Nassau County has scrapped plans to build a laboratory in Eisenhower Park to test the strength of asphalt, steel and other materials used in county building following complaints by Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, whose legislative district includes the East Meadow park.
The county now plans to build the lab in either Hicksville or Wantagh.
Newsday first reported on Aug. 9 that Nassau planned to spend $2.5 million to build the 5,300-square-foot, one-story Material Testing Lab behind the Department of Public Works facility and maintenance buildings on the east side of the park.
Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said the story sparked concern from constituents in her district, who argued that the lab does not belong in Eisenhower "because it's not for a parks use." Gonsalves said she called staffers to County Executive Edward Mangano, a fellow Republican, and urged the administration to relocate the facility.
"I made a forceful argument that this was not a suitable place for the lab," she said.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said "after further discussions, a decision was made to evaluate the Department of Public Works yard in Hicksville and Cedar Creek maintenance area for location of this facility rather than in Eisenhower Park's facilities area."
Administration officials said Eisenhower Park was originally selected because it's centrally located and the park had open space for the facility.
The lab will contain offices for five employees and be used to test and inspect rebar, asphalt, concrete, wire and paint for county projects. It will not be used to test for asbestos or mold, officials said.
Nassau will seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for the lab, which replaces a building located near the Bay Park sewage treatment plant in East Rockaway that was destroyed in superstorm Sandy, said public works department spokesman Mike Martino.
Construction is expected to begin late this fall and be completed within a year.