GREENS TO GREEN Conservancy

overview

In January 2011, The French American School of New York (FASNY) acquired the former Ridgeway County Club in White Plains, which was no longer financially viable as a private members golf club. FASNY plans to create a sustainable and clustered development with athletic fields for a new unified educational campus on 53 acres of the 131-acre property. The remaining 78 acres have been designated for use as a permanent publicly accessible natural open space.

For more than 30 years, The French-American School of New York (FASNY) has been providing a bilingual, bicultural French and American education to an American, French and international student population from Nursery to Grade 12 at three separate rented campuses in Scarsdale, Larchmont and Mamaroneck. This proposal would bring them to one unified campus.

A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO OPEN SPACE

FASNY created a Task Force of FASNY Board members, parents, and teachers to develop an overall Conservancy Master Plan. The Task Force met on numerous occasions with representatives of nature preserves, outdoor education centers, experts on habitat restoration, and interested White Plains residents. FASNY believes that the design of the Conservancy Master Plan employs a thoughtful, but restrained, approach to open space development and ecological restoration. The principal goal for the design for the Conservancy is the reestablishment of natural habitat types on the property. The promotion of healthy ecosystems on the property would attract wildlife (mostly birds), play a significant role in improving the conditions of the local environment, increase the opportunities for passive recreation and contribute to maintaining the open space character of the neighborhood.

After extensive research, the Conservancy Task Force recommended an approach to the open space that is embodied in the title it created: The Greens to Green Conservancy at FASNY White Plains.

Why Greens to Green?

Greens to Green Conservancy will convert 78 acres of the manicured fairways and ‘greens’ of the former Ridgeway golf course to a natural 'green' environment.

By returning the golf greens to a more natural ecological state, FASNY is being provided with a rare opportunity that we call un-development — the reclamation of the former golf course that has been heavily managed and irrigated over the last 80 years. Upon purchasing the property, FASNY ended these artificial land management practices.

There is a scarcity of publicly accessible and natural ecological open space in lower Westchester. Within a 10-mile radius of FASNY White Plains, there are fewer than 10 public natural open spaces. By comparison, in that same area, there are 32 public and private golf courses (see map).

32 Golf Courses Within 10 Mile Radius

Map

Major Attributes

An approximately 78-acre open space the “Greens to Green Conservancy at FASNY” will be owned, operated, secured and maintained by FASNY, which would enhance the educational mission of FASNY and serve as a local public amenity. The Conservancy would comprise of walking trails, interpretive signage, seating areas, outdoor classrooms, shade structures, enhanced conservation activities and security, a propagation greenhouse, and three small gravel parking areas for 4-6 vehicles. The Conservancy would also include habitat, wetland, and stream restoration, as financially feasible, at different locations. FASNY intends to retain a Conservancy “steward” to coordinate restoration of the habitat areas in alignment with FASNY’s educational mission. FASNY also intends to enter into a permanent, irrevocable conservation easement on the Conservancy that would allow educational uses and minor accessory structures associated with FASNY but prohibit any residential subdivision on the property.