The Town of Islip is hosting a Community Fun Night at newly reopened Roberto Clemente Park on Monday as a goodwill gesture to Brentwood residents.
The free festivities start at 5:30 p.m. and include basketball with members of the Suffolk County Police Department, food trucks, arts and crafts, games, a DJ spinning music and a screening of “Race to Witch Mountain” at nightfall.
“This Community Fun Night is an opportunity for families across the Town to come together and enjoy a night of fun,” said Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter in a statement.
The park was closed for more than three years following the discovery of 40,000 tons of contaminated construction debris that had been illegally dumped on the park’s soccer fields and in a drainage basin. The town reopened the park with little fanfare on July 30, with Islip officials saying at the time that the town was planning a later party.
Some political opponents and community activists criticized the state of the reopened park, pointing out peeling paint on playground equipment, newly seeded fields not yet ready for games and unfinished curbs.
Community activist Nelsena Day also questioned why the Fun Night event was not more widely promoted.
“There is absolutely no notice, just like there was no notice to opening the park,” she said in a phone interview Friday. “So I don’t know if they’re trying to appease the community by saying ‘look at what we’re doing. We’re trying to build a good community relationship with you by providing food truck and movies.’ The only thing the community wants is their . . . park back. They want their swimming pool.”
Carpenter said the park’s rebirth will continue with more improvements, pool renovation and equipment to come in the next year.
“One of my top priorities when I became supervisor of the Town of Islip was to not only remediate Roberto Clemente Park, but to also create a park of which the entire Islip community can be proud. This includes state-of-the-art equipment, specifically, a spray park funded by a $2 million grant secured by Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Bay Shore), as well as an improved swimming pool, which our goal is to open in the summer of 2018,” she said in the statement. “The Town is also working diligently to bring more recreational equipment into the park. I am committed to giving the community a park that meets the needs of children of all ages, and one that will provide for decades of family enjoyment for all.”
Day said she remained skeptical of the town’s efforts to serve the Brentwood community.
“We don’t want the town to appease us,” she said. “We just want the town to do what’s right by us.”