GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Now that Greenburgh residents voted in favor of building The Westchester Field House on Dobbs Ferry Road, both Game On 365 and town officials said they won't let the lawsuit brought against them slow their progress.
An unofficial tally of Tuesday's elections show that 66 percent of Greenburgh voted to support the referendum, which approves a lease between the town and Game On 365 to build the complex. Game On 365 Project Manager Martin Hewitt said he looks forward to bringing the field house into Greenburgh and, according to Game On 365 representatives, indicated that the company plans to get started with its construction as soon as possible.
"We have had tremendous support from the beginning, and the results last night show that Greenburgh residents are excited to support progress and smart business in their community," Hewitt said in a statement.
Critics who voted against the proposition, however, said that if voters were fully educated on the issue, they wouldn't have voted for it. Edgemont Community Council Director Bob Bernstein said that if all of Greenburgh knew about the risks he's been urging his community about, they would have voted "No," like the Edgemont community did.
"It basically shows me that when you have an informed set of voters, there's no way they would accept a lease for a property that's contaminated," Bernstein said. "This was a referendum where the public was by and largely uninformed."
The town will thus proceed with plans unless they are given an injunction order by the courts not to do so, said Town Attorney Tim Lewis.
In the meantime, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said the first step is more environmental tests and cleanup. A recent environmental study by Woodard and Curran found the presence of carcinogens on the site, which will need to be tended to before anyone, especially children, can enjoy the facility's recreation services.
Feiner said he plans to address traffic, parking and noise tests over the next few weeks, which, according to the lawsuit's SEQRA violation, should have been done before the lease's agreement.
Bernstein said he's confident that the law will prevail.
"You don't enter into a long-term lease with a company to install athletic fields for children on an environmentally-contaminated site," Bernstein said. "I'm hoping the lawsuit will succeed."
Tom Bock, vice president of the Fulton Park Civic Association and a petitioner on the lawsuit, said it's disappointing that a lawsuit was even warranted.
"I think everybody needs to catch their break and say, "OK, let's do the right thing. We have contamination on the property,'" Bock said. "I want to stop the project."