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Private Funders Restore County's Bicycle Sundays

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Friends of Westchester County Parks and Consolidated Edison both awarded the county with $20,000 to help Westchester continue the Bicycle Sundays , which invites bikers to peddle down the closed Bronx River Parkway on spring and summer Sundays.

After the county budget nixed $40,000 in funding for the program, Liz Bracken-Thompson, the Chair of the Friends of Westchester County Parks Board of Trustees, said the organization wanted to help reinstate the “important and iconic parks program.”

“Since 1974, 60,000 Westchester residents annually bike, skate, walk, run and jog along the 13.1 mile round-trip Bronx River Parkway starting here at the Westchester County Center and ending down at Scarsdale Road in Yonkers. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular parks programs,” said Bracken-Thompson, who said Friends of Westchester County Parks board members unanimously voted to create a $20,000 “challenge grant.”

Sandy Miller, also a board member and the director of Westchester Public Affairs at Con Ed, then got the electric company to give another $20,000 and fully fund Bicycle Sundays.

County Executive Robert Astorino , a Republican, said a $114 million budget gap prevented the county from funding Bicycle Sundays, but that he was pleased private entities stepped up to continue the program in 2012.

“We have the good fortune of being here today because our partners at Friends of Parks and Con Edison have showed us how to take an unfortunate necessity and invent a new model for keeping popular programs alive in tough economic times,” said Astorino. “Tax payers were tapped out and there wasn’t enough money in the budget to pay for essential services, let alone the nice-to-haves like Bicycle Sundays,”

Bicycle enthusiast, including, Dino Cummings, welcomed the news of the Bicycle Sunday’s scheduled return next May.

“It’s a great thing, definitely. It’s a great opportunity for people of all riding levels to get out and enjoy bicycle riding,” said Cummings, a Armonk resident who works as the shop manager at Hickory and Tweed, an Armonk bike, ski, and sports store.

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