocated for renovation. In the same article in Jan 2009, New York Times reported, the Westchester County Board of Legislators voted to set aside $9.7 million for an overhaul through its Legacy Program, which uses capital budget funds and bonds to preserve open space and create recreational facilities throughout the county.

Now five and a half years later, Memorial Field where The Jackson Five performed Sept. 1, 1975 and where I used to attend Mount Vernon High School games and many other events in the 80’s and 90’s has deteriorated to what we have now.  Now we have city clergy, community leaders and residents marching for the city and county to do something to restore this once prominent park.

Mount Vernon as a whole as well as many other urban areas in Westchester County are on a consistent decline. We wonder why the youth are out of control when then don’t have safe havens like this once great recreation facility to go to and activities and programs to keep them busy. I moved away from Mount Vernon ten years ago and came back to take care of my mom. I originally showed up to Memorial Field to cover the march for Black Westchester, but once I got there and saw what horrible shape it was in, it almost brought a tear to this editor’s eyes.

I knew I had to get involved and do something. Its time for us to step up and hold those in power responsible. Why is it necessary to march to get the city and county to upkeep a city owned park. What started out as a news brief,  become an editorial demanding answers and progress. I want answers, and want to encourage all residents of Mount Vernon to demand answers. Time for passing blame on previous administrations is over. If you are in power now, it time for you to tell the people how you plan to restore Memorial Field. If we the people don’t like what we hear its time to vote in someone who will do what needs to be done. Not just in Memorial Field, not just in Mount Vernon, but in all the urban or what’s being termed low-income areas in Westchester. I stand by those who put together the march but encourage the residents of Mount Vernon to do more!

How did we get here? How did a place, once grand enough to hold a Jackson Five concert become such an eye sore. What happened to the millions of dollars voted to be set aside by the Westchester County Board of Legislators? Why hasn’t the county done something about the money allocated and approved not being used for the renovation? Why hasn’t someone demanded answers from Mount Vernon’s Department of Recreation who The Times reported were over the maintenance, scheduling, security and overhauling the complex. From what I saw today, not much more than a lot of talk and shuffling of dirt has been done. Who needs to be held accountable?  Black Westchester will be searching for answers to these questions and report what we find back to the people.

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Elizabeth Fiorini April 12, 2015 at 10:17 AM

maybe the “politicians” will just put a giant fountain, like the one at the circle….another waste of $$. Too bad, Mt. Vernon has been ruined. It used to be a great town.

Paul P. Cimaglia April 12, 2015 at 10:16 AM

Lets face it the town was ruined years ago what we are left with is the legacy of those bad decisions. It is easy to blame the the present administration for what’s going on now. A lot of people left because of racial panic . In my opinion one of the most close minded things a person can do. When balance is lost decay sets in .

John A Gabbamonte April 12, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Really sad to see.

Norine Henderson April 12, 2015 at 10:15 AM

I remember when Memorial Field was in its glory,why they didn’t keep up on it is a mystery,they had great social events there ,the Knights football games,the softball games ,the Olympic Games for the kids and seniors,punt pass and kick events,music concerts ,they could do music under the stars there and for the kids show a big screen movie,there is was so much potential there,I wonder whose pocket wasn’t getting lined and created the ruin,very sad,I am glad I still have my fond memories of Memorial Field to look back on.

John Justino April 12, 2015 at 10:20 AM

what a shame

Nancy Nastasi April 12, 2015 at 2:34 PM

It is sad! I have so many memories at that field! I learned all about football at Memorial Field. The person I was dating explained everything to me while we attended an A B Davis game at Memorial Field. Of course that was many many years ago. My boys played a few little league games there. Memorial Field was once a pride field for Mt Vernon. I do hope they revitalize Memorial Field! Memories

Betty Nelson July 9, 2014 at 12:11 PM

no we don’t need tennis courts

AJ Woodson July 3, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Stay Tuned To Black Westchester on our Investigative Series on Memorial Field. We will continue to monitor all progress and or delays and continue to dig deep and get answers from all the majors players

linda love June 30, 2014 at 11:49 AM

I grew up in MV and I am really saddened to know that a beautiful place like Memorial Field cannot be kept up due to neglect.City council needs to look at every area in MV as being apart of their home, would they live in a place that had chipped paint, things falling apart etc, I think not, so do what is right and take responsibility for cleaning up the place you should be proud to call home.

Jonathan Fair June 29, 2014 at 7:59 PM

Horrible. I came home and wanted to go running there like I usually do when I cam back to MV. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Gary D McCray June 29, 2014 at 6:57 PM

I used to live up the street @ 320 Garden ave. My friends and I used to play there all summer. I remember we would talk amongst ourselves and wonder why the track and bleachers were deteriorating and they built a dome like structure for some folks to play tennis in. Is that still kept up? Just wondering!

Suzanne LaRue Norman-Lugg June 29, 2014 at 5:02 PM

So Memorial Field is a thing of the past? That’s sad news. MF was an icon. So many great functions went on there. In fact, the first graduating class of the new MVHS graduated from there in 1965 and I was a part of it!!!

Barbara Goffi-Apicelli June 29, 2014 at 10:56 AM

What a shame. That was such a beautiful field w the stone bleachers. I remember going to many events there as a kid and also my MVHS Graduation ’71.

Helena R. Edwards June 29, 2014 at 9:22 AM

The problem with Mount Vernon is that the residents are not engaged so the political players which consist of the clergy, whom you mention and the politicians do what they want to sell out Mount Vernon’s interests for their personal gains. Yesterday’s March was no different. It was simply a fight between the players for dominance. Mayoral elections are coming soon and this is a warm up. You can bet Memorial Field will be at the center in the political debate. But, don’t be fooled, these people are all the same. Clinton Young broke ground on Memorial Field with a plan that was controversial shortly before his reelection bid. That was an attempt to gain reelection or if he lost screw the City with implementation of his controversial plan. He lost so, the City was screwed. Why? Davis, the new mayor was not going to continue Young’s plan because he was against it. So Davis wasted more taxpayers’ money to come up with his own plan. Davis plan is opposed by many, especially City Councilwoman, Deborah Reynolds who is asking for 8 tracks on the field to attract competitive games that will bring in resources. Davis is opposed to it under the guise that it is too expensive. But Davis is really bullshitting. He wants a plan that suits him and his alleged girlfriend who are avid tennis fans. His plans calls for more tennis courts. The plan does not generate income. It will be another burden on the taxpayers of Mount Vernon to maintain this money draining conundrum. Lyndon Williams is Clinton I. Young Jr. point man. He is attempting to raise the issue so that it can be a catalyst that will put Young back into the Mayor’s Office. Don’t be fooled. All of these people are from the same school. There wouldn’t be any changes in Mount Vernon with them because they are different sides of the same coin. Every last one of them is responsible for the blight and decay in Mount Vernon. They have all been in political office and screwing Mount Vernon for more than two decades.. This is straight talk!!

Roger Stewart June 29, 2014 at 8:54 AM

New stands, and 8 lane track, and all weather turfed football field and baseball field would be nice. Want to bring in money make it into a minor league baseball stadium or soccer field. Do something. Don’t let it waste away.

Roger Stewart June 29, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Not sure what to do or say. Every time I come to MV I wonder what’s going on when I come off the Hutch. That stadium meant so much to me in that I got engaged there on the top on the stands. I watched many games, ran track, saw concerts, graduated there and more. This should definitely be and issue for the current administration to answer and at the next election. Even though I moved MV is still my home and my families home for over 100 years. Let me know what I can do to help. It’s horrible if the funds to fix it has been miss handled or worse.

Anthony W. Fauntleroy June 29, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Wow, Roger Stewart you are absolutely right. I no longer live there, but had great memories and played football there. I am sick right now to hear that the Razor backs youth program have to play on such field. All the money in Westchester with high tax rates. This is a disgrace. Where’s the organization’s that had championship games and Iona prep sponsors and fairs? Crazy

Larry Turkin June 29, 2014 at 7:51 AM

I used to go there and play every summer beautiful park love it they should fix it up!!

Carolyn Schultz June 29, 2014 at 6:55 AM

so sad. just lke the rest of the city

Winston June 29, 2014 at 5:35 AM

How many practices for track meets me and couple guys used to there.

trustinz June 29, 2014 at 4:23 AM

Had many good days at the football games while in the high school band. Can’t forget the fairs and just hanging out.
Memorial Field is an important part of Mount Vernon’s history, especially to the alumni and the city’s economy. So many memories…


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