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Town goes to bat for parks and pools

Swimmers splash and play on a beautiful summer

Swimmers splash and play on a beautiful summer day at the Brentwood Timberline Pool in Brentwood on a Sunday. (July 10, 2011) Credit: Photo by Charles Eckert

The Islip Town Board has voted to allow its parks and recreation department to apply for grants to revitalize -- and possibly expand -- parks and pools in Brentwood.

According to a resolution passed unanimously Tuesday by the board, the town intends to apply for $500,000 in grant money from the New York State Dormitory Authority to repair the aging pool and build a spray park at Roberto Clemente Park.

Councilman Anthony Senft said Tuesday the move is preliminary and allows the town to pursue grants, but plans for a spray park -- similar to one at Benjamin Beach Park in Bay Shore -- aren't definitive.

Senft said the town is working to secure a partnership with a nonprofit or other organization to run the Roberto Clemente Park pool and Casamento Pool in West Islip, after cutting funding for both pools from the town's 2013 budget.

Protests at public meetings followed the funding trims, and residents from northern Islip communities questioned why resources for Islip's low-income areas were being cut without their input.

Later, town officials said they had found $300,000 in grant money to repair Roberto Clemente Park pool. Now, they hope to make even more improvements to the pool.

"It's an opportunity for the town to reach out to other levels of government to ask for money to help support the Town of Islip," Senft said. "Unless we do that for ourselves -- I call it self help -- someone else will get that money."

Town officials also plan to apply for a $250,000 grant from the Dormitory Authority to improve the much smaller Ross Memorial Park in Brentwood, at Brentwood Road next to the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

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