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Mount Vernon's famed Memorial Field reopens, to host high school football action on Saturday

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- After nightmarish delays and construction costs that ballooned to $40 million, a field of dreams is finally open again in southern Westchester County.

CBS2's Tony Aiello has more on the struggle to renovate Mount Vernon's famed Memorial Field.

Glittering in the mid-September sun, it's hard to remember that just four years ago the field, which has been so rich in history, was in ruins.

It's where, 33 years ago, "Mean" Joe Greene filmed one of the all-time great Super Bowl ads.

"It was the best stadium in the county," Mount Vernon native Bob D'Avanzo said.

FLASHBACKWestchester to build new Memorial Field in Mount Vernon

On Wednesday, D'Avanzo wore his old semi-pro football jersey and carried a book of memories from his playing days at the field, as the ribbon was cut to celebrate Memorial Field's long-delayed reopening.

James McMillian runs a youth football program that was forced to move when the crumbling facility closed in 2009.

"They told me then I would be back in two years. Now, it's 2023," McMillian said.

At times, the delays on the project seemed insurmountable. There was the discovery of toxic soil buried at the site, and the toxic political environment in New York's eighth-largest city.

One mayor after another undid work started by their predecessor.

"Changes of designs. Changes of concepts. Decisions that had been wrong. Decisions that had been right," said Darren Morton, Mount Vernon's comptroller.

In 2018, County Executive George Latimer, a Mount Vernon native, brokered a deal for Westchester to take control of construction. That move resulted in a playing field, track, tennis courts, and a skate park that will benefit generations to come.

"Where we celebrate the incredible and the undeniable persistent and overcoming and resilient spirit of Mount Vernon," Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said.

The hurdles were many, but now Memorial Field is ready to host the high school football game between Mount Vernon and Yonkers on Saturday.

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