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Port Washington’s Petrus Park to get $1.3M makeover

Designers remodeling Petrus Park in Port Washington envision a basketball court, barbecue pits and a playground replacing the debris that has littered the abandoned 1.5-acre space.

North Hempstead Town officials recently finalized designs for renovating the site near apartments operated by the town’s housing authority and in the coming weeks will ask companies to submit construction plans for the $1.3-million project.

Residents have rallied for years to preserve the park located off Port Washington Boulevard.

The town acquired the site from the housing authority and its financial partners in 2015, when the town declared it a public park. It was fenced off in 2008 and closed by the housing authority’s manager. Town board members in 2011 considered a developer’s proposal to add senior housing to the site, but the plan was dropped amid public opposition and officials looked toward restoring its deteriorated basketball court.

The design plans, however, turn Petrus Park into “so much more than the original basketball court that was suggested originally,” North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in a recent interview. It will have courts for handball as well as basketball, trails for walking and jogging, a nature playground, benches, and a shaded seating nook.

The designs from Cashin Associates, P.C. Engineering of Hauppauge follow community meetings. The town will pay Cashin $104,000 for the design work.

Karen Walker, 50, who lives a block from the park, said the members of the Hands of Change Civic Association are happy that “most of our wish list” was included “in the limited amount of space” of the park.

The area’s hilly topography challenged officials and designers. A wooded buffer and tall trees seclude the park from public view, and developers will have to trim trees, clear brush and place retaining walls throughout the site.

Other challenges include the park’s steep grade and potential for erosion. Town councilwoman Dina De Giorgio said the current park entrance near the housing authority homes requires a steep climb that is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The park’s new entrance will be on Port Washington Boulevard where street parking will be added. Security lights will be installed and a fence will surround the entire park.

Bosworth said creating tiers on the steep property will ensure it is “going to be used to its fullest potential.”

De Giorgio said she hopes the park renovations are finished by early fall. Residents and public officials said the park will be open to all town residents, not just those who live nearby.

“My hope is that everybody at large in Port Washington and its entirety will be able to benefit from the park,” Walker said.

Petrus Park renovation

Amenities: Basketball and handball courts, picnic and play field, tricycle loop, jogging and walking trails, BBQ pit

Total Cost: $1.3 Million

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