capitalicerinkOct. 13, 2016 - Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino will send to the Board of Legislators on Friday a proposed 2017 capital budget that would invest $303 million to improve and maintain the county’s parks, roads, bridges, buildings and technology infrastructure.

The proposed spending plan, which represents a nine percent increase over the current budget, is designed to take advantage of low-cost borrowing made possible by historically low interest rates and the county’s excellent credit rating, which is the highest of any county in the state. More than a third of the capital spending for 2017 is dedicated for parks.

In addition to enhancing and preserving vital resources, the proposed capital budget will create approximately 3,000 jobs, providing an important economic stimulus to the local economy.

“The capital budget works on a number of levels,” said Astorino. “It maintains vital infrastructure like bridges and roads, it invests in our parks, and it creates jobs, all of which elevate Westchester’s quality of life. The budget is also a positive reflection on the management of the county’s finances. Our stellar credit rating allows us to think smart, accelerate projects and save money at the same time.”

The single biggest portion of the budget – $110 million or just over 35 percent – would upgrade recreation facilities across the county through initiatives like the recently announced plan to make Kensico Dam Plaza a year-round destination by restoring the park’s giant reflecting pool and fountains for use in the warm weather months and adding hockey and free-skating rinks for fall and winter that will feature one of the largest refrigerated ice surfaces in the United States. Approximately half of the 720-foot by 135-foot reflecting pool would be covered with ice.

The rink and cascading fountains can be viewed in a 3-D video.

The 2017 proposed capital budget includes $11 million to finish the Kensico project: $2.5 million to complete the work underway to refurbish the giant reflecting pool, which is big enough to hold two and a half football fields, and restore the cascading fountains, which have been shut for 10 years and can shoot water 30 feet in the air; $4.2 million for the skating facility, which features a regulation size hockey rink (200 feet by 85 feet) and a one-third of a mile ice track that loops around the perimeter; and $4 million for a maintenance facility .

Astorino cited the Kensico initiative as a prime example of how projects can be accelerated and combined. “It is just common sense for us to do the rink and reflecting pool at the same time because the piping and plumbing all has to be coordinated,” said Astorino. “Fortunately, our strong financial foundation lets us do that. And by getting the work started early next year, we could have skating in November in time for the 100th anniversary of the Kensico Dam.”

Other capital improvement projects designated for county parks include:

  • $14 million for Glen Island
  • $12 million for the County Center
  • $ 9 million for Blue Mountain Reservation
  • $5 million for the North and South County Trailways

The proposed capital budget’s second biggest allocation is for buildings and infrastructure; $72 million for 51 projects. Those projects include:

  • $20.5 million for IT improvements, which includes $8 million for the radio system replacement project that upgrades mission critical radio capablities for police and emergency services
  • $12.5 million for affordable housing
  • $8.2 million for infrastructure improvements in our labs, including for alternative energy systems
  • $8.1 million for improvements to the county’s White Plains facilities
  • $7.31 million for infrastructure improvements at the jail

Roughly $50 million, spread over eight projects, is slated for parkways, roads and bridges. Those projects include:

  •  $18.6 million for 3 county owned bridges
  •  $17 million for the Bronx River Parkway improvements
  •  $7.2 million for Columbus Avenue in Mount Pleasant
  •  $5 million for the Road and Bridge Urgent Repair Program, a rapid response initiative to repair pot holes and pave roadways

Environmental projects to improve sewers and water have a proposed cost of $41 million for 14 projects, which include:

  • $23.2 million for improvements to the Yonkers Joint Waste Water Treatment Plant Resource Recovery Facility
  • $6.1 million to improve pumping stations county wide
  • $5.6 million for improvements to the Mamaroneck Water Resource Recovery Facility
  • $4 million for the Port Chester Waste Water Treatment Plant Resource Recovery Facility

The Westchester County Airport is slated for $11 million in improvements, including an upgrade of the storm water management program.