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Mount Vernon City Council Candidates Debate Memorial Field's Future

Memorial Field is a hotbed topic in Mount Vernon.
Memorial Field is a hotbed topic in Mount Vernon. Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – If there’s one campaign promise that all seven City Council candidates agree upon, it’s that something needs to be done to renovate and resuscitate Memorial Field.

Memorial Field, which was built in the late 1920s, has been out of commission for several years, while local politicians have debated what should be done to help make the field a thriving location in the city once again.

A renovation was a promise from five years ago that never made it mast the initial planning stages. In April, Mayor Ernest Davis outlined a plan that called for a transition to turf fields, updated stands and bathrooms, as well as a tennis bubble.

Candidate Marcus Griffith, a former City Council member, said that the problem with the original plan was that it didn’t move along swiftly enough.

“There’s no trouble with the vision for Memorial Field, it just has to be done in phases,” he said. “First thing we have to do is get the field open for the people. We can worry about the stands, money and revenue later.”

Incumbent Democrat Yuhanna Edwards said that politics were to blame for the original plan’s failure. He advocates that an eight-lane track should be built, with as many as three tennis courts being taken out. An eight-lane track would allow Memorial Field to host sanctioned events that could not be held on an unofficial six-lane track.

“Mount Vernon is its own worst enemy. We need more consistency going forward,” he said. “We have to get out of our own way, it was politics that derailed it the first time.”

Damaris Mone and Damon Jones seconded the notion of an official eight-lane track, with Mone adding that with the track, there would be another source of recreation for children.

“We need an eight-lane track because it’s regulation,” Jones added. “If someone breaks a world record on a six-lane track, we have to throw it away because it’s not regulation. We can compromise. We don’t need that many tennis courts, so we can cut back and still have an eight-lane track. It’s about the betterment of the city.”

Incumbent Roberta Apuzzo is a big proponent of more tennis courts, claiming that they were earning $50,000 per year from the tennis bubble before it was torn down.

“We could have had revenue coming into the city to this day,” she said. “The tennis center never had to close. Kids came from all over to play, and they want, and we need them to come back.”

Edwarda, Apuzzo, Griffith, Mone and Jones, along with Andre Bailey, Maria Caraballo, are running in the Democratic primary on Sept, 10, to fill three seats on the council.

What do you think is the best option for Memorial Field? Continue the discussion in the comments section below.

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