The Town of North Hempstead reopened Alvan Petrus Park on Saturday after a $1.4 million makeover.
The Port Washington park had regular visitors in the late 1980s, back when there was a basketball court and a playground. But, over the years, the park fell into disrepair and was overrun by tall grass. By the late 1990s, the park was unfit for residents’ use.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth told a crowd of excited park-goers Saturday that she visited the park in 2014 and found it to be a “land of the lost.” A year later, town officials hired Hauppauge-based Cashin Associates to design a new park.
“Today is one of the most exciting days I can recall since taking office in 2014,” Bosworth said, flanked by government and community leaders. “It’s exhilarating to see an idea take shape from design plans on paper to the brick and mortar of its reality that we are witnessing.”
Nancy Lenz, a landscape architect for Cashin, said the biggest challenge in renovating the park was creating flat enough land on a sloped property to make an open field and recreational courts. Lenz added that architects wanted to make sure the grilling area and playground were farthest away from nearby busy Port Washington Boulevard.
With the new park open, Bosworth and other officials hailed the space as a community amenity that families will enjoy for generations to come. Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio, whose district encompasses Port Washington, said the park’s opening marks people from different backgrounds and viewpoints coming together to make government work.
The renovated 1.8-acre park, which features a playground, and basketball and handball courts, is named for Petrus, a Freeport resident who served as executive director at Littig House Community Center. He was also an executive board member for the American Civil Liberties Union. He died in 1985.
Lynette Batts, the community center’s executive director, said Saturday that renovating the park was about having a safe place for neighborhood children to play.
Port Washington resident Angelena McGuire, who visited the park Saturday, said she will use it consistently with her 1-year-old son.
“Now I don’t have to go far,” said McGuire, who lives behind the park in the Roberta Nixon apartment complex. “I can just walk up the hill and be here and let him just run around.”