Charles P. Toner said Wednesday he had expected the park being named for him would consist only of a gazebo on Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset.
So Toner, the retired Town of Smithtown parks and beaches director, was surprised today to find that the 42-acre park also has a running track, playground, water park, roller-hockey rink and tennis courts.
“I thought it was just going to be a little park,” Toner, 76, of Nesconset said at the park’s dedication. “I looked around this morning and said, ‘Holy smokes!’”
Several dozen people turned out for the ceremony. The $2 million park was built on town land around a former state armory, which is being renovated as the Smithtown Library’s Nesconset branch. Town officials praised Toner, who retired in 1990 and is known as “Buster,” for expanding parks during his 27-year career. They added that Toner had given jobs to future town Councilmen Thomas McCarthy and Edward Wehrheim and Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) when they were teens.
Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said, “I always admired his thorough professionalism [and] his dedication to the park system.”