RYE, N.Y. -- Rye is still deciding what to do with the plot of land on the corner of Central Avenue and Boston Post Road, though officials are leaning towards restoring it as a park.
During the construction of the Central Avenue bridge, the former park space was used to house construction equipment. When construction was completed in September, gravel was put down, the area was roped off and it has remained undeveloped. There had been some discussion within the city of whether it should be restored as a park space, or used as a parking lot for nearby businesses.
"When the weather warms up, my inclination is that we should return it to a park that it has been for decades and decades," said Mayor Joe Sack.
No final decisions have been made, and Sack said it would be best to wait until the construction at nearby 2 Central Ave. is completed and officials can have a better look at the area. Sack said he also wanted to have more discussions between the City Council and the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Commission.
In 1967 Christ's Church leased the property to the city to be used as a park and trailway for the nearby Rye Nature Center. The Rye Conservation Society also gave money to the city to develop the space into a park, according to Doug Carey, former chair of the Recreation Commission. The church sold the space to the city in 1977 for $1.
According to articles that appeared in the Rye Chronicle in 1976, there were some reported issues of drug use by youths in the park. One 19 year-old died in 1976, and two other teens were rushed to the hospital after reportedly overdosing on drugs at the park. In 1976 the city council ordered that the benches be removed from the park, and that the city's Youth Council establish programs to assist youths with drug issues.
Council member Laura Brett said that the Landmarks Committee is trying to secure an old mile-marker that has been at the site of United Hospital. She said that if the marker is returned, one possibility could be to place it at the park.