Written by Pat Grace Friday, 09 October 2009 00:00
“Anyone who said the trees were not coming down was lying.” And with that statement Park District Commissioner Bernard P. Ralston launched into his explanation of the procedure followed prior to three trees being cut down from the parking lot behind Raindew Family Stores. Under a master plan formulated about six months ago, Ralston said, the Manhasset Park District has gone back and forth with the effected storeowners regarding the revamping of the parking lot. That plan was not made public, he added, because it is park district property and not required, nor, he said, were homes in the area included in the discussion. The same quantity of lighting (though fewer poles) and the same looms (amount of light given off by a bulb) will be the end result.
Raindew Family Stores manager, John Hultz, commented, “They never asked us about the trees, they told us.” Adding, “I didn’t think we had any say about it.” However, Hultz acknowledged, the two trees closest to Raindew were not healthy; branches had fallen creating problems for customers. “The district removed three trees and the parking lot is going to be so much better,” he continued, “plus they will be planting new trees. The park district is doing all good things, and the lot is going to be so much more accessible for shoppers.”
Civic organizations said they were concerned no prior notice was given of the trees being razed on Oct. 4, and that because the construction was performed on a Sunday they could not contact Town Hall. However, the Manhasset Park District is an autonomous governmental agency, and, as such, is not governed by the Town of North Hempstead’s tree removal policy. The Manhasset Park District is a special district and has every right to take down trees on its property. Special districts are part of the town but not subject to town laws. However, if the park district needed to raise funds through issuing a bond, the town would have to approve it.
To back up a little, the job was put out to bid about eight weeks ago, according to Ralston, but was “not perfected” in that the bid did not include overtime. The job needed to include overtime because the easiest time to have full access to the lot, without cars, was Sunday. Since overtime was not included in the bid, Ralston said, it was put out for a second bid. Edward Galvin, Galvin Brothers, Inc., contacted the Manhasset Press saying his bid of $213,000 had been the low bid but when it was put out for a second bid, including overtime, incurring a new round of attorney, engineer and advertising fees, according to Galvin, the job was awarded to a different firm, Posillico Construction Co. The construction is expected to take about one week.