It was a long time coming, but the change finally came on Wednesday, September 21, at the ribbon-cutting of the long-awaited restoration of Memorial Field in Mount Vernon. County Legislators, County Executive George Latimer, and Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard all participated in this momentous occasion.
“I want this project to be a symbol of real change within the City of Mount Vernon. A symbol that shows that what seems impossible is possible if government can put ego aside and work together,” CE Latimer shared. “I graduated from High School on this field, and I look forward to working with Mayor Patterson-Howard as we watch the next generation of Mount Vernon’s leaders make their own memories on this field.”
Memorial Field, once the heart and pride of Mount Vernon, fell into disrepair in the mid-90’s and closed in 2007. Over the course of a 26-year odyssey, the tireless efforts of Legislators Tyrae Woodson-Samuels, David Tubiolo – both who represents Mount Vernon, Board Chair Catherine Borgia and many others helped restore the park to its former glory. The need for the restoration was realized and fast-tracked under the leadership of County Executive George Latimer and the promise to the residents of Mount Vernon has finally been fulfilled.
“Memorial Field has been the heart and soul of the City of Mount Vernon for a very long time. It is the crossroads of our community and one of the landmarks that connect us all because it helps to knit, tie, and bind us together through its history and now through its future,” Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard shared. “This partnership of trust with Westchester County symbolizes progress at its best and I am thankful for County Executive George Latimer and the entire executive team for your diligence and tenacity to see us to the completion of this project and for hosting todays ribbon cutting. I would also like to thank our County Board of Legislators, former elected officials, community partners, and everyone who has contributed to this process and for understanding just how much the new Memorial Field will mean to the economic development, public health, pride, moral and community cohesion of the City of Mount Vernon.”
The new Memorial Field Complex is fully owned by the City of Mount Vernon, but will co-manage the property with the County until the end of the year. The new stadium is equipped with 3,900 seats; a new scoreboard; a lighted field equipped for football, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey; an 8-lane track; a sound system capable of handling major concerts or events; 3 tennis courts and a skate park. The project utilized MWBE contracts and created nearly 400 labor jobs. Procedures for booking the field are still being developed.
“Reopening Memorial Field, the crown jewel of our city, has been a dream that is finally coming to fruition. Efforts to rehabilitate this field have been going on for nearly as long as I have been alive,” Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels (D – Mt. Vernon) shared with Black Westchester. “I thank County Executive Latimer, Deputy County Executive Jenkins, my colleagues on the Board of Legislators and all the staff involved that helped to make this happen. Because of this collaborative effort, generations of student-athletes will be able to play out their glory days at this wonderful facility.”
The project was completed by the LandTek Group with design completed by Woodard & Curran. In efforts to make a difference and change the direction of the city, on July 15, 2020, Mount Vernon in collaboration with the County of Westchester, determined The LandTek Group, Inc., submitted the low bid in the amount of $24,883,600 million to begin construction of Memorial Field.
“I am ecstatic that the children of Mount Vernon and Westchester will benefit from this state-of-the-art complex that will allow them opportunity to thrive in athletics,” Legislator David Tubiolo (D – Yonkers, Mt. Vernon) shared with Black Westchester. “The new Memorial Field will bring a whole new level of pride to Mount Vernon, just in time to kick off the football season.”
On Saturday, September 24, the new Memorial Field will host its first Mount Vernon Knights football game since 2007.
“It is humbling to know that a park such as Memorial Field, with its history, is reopening for the first time in fifteen years. Rebuilding a space where youth activities and sports can be celebrated and cheered, will provide a return-on-investment that is not measured in dollars,” shared Board Chair Catherine Borgia (D – Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton, Ossining, Peekskill).
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, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.