Always short on athletic fields, the Rye recreation department will – if all goes as planned – add a tenth field to its collection.
On Friday, Rye Mayor Steve Otis announced that the Board of Directors of the NYS Thruway Authority voted to approve leasing a vacant 4.7- acre parcel on the Boston Post Road to the City for 15 years for use as an athletic field. The land is directly across from Rye Country Day School on the right as you are driving from Rye towards Portchester and the Kohl's shopping center.
The Thruway Authority Board determined that the project qualified for a substantially below market lease because it will be used for a municipal public purpose. For the first two years the payment will be $1 per year as the field will not have been completed. Mayor Otis told MyRye.com the annual rent will be substantially below market value because of the public use and will not exceed $30,000 a year with no escalations. The primary project costs will be the construction of the field.
Initially The Thruway Authority originally offered a mere License but Rye contended that was not practicable. They then suggested ten years but Rye requested a longer term and finally agreed on fifteen years.
The City staff worked with the Mayor and the Thruway Authority in developing initial site surveys, plans for the parcel and background information for the approval. The site will allow the construction of one rectangular playing field that will accommodate soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and football. The City of Rye Recreation Department currently operates nine playing fields.
The initial plan for the site includes a reconfigured intersection at the Boston Post Road and Cedar Street, parking and a restroom. The City will work with user groups, the City of Rye Recreation Commission and the public to raise funds to build the field. With the approval by the Thruway Authority Board now completed, a contract will be drafted by the Thruway Authority staff.
The approval was ratified at the Thruway Authority’s June 25th Board meeting. “The Thruway Authority’s vote culminates a three year effort on our part to lease this field in order to provide another athletic field for the public. We thank the board and staff of the NYS Thruway Authority for their willingness to lease this unused property for municipal use. Their support has been tremendous,”
said Otis. “I also want to thank Rye resident Richard Runes who played a key role in volunteering his time to negotiate the approval of the Thruway Authority.”
The parcel has been sought by the City of Rye as an athletic field since the mid 1990’s. At that time Mayor Ted Dunn sought purchase of the property from the state. Mayor Otis also pursued acquisition of the property in the late 1990’s. At the time the Thruway Authority determined that they did not want to sell the property. Three years ago Mayor Otis began discussions with the Thruway Authority regarding a long-term lease to allow the City to use the field through the City of Rye Recreation Department.