The Greenburgh Nature Center is a leader in environmental education and is dedicated to its mission to ignite passion, curiosity, and respect for our natural world. This mission is not limited to any one community. We seek to provide an opportunity for all citizens of all communities to enjoy this beautiful 33-acre property located in the heart of lower Westchester County. The Nature Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that impacts nearly 90,000 people every year through various programs and events.
We, as the Board of Directors, want to state that the Greenburgh Nature Center takes absolutely no position for or against the potential incorporation of the Edgemont community. Additionally, we are confident that both the Town of Greenburgh and the citizens of Edgemont want to continue to fully support the Nature Center’s ability to achieve our mission objectives and to provide a memorable nature experience for everyone.
We also recognize that the Nature Center is a single component of a rather complex situation, and it is due to that complexity that we have chosen to provide some clarity regarding our operations. These considerations are purely intended to ensure every person is as well informed as possible regarding the operational needs of the Nature Center:
• The Greenburgh Nature Center enjoys a special relationship with the Edgemont community and its 33-acre park sits squarely within Edgemont’s borders. Edgemont residents comprise over 20% of our membership and about the same percentage of our contributors. Edgemont schools are, by far, the largest users of our school programs.
• The Greenburgh Nature Center has a long-established relationship with the Town of Greenburgh. The Town contributes $337,100 annually to our operating budget, and provides many services that are not accounted for in the budget yet are critical to the Nature Center. These include but are not limited to routine maintenance of buildings and grounds, tree service, and security. The Town also contributes funding and labor for special projects such as renovations to the Nature Center’s Manor House, improvements to animal quarters, and extending water lines to the Center’s Meadow. Over the last three years, the Town of Greenburgh also has contributed nearly $800,000 for essential repairs to the Manor House, and has committed another $75,000 to our new Barn project. We anticipate a 2018 capital appropriation of several hundred thousand dollars more for additional critical repairs to our 100-year old Manor House.
• The Feasibility Study prepared by the Edgemont Incorporation Committee assumes that the Town of Greenburgh might reduce its support for the Nature Center from the Parks and Recreation Department budget by approximately the same percentage as Edgemont taxes contribute to Town revenues (26%). However, the soft costs of the above-mentioned services and site improvements do not appear to have been fully captured, and there is uncertainty at present as to who would provide those.
• As an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Nature Center relies on private donations and other funding for about 70% of its budget. The Nature Center’s staff is not employed nor paid by the Town of Greenburgh.
We want to restate that the Nature Center remains neutral on this issue. The considerations stated above are intended only to ensure that, in any scenario, we can continue to maintain this property and provide an amazing experience for visitors. Maintenance and care come at an expense and effort.
Though the specifics of needed support have not been completely presented to us, we are optimistic all parties will work together to continue the current level of support for this wonderful community-focused institution.
The Greenburgh Nature Center Board of Directors