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The New Rochelle Department of Parks and Recreation is embarking on a Master Plan Update for Ward Acres, the City's largest park.
Designated as a park in 1962, Ward Acres is bounded by Pinebrook Road, Quaker Ridge Road, and Broadfield Road just east of William B. Ward Elementary School. The park is a place of ecological and historic significance for the City of New Rochelle. Its forests, meadows, and streams- spanning 62 acres- create critical habitat for flora and fauna. Not only does the park provide a biodiverse habitat, but during more recent--and what seems like more frequent—storm events, it serves a vital role in storing and absorbing flood water that affected so many residents during the storms of 2021.
The park has a number of distinctive features. Lining the trails and framing the meadows, 7,500 feet of historic stone walls traverse the park and define its spaces. While some of these walls date back as far as the 1600’s, others can be traced to the early 1900’s and are associated with the Horse Barn built in 1906 along Quaker Ridge Road. Look closely and you can see an array of stonewall construction styles that are a snapshot in time, reflecting the immigrant labor and their craftmanship that supported the growth of New Rochelle. The historic railway line running to the north of the park was utilized by the Dickerman and Ward families as part of their horse breeding operations. Traces of the old railway are still visible today as visitors traverse the park’s hiking trails. In addition, Ward Acres Park contains the well-used Paws Place Dog Park and the Ward Acres Community Gardens.
The purpose of the Ward Acres Master Plan update is to develop a hierarchy of capital improvements that the City of New Rochelle can use as a planning tool to preserve and cultivate the park based on its ecological, social, and infrastructural needs and potential. Developed through a feedback loop with community members, the Ward Acres Park Conservancy, and the New Rochelle Parks Department, this effort will provide an updated physical park layout and an implementation phasing strategy as well as an annual maintenance plan.
The Public Meeting on March 15 will begin with a short introductory presentation of the project history and a brief overview of the park. This will be followed by a breakout session with graphic exhibits posted at tables attended by project team members, allowing the public a chance to discuss and provide feedback regarding the park.
For further information please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (914) 654-2087.