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Westchester County Executive George Latimer has signed into law a Bond Act for the restoration of the Farm House at Merestead Park.  The Bond Act, which totals $1,500,000, also included $400,000 in previously authorized bonds of the County, to finance the capital project which encompasses the Merestead Out Buildings. The Bond Act will finance the cost of additional design, construction and construction administration services associated with the restoration of the Farm House.

The signing of the bond act comes on the heels of a momentous development regarding the Merestead property; a Judge has signed an order lifting and modifying select longstanding restrictions at the County’s request consistent with the intent and purposes of the donors, Dr. Robert Lee Patterson, Jr. and Margaret Sloan Patterson. This landmark decision marked an important advancement for Westchester County, granting greater autonomy over the management of Merestead and unlocking crucial funds for community use.

The Order:

  • Empowers the County with increased control over the park land
  • Releases the majority of funds from trust accounts associated with Merestead for use at Merestead.
  • Establishes a trust account for the remaining funds
  • Enables the County to draw 5% per year for ongoing maintenance and development projects
  • Introduces a Collections Management Policy, providing a structured approach to managing Merestead's valuable assets, including artwork and other items.

Latimer said: “The lifting of these restrictions and the release of funds means that Westchester County can now finally moved forward on initiatives aimed at enhancing Merestead’s facilities and services. This decision signifies a significant step forward in our efforts to preserve and enhance Merestead for future generations. We pledge to uphold Mrs. Margaret Sloane Patterson’s vision for her family home, while guaranteeing that Merestead continues to thrive as a lively cultural and recreational hub for the community.”

Senator Peter Harckham said: “This is a major step in preserving Merestead’s legacy for future generations. This investment will honor the Patterson family’s vision while ensuring Merestead flourishes as a vibrant cultural and recreational center. Congratulations to Westchester County and thank you all who made this possible.”

Board of Legislators Chairman Vedat Gashi said: “This marks a significant moment for both Merestead and the residents of Westchester County. I want to congratulate County Legislator Erika Pierce and former County Legislator Kitley Covill for their truly unwavering dedication to Merestead and the people of Westchester County. I also want to thank County Executive George Latimer for always seeing the potential in this property.”

County Legislator Erika Pierce said: “This is a tremendous moment for Merestead and for the residents of Westchester County. Westchester began the important process of restoring the park when we began enveloping the Mansion in 2020. But we really needed to lift some of the restrictions that kept us from identifying and moving forward with uses, collaborative opportunities and initiatives before we could truly move forward with making Merestead a real resource for area residents. With this resolution in hand, the establishment of a new Merestead Friends group and work moving forward on the Historic Farm House, the future for Merestead is looking bright indeed.”

Former County Legislator Kitley Covill said: “Today marks a significant milestone for Merestead, the Conservancy Board, the County Parks Department, the family, the local community and Westchester County at large. I extend my gratitude to County Executive George Latimer and County Legislator Erika Pierce for their dedication to safeguarding Merestead's rich history and for recognizing the immense potential this cherished park embodies. I look forward to watching Merestead bloom!”

Bedford Town Supervisor Ellen Calves said: “We are thrilled to see the restoration work of the historic assets able to continue at Merestead, and we look forward to having this park as a beautiful place for neighbors and residents to enjoy.”  

Bedford Town Historian John Stockbridge said: “New York State's move to transfer Merestead to County management marks a significant turning point, unlocking resources to breathe new life into the neglected 1860 farmhouse. The farmhouse was built over forty years before the Merestead Mansion was constructed. For over one hundred and sixty years It has provided the town with an agrarian treasure with its roadside location and beautiful supporting landscapes. It must be saved, and now will be restored and preserved.”

Merestead Conservancy President Jacques Boubli said: “I join my amazing colleagues on the Merestead Conservancy Board of Directors in celebrating the recent settlement and all those who played a role in making it happen. It took a village! None of this would have been possible without the dedication of former County Legislator Kitley Covill and John Stockbridge, and the leadership and support of County Executive George Latimer, his team, and the Westchester County Parks Department. The Merestead Conservancy looks forward to all the exciting things that lie ahead at Merestead, and sharing this treasure with our fellow residents and beyond.”

Merestead Family Member Nancy Sevcenko said: “I am delighted that a way has been found for Westchester County to move ahead with long-term plans for Merestead.  The plans perfectly align with my mother's vision for Merestead yet adapts it to the modern era, as I know she would have wanted. Many people have been involved in this process, and I thank each and every one of them - especially County Executive George Latimer, former County Legislator Kitley Covill, County Legislator Erika Pierce, the County's lawyers and Rebecca Gideon - for their faith in Merestead's viability as a County Park, and for the long work hours they have devoted to making this possible.  It is my hope that new ideas and projects for Merestead - agricultural, cultural and historical - will arrive eagerly tumbling over themselves, and that the residents of Westchester County and points beyond will find the place as beautiful and soul-nourishing as it was for my mother.”

The County Attorney’s office extended appreciation to the State Attorney General's office, a statutory party obligated to enforce the rights of the ultimate charitable beneficiaries of charitable gifts in the context of the relief requested by the County, for their guidance throughout the process. The County also thanks Judge David Everett's law secretary, Michael Wright, for his mediation efforts in facilitating resolution between the County and the Attorney General’s office.

Merestead, Scottish for farmland, is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties. It is the former estate of William Sloane (1873-1922) who was president of W & J Sloane, and his daughter Margaret Sloane Patterson (1910-2000). The 130-acre estate consists of farmland, woods, gardens, and buildings including a 1906 Georgian Revival house designed by architects Delano and Aldrich. Margaret Sloane Patterson and her husband Dr. Robert L. Patterson, Jr. bequeathed Merestead to the County of Westchester, New York to be used as a park and historic house museum. Merestead became a Westchester County Park with the passing of Margaret on August 3, 2000.