Chris Jastrzebski stood on the edge of Kaler’s Pond in Center Moriches driving a remote-controlled car as his daughter Jordan, holding onto the leash of a dachshund, chased it around the park.
Jastrzebski, 35, of Center Moriches, says he likes to visit the park “when the mood strikes and it’s the thing to do.”
“It’s fun and a nice place to come to,” he said. “We usually feed the ducks, but it’s nice to have a place for kids to play.”
Located off Montauk Highway in Center Moriches, the park was renovated in the fall of last year and features a new playground with slides, a plastic rock wall, a seesaw and swings.
Town of Brookhaven Parks Commissioner Ed Morris said the renovations cost $60,000, which included the removal of the existing playground and trees along with the installation of the new playground.
“It is much safer,” Morris said. “There is more play value for the kids to use and it looks nice. Center Moriches is a waterfront community and we went with a nautical look. The park is heavily used and we hope the improvements will continue that theme.”
Also located within the park is Kaler’s Pond Audubon Center, a seasonal center that hosts children and family events focused on wildlife preservation and natural education.
“I’ve been with Audubon for five years,” said Pam Musk, 48, of Albany, who comes to Center Moriches in May when the center reopens. “It’s improving and increasing in popularity. The interest is there, and it is nice to have the playground so close.”
Councilman Dan Panico said the park is more functional.
“It is a very beautiful, natural set-up, that with the Haven Estate to the South and the trails to the North, sets up the perfect atmosphere for children, families and adults to hike and enjoy the nature in a serene setting unlike most other parks in Suffolk County,” he said.