What to do with some of the trees lining Manorhaven Boulevard dominated a public meeting at Manorhaven Village Hall held by county and village officials seeking community input on traffic safety, road drainage and street landscaping.
Officials said the $3 million revamping project is an opportunity to make the road safer and more aesthetically pleasing, which they hope in turn will attract businesses and spur economic growth.
But most of the hourlong meeting on Wednesday was spent discussing whether the sidewalks can be made compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act without cutting down any trees.
“I appreciate the improvement,” said James Caracciolo, who said he is a village resident and a retired, certified arborist. “But why are the trees always a problem? … This is suburbia. Suburbia is trees.”
Manorhaven Boulevard is a Nassau County road that runs a mile long, from Shore Road to Dunes Lane. Dozens of trees of varying types and sizes adorn the sidewalks along the boulevard.
Some trees outside the Manorhaven Beach Park, which is a North Hempstead Town park abutting the boulevard, encroach on the sidewalk. Officials said that doesn't leave enough room for the county to construct sidewalks wide enough to accommodate those who are in wheelchairs.
Officials said Wednesday that they don’t yet know how many trees would be affected by the project.
Nassau County Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), who represents Manorhaven, said the sidewalk needs to be at least 4 feet wide to meet the ADA requirement.
“You can move away from the trees,” Caracciolo responded, suggesting the county work with North Hempstead to move the park fence line back.
The problem, officials said, is that moving the fence line back would decrease park land, and is unlikely to be done because of laws and regulations protecting park property.
“Park land has special rules,” said Deputy Mayor Priscilla von Roeschlaub. “Because of our laws now, trying to decrease park land is almost impossible.”
Caracciolo, who wasn’t satisfied with the answer, said that is a problem officials are elected to solve.
“We will do the best we can on the tree issue,” Mayor Jim Avena said, promising to revisit the issue at the next scheduled public meeting in a couple of months.
Dominick Masiello, a Manorhaven resident since 1956, raised the issue of drainage on the boulevard.
“All the water from the village empties into the boulevard,” Masiello said. “[When] it starts raining hard, a lot of water sits on the boulevard.”
DeRiggi-Whitton said drainage is among the necessities on her wish list, along with repaving the road, upgrading the sidewalks and adding crosswalks to make the street safer for drivers and pedestrians.
Then there’s the “icing on the cake,” the legislator said, mostly beautification work such as adding nautical-themed benches and green initiatives such as bike lanes.
“By bringing this nautical Hampton feel to Manorhaven, we hope that it’s gonna help with the businesses being attracted to the area,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “This is such an opportunity for growth.”