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Mercy College to Give $20K Back to Dobbs Ferry

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Mercy College President Dr. Kimberly Cline told the Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees Thursday night that the school would return $20,000 to the community after longstanding disputes about use of the campus' tennis courts.

"We don't want to have this strife with the community so it just makes sense for us to return the money and start fresh," Cline said.

Joe Schaefer, the Mercy College chief operating officer, said a few years back the college and the village had worked out a deal in regards to tennis courts on Mercy's campus.

"Back in 2004 the college had worked with the village to resurface some of the courts and the village had contributed $20,000 to that," Schaefer said. "And through that agreement there was the ability for the village to utilize the courts. It was something under a previous administration."

But Dobbs Ferry resident Sue Sussman said she doesn’t think that deal never really worked out for locals looking to utilize the courts.

"All of a sudden you have to pay $50 an hour," she said.

Cline, who has been the president of Mercy College for the past three and a half years, and Schaefer seemingly tried to diffuse any tension between the school and the community.

"We're not looking to have this pay for play situation that was created in some way, shape or form," Schaefer said. "I think what we're looking to do is just have a working relationship to make sure people can use the courts when they need to and other athletic facilities."

Dobbs Ferry mayor Hartley Connett drew a few laughs from the crowd as he paused and then accepted the $20,000 on behalf of the village. He said Dobbs Ferry "should be a college town" but that he would do what was necessary for the community.

"We are going to protect the interests of our residents," he said.

Although some residents remain skeptical of the school's intentions, Connett said progress has been made.

"The more we can get Mercy College involved in Dobbs Ferry the better," he said. "I think that (Mercy is) really moving in the right direction."

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