The Commissioners of the Manhasset Park District held a public meeting on Feb. 8, listened to residents' concerns and announced new initiatives.
Present at the meeting representing the Long Island Rail Road was Mr. Robert Brennan of the LIRR's public affairs office. Mr. Brennan said that the railroad hired a new contractor, Pav-Lak Industries, as a successor to the initial general contractor who encountered financial difficulties and was unable to complete the project. The multi-million dollar reconstruction of the station and its platforms should now be completed no later than October 2000. Pav-Lak previously worked for the LIRR on its rehabilitation of the Bayside station.
Michael C. Adams, chairman of the Manhasset Park District Board of Commissioners, then announced that the board has decided to adopt a new policy. Owners of a single Manhasset residence will be allowed to purchase no more than two commuter parking permits, starting in April 2000. The new policy is aimed at reducing the imbalance between the number of spaces at the train station and the number of outstanding permits. Currently there are almost 3200 vehicles with MPD parking permits, vying for the 620 spaces at the station. Some households have eight or nine parking permits. "We're setting aside the first three Saturdays in April to undertake one of the most significant permit re-registrations in the District's history," said Commissioner Adams. In addition, the permit for the primary commuter vehicle at each residence will cost $15 and the charge for a second vehicle is $50.
Mr. Adams announced that all Manhasset commuters must bring their vehicle(s) and proof of residency to the lots next to 62 Manhasset Avenue on one of the following three Saturdays: April 1, April 8 and April 15. MPD personnel will process applications and affix the new permits between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on each of those days. The permits issued prior to April 2000 will no longer be valid after April 30, the commissioners said.
Residents present agreed with the change limiting the number of permits. In fact residents Bruce Bent and Bob Wulfhorst said that they would be willing to see a limit of one sticker per household.
A number of residents spoke in favor of the construction of a staircase that would connect the north side of Manhasset Avenue to the westernmost platform. If a staircase were built and the present temporary platform made permanent, people living in Bayview and Shorehaven would have better access to the trains. Doris Murray of Bayview said that this is an issue concerning the safety of pedestrians. "There have often been near misses," she said, "and it's worse now with the construction." Bruce Bent, chairman of the Plandome Road Commission, stated that this is not an issue for the Manhasset Park District, but for the LIRR. Mr. Brennan said that the property where the new staircase would have to be built does not belong to the railroad. "Condemn it," rejoined Ms. Murray.
One resident brought up the possibility of shuttle buses but Mr. Brennan said that they had been tried in Port Washington and were unsuccessful. Manhasset Park District Commissioner Edward Winrow agreed. "It didn't work in Port Washington and it won't work here," he said.
Commissioner Adams acknowledged the need for more recreational facilities in Manhasset. "We need more playing fields for the PAL, for rollerblading, for soccer, lacrosse, bocce, swimming," he said. The Park District has made preliminary inquiries into whether Nassau County would be willing to sell or transfer Manhasset Valley Park to the Manhasset Park District . The Park District estimates that its annual maintenance budget would increase by almost $130,000 if it assumed responsibility for the parcel.
Resident Ed King asked whether someone could explain how arrangements were made for the baseball field built in the Valley Park last summer. Mr. Ed Kitt said that Nassau County can't legally alienate park programs. A group led by Mr. Kitt and Mr. Jim Judge approached Nassau County Parks Commissioner John B. Kiernan who agreed to give Manhasset a 10-year lease agreement which would relieve the county of the expense of maintaining the property. "If land acquisition is a plan of the Park District," Mr. Kitt said, "maybe you need maps, real estate documentation and have a long range plan." Commissioner Adams replied "We all agree. We have to look at what can be done."