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Memorial Field – May 30, 2015

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The silly season (the time when politicians campaign) has begun and one of the main taking points has been Memorial Field. Last weekend after the Memorial Day Parade, there was a ribbon cutting reception for the Tennis Courts. Lohud ran story online Memorial Day weekend and then in print on Tuesday, titled Future Murky For Mt Vernon’s Memorial Field with quotes from Richard Thomas and Lyndon Williams. Then Fios1 news reported, Millions Spent On Mount Vernon park, Why Isnt It Built Yet, where they spoke with Mayor Davis and Lyndon Williams.

We had a forum with Davis, Williams and Thomas each spoke on MF and Williams, Thomas, Debra Reynolds and Maureen Walker each spoke briefly on Memorial Field at a local Fleetwood Citizen’s Society meeting, Thursday night. Various blogs and email blasts have gone out attacking all the candidates and one thing everyone does agree upon, it’s the fact that politics appears to be what’s holding up this project as politicians play pass the buck and point the finger.

Last June we ran our first editorial about the decay of Memorial Field and if you look at the pictures below, while the tennis courts are complete and I can report people were playing tennis Saturday, not much else has changed to the average person’s eye. It almost a year later and the people are even more frustrated. But while Davis may blame Clinton and Clinton and his supporters may blame Davis, the deterioration has been a long time coming.

July 7, 1994 the New York Times reported:

…the 6,000-seat stadium on this city’s south side doesn’t just look old. It is and it is showing its age badly. Built in 1930, the stadium is a picture of decay. Weeds and dust choke the playing field. Paint flakes from the green railings in the concrete stands on the home team’s side. The bleachers on the visitors side have been condemned.

So the bottom line is this patient was on life support over a year before Davis took office and he let the patient die. It died during Young’s administration. So over the next few days. weeks and months you will hear a lot about whose at fault. You will hear how much of an accomplishment it was to get the tennis courts completed. You will see more pretty pictures of the great tennis courts and will hear others talk about the money being misused etc, but the bottom line what the residents of Mount Vernon know as, and come to relate about Memorial Field; the football field, the track, the iconic bleachers are still not open to the public. To them Memorial Field is still closed and no pretty pictures of people who are not from Mount Vernon playing tennis on a privatized court is going to change that perception.

The amazing thing is that no one in the Davis administration thought enough to make sure it the gates were locked Saturday morning, when his adversary the former Mayor Clinton Young had a press conference to announced he is officially running in the mayoral race. Clinton supporters, reporters and any resident with a camera phone who was there were able to freely walk through the debris of the decaying structure, including the bathrooms in the back which are not in any shape to be used but were opened and unlocked where any number of crimes could go on unseen. Even if Davis’ administration had security there to stops people from entering in the name of safety that would have been believable because the field itself wasn’t safe for a 100 or so people to freely walk around. What if someone would have gotten hurt or tripped over rocks and fell from the decaying bleachers. But instead Davis dropped the ball and put Clinton who some felt had a slim chance to win, Davis just put Young in the race.

The NBA Finals begins this week and Davis (the home team) turns the ball over on the opening drive and allows Clinton Young to go all the way down the court and come through with a monster dunk, which only helped rally his team and his supporters, despite being the visiting team.

I was personally surprised because it was the most unimpeded access I have had to the park, without someone personally taking me through it or anything like locked gates to prevent me from freely entering and walk around as I wanted to. So one year later, I again enter this once iconic stadium and leave disappointed in what I see. Many will sell you on several different points of views, throughout the election season, but they say a picture is worth 1000 words, so here’s 100,000 words for you. Feel free to leave your comments, feedback and questions in the comment section below.


AJ Woodson

AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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1 comment

Renee May 30, 2015 at 9:07 PM

It is a shame. There are no words any politician can say to make me feel good about this situation. To me the tennis courts being completed first and prioritized over the stadium, just goes the extra mile showing that Davis cares more about himself and his cronies than he does the citizens of Mt Vernon.


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