When Kathy Feeney moved to Mount Kisco in 1990, she figured it would be a short stay. It was the first time on her own after college, and she reasoned that the apartment she shared with roommates at Diplomat Towers was going to be a quick stopover until it was time to go someplace else.
Two decades later, not only does Feeney still live in the village, but she’s one of its biggest supporters. Last summer, Feeney, a realtor for Keller Williams, started her own Web site called Best of Kisco to help other residents and visitors learn of all the hidden gems that make life special in the diverse community.
Between her background in real estate and as a self-described “eco-nut,” she also gives tips on how to make improvements to your house, particularly to convert to more energy-efficient uses; contributes other environmentally related pieces; and writes just about anything else that crosses her mind or that she finds in the village.
“I really have no angle,” she said of her site (www.bestofkisco.wordpress.com). “I just wanted an opportunity to let people know how great Mount Kisco is and hey, yeah, if they’re looking for a house I hope they look me up.”
A big factor that kept Feeney in Mount Kisco was being able to move around without a car. It’s one of the few communities in Westchester where that can be done easily. When it was time for her to buy a house for the first time, the value for the taxes beat out many of the communities in the area.
As much as Feeney, an eight-year member of the village’s Recreation Commission, loves to impart her knowledge to others about Mount Kisco, writing the blog doesn’t come easily.
“When I would talk to people they would say, ‘That’s such a great idea. Can you tell me how to do it?’ Feeney said of the impetus behind the blog. “I’m not a writer at all and it takes me a long time to write stuff. It’s not easy, but I do try getting ideas out there to help people.”
Feeney spent most of her childhood in the Bronx before her family moved to Eastchester while she was in high school. After graduating from Iona College with a psychology degree, she worked for the next 15 years as a life-skills teacher for mentally handicapped adults employed by several Westchester agencies. She still teaches occasional classes.
“I still have my foot in the door, but I was just burnt out after 15 years,” Feeney explained. “I had what is called dual diagnosed (people), where they were mentally handicapped but also they were schizophrenic. It was rewarding but it got to where I just didn’t enjoy it anymore.”
But Feeney, a single mom with a 14-year-old adopted daughter, had always been intrigued by houses. She would find homes for friends who were house hunting and they would ask her advice about improvements they could make. About five years ago, Feeney, who grew up in apartments, decided to pursue her passion and work toward her realtors license.
“Maybe because we didn’t have a house and it was the American Dream and I always wanted that,” she said of her interest. “Also, with the eco-friendly stuff, I only started on that because my parents were products of the Great Depression. We were poor so you had to make do. We were doing it when it wasn’t fashionable.”
Although her timing may not have been great with the 2008 implosion of the housing market, things have been looking brighter lately. Feeney concentrates mainly on Mount Kisco properties. Today, the market for homes in the under $500,000 range is picking up, she said, but more importantly, people want value for their dollar.
“People are opting for smaller, more energy-efficient houses, or houses that they can convert to energy efficient,” Feeney said. “They’re saving the environment, they’re saving the cash in their pocket, and that’s terrific.”
So what are some of Mount Kisco’s treasures? According to Feeney, aside from the comparatively low taxes, there’s Leonard Park where one can golf Frisbee; the explosion of restaurants in the past few years; a movie theater; a municipal pool; excellent schools—it has all the comforts of city life growing up that Feeney is familiar with.. only better. Now she gets to write about her home village and hopefully assist some of her neighbors along the way.
“I’m happy here and I’m just writing about my experiences,” she said.