Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
Long IslandSuffolk

Grand opening for handicap-accessible Central Islip playground

Christopher Ventura, 4, of Central Islip, plays at

Christopher Ventura, 4, of Central Islip, plays at the newly opened Central Islip Community Park on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Islip Town officials marked the grand opening of a handicap-accessible Central Islip playground with a community day Saturday — nearly two years after construction began.

Disney VoluntEARS and KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit, donated labor and materials to build the playground. Workers broke ground in August 2014 at a then-empty space at Clayton Street and Lowell Avenue.

In the past year, the Central Islip Community Park playground has been open to the public on a limited basis, town Councilman Steven J. Flotteron said.

Featuring swings and slides, the playground will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer.

“This helps to bring the community together when we work together,” Flotteron said of efforts to build the playground. “Central Islip is a central location in the town and something like this is very needed.”

Residents have long complained that parks in low-income communities have been neglected by the town in recent years.

The project moved ahead as the town became entangled in an illegal-dumping scandal. About 40,000 tons of contaminated construction and demolition debris were dumped at nearby Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. While the materials have since been removed, Clemente Park has remained shuttered and in disrepair since it was closed in April 2014.

Debris was not dumped at the Central Islip playground site, but town officials in 2014 cleared a 10-by-10-foot pile of asbestos-containing debris that remained from the former Central Islip state psychiatric hospital previously on the property. Testing done at the time of the pile’s removal showed no evidence of contamination, officials have said.

More than 100 local residents gathered Saturday at the playground.

Smiling kids tested the slides, flag football games were played on adjacent fields and families dined on donated hot dogs cooked on a barbecue.

Flotteron said the town will bring in a designer to help with future projects at the park, including a jogging path. The councilman said he also intends to organize a community movie night there this summer.

Latest Long Island News