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Nassau County: $15 million makeover for parks

Wantagh Park, Centennial Park in Roosevelt and Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn are three major county parks that will be restored and transformed as part of the plan.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran unveils parks revitalization

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran unveils parks revitalization plans Tuesday. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau parks will get a $15 million makeover with wide-ranging improvements, including a spray pool and cricket pitches, renovated administration buildings, reconstructed bulkheads and boat ramps, and even a restored butterfly garden, officials said Tuesday. 

“With 6,000 acres of public park space countywide, our goal is to ensure that we’re making the most out of our substantial green spaces," Democratic County Executive Laura Curran told reporters at Wantagh Park.

Both Roosevelt's Centennial Park and Roslyn's Christopher Morley Park will get $3 million upgrades, and $1.5 million will be spent at Wantagh Park, Curran's statement said. 

Centennial's improvements, to finish next year, include new playgrounds, a modernized spray park, a path linking exercise stations, and better lighting and landscaping, Curran said. 

Upgrades at Christopher Morley, also to finish next year, range from the main building that houses the concession, the full restoration of the old pond site's public area, an upgraded pool deck, and new paving and lighting. A spray pool and a picnic area will be added. By this summer, the old courts will be resurfaced, the playgrounds modernized and new fencing built throughout.

At Freeport's Cow Meadow Park, the beach will be expanded. In East Meadow's Eisenhower Park, golf cart GPS navigation will aid golfers on the Red Course. At Hicksville's Cantiague Park, officials are exploring adding weekend golfing during summer nights, under portable lights.  

Cricket pitches, expected to prove popular with southeast Asian communities, will be added at Eisenhower Park, Cantiague Park and East Rockaway's Bay Park. 

Wantagh Park's butterfly garden will be redesigned with new landscaping and places to sit. The park's north playground will gain safety surfaces, new equipment and a picnic area; pickleball and another place to picnic will be added to the marine playground, and its court game areas will be resurfaced, Curran said. All that work should finish next year.

More projects are planned at Inwood Park in Inwood, where boat ramps and bulkheads are to be fixed by spring of next year; Cedar Creek Park in Wantagh; Bay Park; Cow Meadow Park; and Nickerson Beach Park in Lido Beach. 

The total cost of the projects, many slated to finish in the next two years, is not directly comparable to what previous administrations spent, as those funds were scattered throughout the county’s capital budget, said Brian Schneider, deputy county executive for parks and public works. 

Schneider, who has 35 years of experience in Nassau's public works and parks departments, contrasted the new plan with the $18.3 million "blitz'" under former Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi, whose 2005 plan focused on cosmetic improvements. "That kind of gave a face-lift to the parks, through maintenance," Schneider said, such as repairing broken fences. With the new plan, however, "These are significant infrastructure improvements." 

Under Curran, all of the renovations for each park will be consolidated, streamlining bidding, Schneider said. And all upgrades will fit each park’s unique personality, officials said.

Curran stressed the value of what she called vibrant open spaces from a quality-of-life and an economic perspective.

"It is a vital investment in the well-being of residents that will last for generations to come,” she said.

  More details about plans for individual parks: 

  • Inwood Park, Inwood — By this summer, the fire-damaged administration building and its comfort stations should be overhauled. By spring 2020, boat ramps and 500 linear feet of bulkhead will be fixed — a $2.5 million project that includes a kayak launch that disabled people can use.
  • Cedar Creek Park, Wantagh — The Police Athletic League building, closed since an electrical fire last summer, should reopen by summer, with offices, places to store equipment, and restrooms.  
  • Bay Park, East Rockaway — A fifth summer camp will be added in a newly restored administration building. It will open this summer.
  • Eisenhower Park, East Meadow  By the end of this year, the second phase of the redevelopment of the Long Island Motor Parkway for hikers and bikers should be finished, thanks to a $2.4 million state grant.
  • Nickerson Beach Park, Lido Beach  People will be able to walk to the waterfront on four new wooden crossovers by the end of this year.
  • Cow Meadow Park, Freeport — The marina will be refurbished — and the beach expanded — along with upgraded fields and playgrounds, under a joint plan between the county and the Village of Freeport. 

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