BEDFORD, N.Y. — Bedford Parks Superintendent Bill Heidepriem says the residents of Bedford deserve a voice when it comes to their parks. They will soon have another opportunity to use that voice when the Bedford Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee unveils the Katonah Memorial Park and Zema property master plan.
The process to develop the plan began last year, and employees and community groups were given the chance to weigh in during numerous meetings. Now on March 21 at the Town House, the Recreation and Parks Department and its advisory committee will host a presentation of the plan by project consultant Stuart F. Mesinger of the Chazen Cos., the landscape architecture firm that conducted the study that helped develop the plan.
“I think whether developing a park or developing programs you want to be responsive to the residents, and I think we do that," Heidepriem said. "We don’t always make people happy, but for the most part we are pretty open to input.”
The residents "are the ones who use the park, and they pay for the maintenance of the park facilities, and they deserve that voice,” he said.
The build-up to the presentation of the master plan included public forums with neighbors of the Zema property, a 9-acre piece of land purchased by the town, which abuts the park, as well as many site visits by parks department officials as well as interviews with the staff who maintain the property.
Heidepriem said that when a park borders a residential area, there is always the chance that what is conceptually conceived by town officials and landscape designers may not be accepted by the neighbors, or by all user groups, and that part of the process is to strike a balance. He said the Katonah plan tries to minimize the impact on the neighbors.
“I can’t expect a 100 percent buy-in, and I think everybody needs to be heard,” Heidepriem said.
He said this next meeting is just another opportunity for people to express their concerns or opposition and to ask questions after having read through the plan, which was posted on the town website on March 12.
The park is on the top of a hill on a mostly wooded site and has amenities that include tennis courts, a pool, a playground and platform courts. Since a portion of the trail system connects to neighborhoods, the study assessed potential access points for the trail. The plan also attempts to solve issues with drainage.