Public parks are well-used venues. When they are not available for use, there is a void created in the lives of the people who had come to depend on them.
In this issue, we read about changes taking place at two parks located in the Town of Islip: Heckscher State Park in East Islip and the town-owned Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. The former park appears to be readying for a new attraction, cabins that will be rented to individuals and families in the future. The latter is at the beginning of a rebirth after being desecrated by more than 40,000 tons of toxic debris that had been illegally dumped there several years ago. The park had since remained closed.
Once the DEC notified Islip Town that it was safe to reopen Roberto Clemente Park, the area was swept, the old playground equipment was repainted and the ball fields were reseeded. It was not the updated improvements expected, but children have returned to play anyway while the town negotiates for grants to build a new playground and spray park there. Work on a new swimming pool is set to begin this fall. A lot of park promises have been made to the public, and the public is holding the town to follow through and make good on them all.
Recently, in anticipation of building cabins, the hobbyists that had enjoyed an open area of Heckscher State Park to fly their model airplanes learned they’d have to find another location, after meeting there for more than 40 years and investing a lot of money at that site. Fortunately, albeit smaller, the NYS Parks Department came through with another area for them to use. Hopefully, this group will be able to receive the same amenities they had invested in at their original location.
It’s good to see that the people who have depended on these public venues will be able to enjoy them once again. The new spaces might not be perfect, but they’re still good compromises…at least for now.
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