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West Babylon park starts to see results of $1.63 million in upgrades 

A new, larger playground will open in Van

A new, larger playground will open in Van Bourgondien Park in West Babylon by April 15 and this small jungle gym, pictured March 7, will be removed. Credit: Newsday/Rachel O'Brien

LED lights have been added to some soccer fields in Van Bourgondien Park in West Babylon and a new playground will be constructed there next month, part of a project to enhance the town-run park.

After several community meetings in 2016 and 2017, Babylon Town officials decided to add the lights to some of the soccer fields at the Albin Avenue park, Councilman Tony Martinez said. The lights will illuminate three or four of the fields, depending on how the field boundaries are drawn, town spokesman Kevin Bonner said. 

The South Shore Soccer Club has 900 registered players that use the park, he said. Plans to construct a larger playground were aimed at making the park attractive to even more residents.

The $1.63 million project includes a $150,000 donation from The Engel Burman Group, the developer constructing a 200-unit senior housing complex in Deer Park.

The town is also using $600,000 in state and county grants.

Sometime next year, a walking track will be added to the county-owned, town-maintained park, and the parking lot will be reconfigured to create more spaces, Martinez said. Funding for those projects would come from the capital budget and isn’t included in the $1.63 million figure, Bonner said.

The playground will be installed and ready for use by April 15, Martinez said.

“All the hard work has been done, the installation should go pretty quick, and then plantings,” he said.

The town added a second entrance to the park at the corner of Albin and Arnold avenues, with a wide brick walkway pointing pedestrians directly to the coming playground.

The V-shaped intersection also has new sidewalks, new crosswalks and a third stop sign.

“Before, you had to say a prayer to cross that intersection,” Martinez said.

A small existing playground will be taken down and the new, larger playground area will replace two tennis courts that were recently removed.

Martinez and Bonner said the courts weren’t used, and residents asked for them to be replaced with something they would benefit from — the playground.

The park property was formerly home to the Van Bourgondien family flower bulb business that ran multiple greenhouses there from 1939 to early 1970s before relocating to Peconic.

The French Tudor homestead still stands, and the town Historical Society leases it for meetings.

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