North Hempstead Town authorities this week announced a plan to establish a public park on land next to public housing in Port Washington.
The plan calls for a park on the 1.5-acre parcel next to the Harbor Homes development at Port Washington Boulevard and Harbor Road. The parcel, owned by the North Hempstead Housing Authority, was previously known as the Alvan O. Petrus Park and was closed off two years ago after the housing authority made plans to develop the site.
Under the proposal, subject to town board and housing authority board approval, the authority will continue to own the land, and will agree to create recreational and open space on the property, according to Town Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio. The town will give $250,000 to the authority toward park improvements, and the park will be open to all town residents, she said.
In the meantime, the authority will agree not to build on the property for 20 years and instead will build an affordable senior-housing complex on the site of the old Grand Street School in New Cassel. The town took over the school from a nonprofit this year.
Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman on Wednesday called the proposal "a plan where everyone wins." Sean Rainey, executive director of the housing authority, described the plan as "a great compromise that really benefits the housing authority tenants along with the community."
A portion of the school property will be used as recreational space and as a parking lot for the town's Yes We Can community center, De Giorgio said. "I consider this a victory for the Harbor Homes community and the 161 children who live in the vicinity."
Ray Ross, treasurer of the Hands of Change Civic Association, which has been advocating for a park on the site for years, said he was gratified by the plan.
"We're just interested in having the park restored and repaired."