Land that once housed an oil transfer station in Port Washington North is now a park for kayakers, canoers and people who love rain gardens.
Village officials on Saturday unveiled a $4.5 million revamped Bay Walk Park and thanked the public for their input during the 14 years it took to rehab the land. The village’s mayor said Saturday that the effort began in 2003 with a steering committee that generated unique ideas.
“We spent the last 14 years planning and raising funds,” Mayor Bob Weitzner said. “Many people thought we wouldn’t get consensus, but we did.”
The village revamped the park in two phases. The first created a master plan for the land and the engineering work on the walkway and pier. The second phase featured a parking lot, self-irrigating garden, electronics charging station, touch-screen information kiosk, flagpole dedicated to military veterans and kayak launch.
Port Washington couple Lorrie and Alan Elton, avid kayakers and members of the North Shore Kayak Club in Port Washington, said Saturday that the new launch is easier to access and better than neighboring launches.
Bay Walk Park isn’t a park in the traditional sense of grass, trees and barbecue grills. Instead, it’s a 1.5-acre landing made of gravel and pavement that overlooks Manhasset Bay. The park is resident-friendly now, but it wasn’t always that way, Weitzner said.
Long ago, the site was an oil transfer station when Lewis Oil Co. had a location on Shore Road. Oil tankers parked in Manhasset Bay and the company used a massive underwater pipeline to move oil from the station to the tankers. The pipe connection point sat on land that’s now called Bay Walk Park.
The village took over the land in 2002 in a deal that also brought a Stop & Shop to the village, Weitzner said.
Several public officials, including the mayors of Flower Hill, Manorhaven, Sands Point and Baxter Estates, joined Weitzner in unveiling the park Saturday. North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth noted that the town is currently revamping its own boat dock a little farther down the road in Port Washington.
“I can only hope that our town dock is as beautiful as the Bay Walk in Port Washington North,” she said.