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Babylon Village dedicates restored Argyle Falls to late mayor, Ralph Scordino

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Community members, local officials, and family and friends of the late Babylon Village Mayor Ralph Scordino gathered Sunday at the newly named Ralph A. Scordino Memorial Falls at Argyle Lake, which has been renovated and restored to its former glory for future generations to enjoy.

One of Scordino’s final projects as mayor before his tragic death in October 2020 was spearheading the restoration project of the falls.

At the dedication ceremony two years later, attendees took the opportunity to pay tribute to Scordino, his 71 years of life and 33-year-long career as a public servant for Babylon Village.

“Mayor Scordino’s wish came true for Argyle Falls and that’s the best wish one can deliver — we did it, Ralph, it’s completed,” said Babylon Village Mayor Mary Adams. “If I only had known the last time would be the last time, I would have put off all the things I had to do, I would have stayed a little longer, held on a little tighter, and what I would give for one more day with you.”

In addition to leading the charge of the restoration of Argyle Lake, some of the mayor’s other notable accomplishments included earning an environmentalist of the year award for his support of Save the Great South Bay, creating a fish passage at Argyle Lake, expanding the area’s stormwater drainage program, forming an accountable Village government, and many more.

However, his wife Linda Scordino noted that under all his career and civic accomplishments, her husband was souch more than just his extensive resume.

Underneath the many signature caps he wore, he was someone who treated every person he met like family.

For example, he would receive calls from local senior citizens with questions or concerns and end up engaging in long conversations with them.

“He knew they were by themselves and just needed to talk to someone, so he talked to them. Many told him he was the only person they had spoken to that day,” she said. “He made it his business to know who needed him and he was there for them.”

Linda mentioned one particular time four young men came into his office with a neighbor complaint. The neighbor was a recent widow, alone with children, and the men said the property was unkempt.

“They looked up the codes and knew Ralph could give her a summons, and they wanted him to do that,” Linda Scordino said. “He was furious — he told them they took up the time to organize this meeting, look up the codes, and wanted him to summons this woman who obviously needed help…He said he would not summons her and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Ralph Scordino found a way to help the woman, Linda Scordino said. And the woman never received a summons.

He was a true leader, peacemaker, and a man who was not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get things done, other speakers said. He strived to help others the best way he could, and was truly “Mr. Babylon,” through and through.

During the speeches, the hundreds of attendees stationed along the Argyle Falls looked on and listened intently. Some got emotional hearing the heartfelt stories about Ralph Scordino.

His two young granddaughters, Ava Marie and Olivia Grace, told the crowd how important their grandfather was to them and how special it is to honor him.

“It was sad when he died, but we all have to know that he is in a very good place,” Ava said. “When I heard that he died, I was like maybe God needed a new mayor because the old mayor was just too much… I know we miss him a lot, but we have to know he is still in our hearts no matter what.”

The ceremony also honored two long-time Babylon Village residents and generous donors: Theresa Santman and the late J. Stanley Foster.

Both received plaques alongside Ralph Scordino for their contributions to the village over the years.

Santman, who lives on Cedar Lane, stepped up with a $200,000 donation to help put the Argyle Falls renovation on the right track.

Argyle Park has been a central feature of Babylon Village for nearly two centuries. Foster anonymously approached the Village Board with an offer to gift the private lake property to Babylon Village in late 1921.

Foster gifted the park as a memorial to his fellow veterans of World War I and in 1922, the Village Board deemed the park Babylon Memorial Park.

Scroll down to view photos from the dedication ceremony of the Ralph A. Scordino Memorial Falls at Argyle Lake.

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