A proposal is being considered by the Town of Oyster Bay to install a multi-use, artificial-turf field at Tappen Beach Park. The Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor has expressed its concerns about the proposal to town officials, both within public forums and private meetings. Our concerns include the potential adverse environmental and aesthetic impacts that could result from implementing the plan; insufficient public information regarding the proposal; and a lack of a structured process to ensure that environmental and other issues will be addressed before the artificial turf field is installed, which we were told could be within a very short time frame. We petitioned the town council to reconsider this proposal for the following reasons:
A large number of local residents were excluded from the planning process.
The town has not provided residents with information to support the need or desire for playing fields as expressed by a majority of the residents.
If a need exists, the town has not provided residents with reasons to support its decision to locate a large playing field in a waterfront park.
The proposed athletic field is not aligned with the final recommendations that were included in the town's 2002 Glenwood Landing Redevelopment and Revitalization Plan, which included extensive public outreach and public participation in the planning process.
Although residents have overwhelmingly voted to preserve open space and greenways (by voting to approve the town's SEA Fund environmental bond act), the proposed plan would use SEA Fund money to diminish the green area of Tappen Park-reducing the playground and picnic area to about half the current size.
Although SEA Fund also allows for improvements to parks and recreational facilities, we believe that any enhancements along the waterfront should be primarily water-related.
The artificial turf field plan did not address the need to protect the current view corridor to Hempstead Harbor, ensure that new lighting would protect the view of the night sky, or include measures to handle additional runoff or post-storm maintenance.
The artificial turf field plan did not specify whether current sanitary facilities could accommodate the proposed increased use of the park.
The proposed artificial turf field plan did not specify the type and height of safety fencing that will be used to enclose the playing fields or how the necessary safety fencing will still protect critical view corridors.
It was not clear whether public use of the proposed artificial turf field would be restricted in any way, as is the case for the current roller-hockey rink.
Although the town officials have since stated that our concerns have been addressed, we have not seen an environmental review or architectural drawings that would present the details of how those issues would be addressed.
We suggest that all interested community members contact the Town of Oyster Bay (624-6390 or via www.oysterbaytown) to ask Supervisor Venditto to delay construction of the artificial turf field at Tappen Beach Park until all residents are fully informed of the plan and have an opportunity to weigh in on what should be built at Tappen Beach Park. We believe that at the outset the town should have provided a community-wide mailing or held a meeting in the community to inform the largest number of residents of the artificial turf field plan; we urge the town to take this action before it so dramatically alters a revered community beach park.
Community Programs Director
On Behalf of the Board of Directors of the
Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor
I would like to take this opportunity to thank coaches Steve Tripp and Frank Curatolo and the Glen Cove Big Red lacrosse team for playing the May 12 game in my honor. As a breast cancer survivor, I am one of many survivors who appreciate any activity which enhances breast cancer awareness. "Shooting for a Cure" demonstrated how our athletes, who wore pink bands, could step up and show their concern for this important cause. Aside from playing well in this victory, they saluted me at the end of the game, which brought tears to my eyes. Glen Cove is a special community which rallies to help those in need. Thank you, Glen Cove, for being there for me this past year. It meant so much in my healing process.