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Renaming to honor activist who helped create Melville park

Alissa Sue Taff helped broker a deal to

Alissa Sue Taff helped broker a deal to create Sweet Hollow Park in Melville. Credit: Chris Ware

Sweet Hollow Park will be renamed after a longtime Melville community activist and civic leader who helped create the space.

The park will now be known as Alissa Sue Taff Sweet Hollow Park in honor of Taff, who brokered a community agreement on the fate of the 8.4-acre former Meyers Farm property at Round Swamp Road and Old Country Road. The deal resulted in the park's creation alongside the temple for the B.A.P.S. Shri Swaminarayan Hindu organization and the Club at Melville senior affordable housing community on Deshon Drive.

The Huntington Town Board voted unanimously, 5-0, in favor of renaming the park at its Aug. 6 board meeting.

“I’m thrilled they did it,” Taff, 68, said of the renaming in a phone interview. “I consider it a great honor, and I hope for many years people enjoy the park. The town should make sure they always keep it in good shape.”

Taff's community involvement has been woven into Huntington's civic fabric. She is a past president of the Half Hollow Hills School Board and contributed to the effort to save Sunquam Elementary School from closing. The school district renamed the library there in her honor.

She is currently the president of the Civic Association of Sweet Hollow. She also has been a director of the Friends of OHEKA nonprofit.

At the Aug. 6 meeting, state Supreme Court Justice John Leo told the town board that while he occasionally butted heads with Taff during his tenure as the Huntington town attorney, he urged the board to "take the opportunity to bestow respect and esteem to a remarkable citizen of this town: Alissa Taff."

Taff's husband, Ross Taff, also told the board that "her whole ideal was to make Huntington a wonderful place to live no matter what district or what part you lived in," he said. "Her goal has always been to keep Huntington a wonderful place to work and live."

"This park was really her crowning achievement," her daughter Tara Levy told the board.

The park renaming is a way of “highlighting her instrumental role in the formation of Sweet Hollow Park to preserve open space in our Town and to demonstrate what we can accomplish when multiple parties work together for the good of the community,” town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said in an email.

A date for the dedication ceremony has  not been set, according to the town.

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