WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- District One County Legislator John G. Testa (R-Peekskill) was named the board representative to the citizen-led Westchester County Parks Recreation and Conservation Board.
Testa will replace Legislator Peter Harckham after a unanimous, 17-0 vote of his colleagues. Testa said he looked forward to being an advocate for parks, conservation and the preservation of historic sites.
"I believe that Westchester County's open spaces, parks and historic sites are one of the true treasures that we have been blessed with and I am honored by the opportunity to help in the stewardship of those resources," Testa said.
Testa said he was chosen for the position due to his background in conservation and restoring park lands as both former mayor of Peekskill and now as a county legislator.
"I was able to acquire an additional 40 acres at Fort Hill," Testa said. "Last year I helped get long overdue paving in George's Island and Blue Mountain Preserve, where the roads were in deplorable conditions."
Several buildings at Blue Mountain will also be renovated due to funding he helped acquire several months ago, Testa said.
As mayor of Peekskill he also oversaw the renovations of Franklin Park, Depew Park, Lepore Park, Riverfront Green, Tompkins Ball field and the historic restoration of the Paramount Center for the Arts.
Since being elected to the county Legislature Testa, a longtime history teacher at Peekskill High School, has fought for funding to improve county parks such as Blue Mountain Preserve in Peekskill and George’s Island in Montrose.
Testa said he is particularly proud of the purchase and rehabilitation of the Lincoln Depot in his native Peekskill, where the 16th president addressed city residents on the way to his inauguration in 1861. Testa oversaw the fundraising and coordinated the efforts to rehab the train depot and is currently working to establish a museum and visiting center on the site.
"The city has delayed the building of the visitor center so we had to run the utilities directly to the museum, which should be all be completely installed by the end of the month, so it should be a busy summer down there," Testa said.