White Plains, NY – A ten-year agreement to turn over restoration and maintenance of the Jay Property Estate in the City of Rye to the non-profit Jay Heritage Center (JHC) is being advanced through new legislation sponsored by Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont) and Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers).
The legislation, introduced in mid-October, will allow Westchester County to enter into a ten year agreement with the State of New York and the JHC to use and manage County park land—the Jay Property—for the next ten years, with the agreement renewable after the initial term. The County and State will have the right to approve or disapprove alterations to the property, which will remain accessible to the public.
Legislators Myers and Jenkins introduced their legislation soon after County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced that the County was signing a “management agreement” for ten years with JHC to use and maintain the Jay Property. Because the laws of Westchester only authorizes the County’s Parks Commissioner to sign a five-year lease regarding park property, with longer leases needing BOL approval, the two legislators stepped in to help the Administration legitimize the deal.
Earlier, BOL Chairman Jenkins had held over the Administration’s “management agreement” at the County’s Acquisitions & Contract (A&C) meeting last week, arguing that it was unwise to risk another legal entanglement for the County if the current law was disregarded and violated by any of the respective parties involved. (See video links below.)
Jenkins had also advised JHC officials that BOL approval was required for the ten-year agreement. A vote on the Jay Property “management agreement” was postponed at yesterday’s A&C meeting in order to let the BOL legislation for the ten-year agreement with JHC take proper precedence.
“While this public-private partnership makes sense in so many ways, the law requires the County Board of Legislators to review the agreement after the County Attorney’s office prepares it,” said Jenkins. “After all, our County parks have been supported by taxpayers, and we have to make sure that long-term partnerships are reflective of this.”
Legislator Myers, chair of the BOL Budget & Appropriations Committee, added: “The Jay Heritage Center has invested a great deal of effort and expertise into this initiative. I look forward to the full Board’s timely backing of this agreement after we have looked at all the details.”