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Board Approves $2 Million for Restoration of Merestead Property

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White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators this week approved $2.05 million in funding to repair Merestead, a county park located in the Town of Bedford and Mount Kisco, Legislator Kitley Covill (D - Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) announced.


The money will be used to protect the 1907 mansion on the property -- including building a new roof -- and to move and store the contents of the house during construction, securing the mansion and its contents for future county use.


The 130-acre Merestead property – including the 28-room Georgian mansion and a substantial art collection and library – was deeded to the county in 1982.  Westchester took full possession of the property in 2002.


Leg. Covill thanked the Board, the Parks Department and the County Executive’s office for their role in moving this project forward. She said, “This property has so much potential. We are saving this building and I look forward to seeing Merestead used by our communities.”


Bedford Town Supervisor Chris Burdick said, “I am delighted that the County is taking significant first steps to preserve and protect this glorious and stately mansion. We are grateful for Legislator Covill’s perseverance and tenacity, which is responsible for securing the funding.”


Nancy Sevcenko, daughter of Margaret Sloane Patterson and Dr. Robert Lee Patterson Jr., who gave the property to the County, expressed her pleasure at the news.  She said,  “I am just thrilled. . . This is truly a milestone.”


The house has fallen into great disrepair in the last decade and a 19th century farmhouse on the property is is no longer inhabitable. Roofs in multiple buildings have failed, causing internal damage and putting artwork at risk.  The property needs water and waste service brought up to current code, and an entrance bridge is in need of repairs so that the buildings can be reopened to public use.


The long needed repairs funded by this legislation will protect Merestead and its contents, and represents the first critical step in returning this county asset to community use.

 


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ABOUT MERESTEAD

Merestead is a Westchester County park, is located in Town of Bedford and Mount Kisco. It comprises a neo-Georgian country mansion, designed by Delano and Aldrich and built in 1907, and twelve additional outer buildings, including an historic farmhouse (1850), carriage house and barn, all on a 130-acre property with woodlands and rolling fields, tucked in the hills overlooking the surrounding valley. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Merestead property is the former estate of Mrs. Margaret Sloane Patterson, daughter of William Douglas Sloane, a president of the furniture company W and J Sloane, and her husband Dr. Robert Lee Patterson Jr., a prominent orthopaedic surgeon in New York City. Merestead features a 28-room Georgian mansion with gardens designed by Salter and Sanger in the early 20th century. The mansion has a substantial art collection and library. In 1982, the Pattersons deeded the property to Westchester County, and upon Mrs. Patterson’s death in August of 2000, Westchester took full possession of the property.


The property has historic value to the surrounding community and great potential as a county park and community resource. Currently, it is used for hiking, occasional public concerts and tours. The Pattersons had, in 1967 and 1973, already deeded portions of their original estate, including a parcel given to the Nature Conservancy and another which led to the creation of the nearby Marsh Sanctuary, before deeding the remainder of the estate to the county for use as a park. Outdoor pursuits, as well as the arts, were important to the Pattersons.  Potential uses for the 130-acre, multiple-building site may include both artistic and educational projects, as well as agricultural education and outdoor passive recreation.

 

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