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Letter: Garbage and Children Are Not Good Playmates

March 2 was one of the most beautiful days of the year. It was the first day of spring—the sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and as children played on the slides, swings, and jungle gyms of Mary Jane Davies Park in Manhasset, garbage and other refuse was overflowing from all the waste baskets in the park. As the kids played, some would step over the blowing fast food wrappers and paper cups. Others picked them up and turned them into impromptu toys. Pictured is a photo of the park and an overflowing wastebasket with garbage and refuse strewn about. It was taken that day. As you can see, the wastebasket in it is overflowing and the detritus from the can is scattered about the park, blowing in the wind.

We don’t have a lot of parks in Manhasset and as such, Mary Jane Davies Park is a place where you will find many of the youngest residents of Manhasset on any given day. It’s most unfortunate that on this day, the Town of North Hempstead couldn’t clean up trash from a park that is the centerpiece of the town, within sight of both the Manhasset Park District offices and the North Hempstead town hall.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this park has been in disarray—in recent months, the key piece of playground equipment—a bridge—was in disrepair (and dangerously broken) for more than 90 days. Parents like myself have often noticed the garbage problem while trying to keep up with our kids at the park—and most troublingly, due to the lack of a public bathroom in or near the park, some parents have been forced to have their potty training children urinate under the trees in the parks North West corner! All of this leads me to wonder what is going on in this park, why our local government can’t get a handle on arguably the most well-used and highly visible park in one of Long Island’s most affluent towns, and, most importantly, whether our tax dollars are being prudently spent in an era when state, local, and federal taxes are being raised on a regular basis. Mary Jane Davies would not be pleased that in the park that bears her name, on a beautiful spring day, a child is just as likely to have a run-in with a piece of garbage as she is to find the first crocus of the season! I think she deserves better and I know my children and the rest of the kids in the Town of North Hempstead would agree.

Gregory Manago