After years of neglect, the dilapidated Elmont Road Park has undergone a $3 million renovation and reopened for the community.
Hempstead Town officials reopened the park last week, which included improvements as part of a community benefits agreement with the New York Islanders and the New York Arena Partners.
New York Arena Partners is the development team behind the UBS Arena at Belmont Park, a partnership that includes the Islanders, the Oak View Group and Jeff Wilpon's Sterling Project Development. Working with the state's Empire State Development, the developers agreed to renovate Elmont Road Park. The benefits agreement also included lighting improvements at Hendrickson Avenue Park in Elmont.
Renovations at Elmont included a $1 million drainage project, upgraded basketball courts with new nets, new playground equipment and a splash park, a walking path, additional lighting and a shuffleboard court transformed into an adult fitness area. It also includes a multiuse sports field and scoreboard, officials said.
Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) said community members have been advocating for decades to renovate the park, which had become prone to flooding, disrepair and a trouble spot for illicit activity.
She said the town failed to invest in the park, allowing one of the community's major parks to become a blighted spot in the community off Elmont Road, north of the Southern State Parkway.
"The baseball fields became a pond. The field was dirty and there were holes in the basketball court. It was disgusting," Solages said. "It was important for us to get a park and an outdoor community center for our kids to go and play and have fun. This was our opportunity to get major renovations done. It's a better place than it once was."
Town Board members approved an access agreement in 2019 for developers to start surveying park improvements.
Improvements to the park were suggested by a community advisory committee but construction, which began in July 2021, was delayed by the pandemic, with equipment stalled in the supply chain, officials said.
Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said the town was committed to reopening the park, along with repaving courts at Hendrickson park and adding turf baseball fields and courts at nearby Averill Boulevard Park in Franklin Square.
The Elmont Road Park's opening was delayed after Clavin said additional work was needed to address safety concerns, such as exposed wires on light poles and trip-and-fall hazards that needed to be fixed. Clavin said final improvements were finished last week, ahead of a hot weekend and before school ended for the summer.
"I think the goal was to get it open before school ended and we got it done," Clavin said. "The reaction has been great and we're putting smiles on children's faces. Parks have been a major focus and we're putting millions in parks around the town. I think that's really important for residents, and people want to be outside."
State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), whose district includes part of Elmont next to the park, said green spaces and parks need to be maintained.
"To see a park in such disrepair was really heartbreaking and I thought it was great for the Arena Partners to redo the park to give back to the community," she said. "I'm happy to see they made good on their promise."
Elmont Road Park
- Reopened June 17 at 755 Elmont Road
- $3 million improvements by the New York Arena Partners, the Islanders and Empire State Development
- $1 million in drainage improvements, new basketball courts, fields and playground equipment