Recent improvements to a Farmingdale park are due to the perseverance and dedication of a Girl Scout.
Ashley Tarricone, 18, and Oyster Bay Town officials recently unveiled the upgrades made to Park F-3 that were partly funded with money she raised for her Gold Award project. The award is the highest a Girl Scout can earn.
"I grew up down the street from the park and used to play there when I was a little girl," she said. “It’s a safer place for the local community to play.”
The park improvements include a new playground, hopscotch court, picnic benches, plantings, four-square ball court and an improved basketball court.
Tarricone came up with the project idea after she said she noticed the park on Dorsett Lane had deteriorated over the years. The park started to become dangerous to parents and children, she said. The metal playground equipment would get hot in the summer, and there was a sinkhole in the middle of the basketball court, she said.
Tarricone made a presentation in 2016 and later approached the town board for help to restore the park. Tarricone raised $800 toward the work and the town funded the rest of the project. Town employees completed the work, which was publicly unveiled on Nov. 14.
"These improvements are things that every resident in the area will benefit from," Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino said. “Witnessing firsthand what Ashley was able to accomplish when she put her mind to it is truly inspirational."
Tarricone graduated Farmingdale High School in June, where she was president of the Technology Honor Society, treasurer of the carpentry club, and leader of the flute section in the band. She is now a criminal justice major at Farmingdale State College.
Each Girl Scout spends more than 80 hours planning, executing and presenting the results of her project as a requirement for a Gold Award. Tarricone says she spent about 150 hours on her project.
“These young women are among an exclusive group of leaders,” said Rande Bynum, the chief executive of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. "I commend each and every one of them for the countless hours they have spent dedicated to their project."
Tarricone isn’t finished yet. She says she is working on getting another playground set for the park, improving the sidewalks and making them wheelchair accessible.