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Islip gets into the swing of upgrading town playgrounds

A playground at the Bay Shore Marina Park

A playground at the Bay Shore Marina Park has been replaced as part of Islip's efforts to upgrade town playgrounds. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Children are jumping, sliding, swinging and scurrying on new playgrounds in Islip Town.

Town officials said they have spent nearly $1.5 million to replace more than a quarter of the town’s playgrounds in the past several years, and they plan to redo two more in the next year.

“It makes me feel great because when people pay taxes, there’s very little they can point to and say, ‘I’m getting my money’s worth,’ ” Supervisor Angie Carpenter said. “You want people to have a good feeling about what’s there for them and their families.”

Carpenter said officials are on a “systematic track” to replace town playgrounds that “had not been touched” since the late 1980s or early 1990s, Carpenter said.

Since the beginning of 2015, officials said they have replaced 15 of the town’s 51 playgrounds, including in Brentwood, Bayport, Oakdale, Hauppauge, Ronkonkoma and Fire Island. 

The playground at Casamento Park in West Islip is slated to be replaced this fall, she said. A pocket park on Commack Road in Islip Terrace will get new equipment and more parking in 2019.

Equipment at Atlantique Park — where the playground was swept away by superstorm Sandy — and at Bayport Beach comes in the shape of pirate ships, with sails and all. A zip line was installed at Bay Shore Marina Park.

Wheelchair-accessible swings were added to playgrounds in Holbrook and Oakdale, and a handicap-accessible swing was installed at the Bohemia Recreation Center playground with the help of Girl Scout Troup 3061, which sold cookies to raise funds for the project. 

The changes aren’t just for kids: Officials just ordered outdoor fitness equipment for adults. That way, “instead of just sitting on a bench, (adults) could be doing a couple of reps” while watching the kids play, Carpenter said, adding that outdoor equipment such as elliptical machines are popular and provide an alternative to a gym membership.

Each playground costs about $100,000 to replace and is funded through bonds, she said.

Royetta Alston, of Central Islip, said she is “very happy” that the town has replaced most of the playgrounds that residents asked to be fixed, including those that were “just abandoned in a way.”

“The kids need to play and have somewhere to play,” Alston, a 68-year-old retired bus driver, said. “They had nowhere to go.”

Residents pushed for the playground at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood to be replaced after it was closed for three years because of an illegal dumping scandal.

Carpenter said the playground was “structurally sound” and was repainted as “we were pushing to get that park opened.” She said officials are planning to replace the playground and move it closer to the newly reopened pool. There is no set time frame for that project.

Carpenter encouraged residents to reach out to Constituent Services at 631-224-5380 with playground ideas.

According to town officials, playgrounds replaced since 2015 include, in chronological order:

Bayport Beach, Bayport

Holbrook Country Club, Holbrook

Michael Cacciutolo Park, Brentwood

Atlantique Park, Fire Island

Byron Lake Park, Oakdale

Bay Shore Marina Park, Bay Shore

Bohemia Recreation Center, Bohemia

Kismet Park, Fire Island

Michael Buckley Park, Holbrook

Bretton Woods Park, Hauppauge

Lake Ronkonkoma Park, Ronkonkoma

Pearl Street Park, Holbrook

Riverdale Park, aka Robert Duggan Park, Oakdale

Robert Street Park, aka Alex DiGuardia Park, Holbrook

Tulip Lane Park, Oakdale

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