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Home Government City of Rye Thruway Authority Sells 8.971 Acre Property to Rye Country Day School

Thruway Authority Sells 8.971 Acre Property to Rye Country Day School

(PHOTO: Map shows the 8.971 acres the New York State Thruway Authority is selling to the private Rye Country Day School. The sale was authorized on January 31, 2022.)
(PHOTO: Map shows the 8.971 acres the New York State Thruway Authority is selling to the private Rye Country Day School. The sale was authorized on January 31, 2022.)

(Note: We clarified some of the site’s history in the fourth paragraph. The story has also been updated further.)

Another land use battle in Rye has come to a conclusion.

At a board meeting Monday, the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) authorized the sale of a 8.971 acre property to the private Rye County Day School (RCDS). The property sits across from the school near the Port Chester border and the I-95 and I-287 interchange. The construction of I-95 significantly reduced the size of the RCDS athletic fields over 60 years ago.

The school intends to develop the parcel, which is located across the Boston Post Road from the RCDS campus, into athletic fields and facilities that will be available for use by both RCDS and the public. RCDS Head of School Scott Nelson said: “This is a win-win for RCDS and the surrounding community. We are excited to be creating additional and much-needed athletic facilities for use by RCDS, as well as youth in and around the Rye and Port Chester areas, especially fast-draining, artificial turf fields for use by local soccer, lacrosse and other sports leagues.”

The sale ends years of debate. At one time the City of Rye negotiated the right to lease the property under then Mayor Steve Otis. That never happened. The Thruway Authority first offered to sell the property to the City during Mayor Joe Sack tenure. “In 2016 Mayor Sack told me the City did not have the funds to buy the property and RCDS should buy it,” said RCDS’ Nelson. “As we pursued that possibility, Mayor Sack, who was running for re-election in 2017, changed course and tried to acquire the property for relocation of the City’s DPW.”

In the end, Otis became involved again as a State Assemblyman and helped to advocate for the sale to RCDS (Otis is an alum of the school).

“The big winners will be local youth sports programs that will have additional recreation space at a time when we need more fields for local programs. The community has sought this property for recreation use for decades,” said Assemblyman Otis Monday. “We are now closer to having kids playing on this property from groups like Rye Youth Soccer, Rye Youth Lacrosse and the Rye City School District. The possibility of a new home for the Rye Rangers Youth Hockey program is also an option that has been discussed for part of the property.”

Under the terms authorized by the NYSTA, RCDS would purchase the approximately 9-acre parcel for $5.16 million, which represents fair market value for the property based on two independent appraisals by firms selected by the NYSTA. The development cost for the property is currently estimated to be approximately $30 million. The entire cost of the sale and development will be borne by RCDS. The new facilities will be made available by RCDS for public use approximately 30 percent of the time, pursuant to a shared use agreement adopted by the New York State legislature.

Rye City School District Superintendent Eric Byrne said he was looking forward to the additional access to fields. “I am happy for RCDS that this will finally be happening. Scott Nelson and I speak regularly and I fully support the efforts to bring more space for extracurricular and athletic programing. Not long ago, Scott and I talked about ways that the Rye City School District community will be able to access the facilities for use by our students. I appreciate the relationship with RCDS and look forward to the plans coming to fruition.”

Proposed plans for the parcel have yet to be finalized, but items under consideration include a combination of indoor and outdoor facilities for soccer, lacrosse, track & field, basketball and numerous other sports, as well as open areas, walkways and parking for spectators. The final development plan will be determined by the RCDS Board of Trustees and will be subject to all applicable zoning and other regulations. RCDS hopes to have the facilities ready for the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

Read the sale authorization and background presented at the NYS Thruway Authority meeting Monday.

1 COMMENT

  1. In the early twentieth century, much of this area was the childhood home of Ogden Nash, the sublime poet and humorist. His family’s house was probably sited on the high ground at the northern edge, now bisected by the highway access road. It’s said that Nash’s father was so influential, he could persuade the train driver to pause between Rye and Port Chester stations so that he could hop off and walk home.

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