Oyster Bay is footing the bill for a multisport turf field and other improvements to the grounds of a Plainview high school, with the facility to be accessible to students and residents.
The proposed work at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School includes lighting, drainage, a new scoreboard and sound system, and track improvements, town officials said. Preliminary estimates put the cost at $2 million, officials said.
Town board members yesterday voted 7-0 to enter into an intermunicipal agreement with Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District to make the field available, according to the resolution, "for use by Town residents, due to the lack of recreational facilities in the area."
The work is estimated to begin this spring and be done by fall, in time for the start of the Hawks' football season.
Though no speakers criticized the project at the meeting, Supervisor John Venditto said some have slammed such park improvements as unnecessary spending. "A lot of people in the town don't agree with what we're doing. . . . But it's money well spent to protect our quality of life and increase property values," he said, after calling the plan long overdue.
The town's environmental consultant, Hal Mayer, said residents could access the field after 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and all day Sundays during the school year, with hours expanded in summer.
Town Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia, who helped to facilitate the agreement, said many in the community, including parents and sports groups, "are thrilled. It's going to be a win-win-win."
Carol Meschkow, president of the Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community, said the field "leads to a better, healthier lifestyle for everyone."
The latest spending on parks comes despite the town's $834 million overall debt load, according to a borrowing statement issued earlier this month.
In other parks-related town board actions Tuesday, officials approved $502,600 for design and construction inspection services at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay hamlet and $31,000 for drainage improvements, surveying and soil borings at Marino Park, also in the hamlet.
Venditto has fiercely defended town spending on infrastructure as vital to the preservation of the suburban lifestyle, last month saying he was "happy to incur" debt if it meant protecting residents' quality of life.