Building a Community Nature Center at Baldwin Farm
Secluded in the Woodcrest Heights neighborhood on Hall Avenue in White Plains, sits the 18.5 acre specialty park, Baldwin Farm. The grounds are best known for their community garden plots, which allow residents who might not have land of their own to exercise their green thumb. Perhaps lesser known is that in recent years, Baldwin Farm has become largely overgrown, infested with poison ivy and non-native plants, and used for illegal dumping.
White Plains Mayoral candidate, Milagros Lecuona, has a vision to restore the area to a sustainable ecological habitat of native plant species and more diverse wildlife, to expand the community garden plots, and to build a place for new educational, recreational and cultural opportunities. Baldwin Farm can be transformed into a new Nature Center that fosters increased environmental protection awareness, reconnects the community to our natural and historic roots and creates new science-based cultural facilities for residents.
In 2013, with more than 30 years of professional experience as a trained architect and urban planner, Milagros designed a proposal and the renderings for an environmental development project at Baldwin Farm that honors its historical relevance and celebrates its natural beauty. She presented it to the White Plains Mayor at that time.
Her recommendations include:
Nature Center with a species identification program;
Habitat restoration for birds, butterflies and bees, including adding beehives;
Daylighting of the stream, that is, redirecting it to a more natural state and adding a bridge and walking path;
Seasonal crops for pumpkin picking and apple picking;
Farming activities, such as a chicken coop for fresh eggs and maple syrup extraction programs;
Composting area to reduce landfill waste and produce rich, fertile soil for expanded community garden plots;
The new Center would also include plenty of covered and tree-shaded sitting areas for recreational and instructional purposes, as well as appropriately placed parking areas to avoid cars building up along neighborhood streets.
Councilwoman Lecuona gained broad support for this design in 2013 from EcoNeighbors, a group of environmentally-conscience artists in White Plains. Members of the Sustainable White Plains Committee—for which she is currently Chair—also voted unanimously to support this proposal. In addition to presenting to the Mayor, engineers from the Department of Public Works in White Plains were also given a copy of the plans to begin assessing for feasibility. Yet, the proposal has not moved forward at City Hall, a now all too familiar story from the current Administration.
This is just one of many plans Milagros has that will improve the community in White Plains. As Mayor, she will stand up for White Plains families, neighborhoods, workers and small businesses. It is time to change business as usual at City Hall.
Let’s build a better White Plains, together.
Lecuona for White Plains
269 Old Mamaroneck Road
White Plains NY 10605 United States