Five years ago the Nassau County Department of Public Works issued a feasibility study for improving the stream flow and vegetation growth in the Massapequa Preserve. But, like many projects being considered before the recession, the economic crunch on Long Island virtually put the proposal into the wastebasket.
But recently Legislator Peter Schmitt has pushed the county legislature to approve an $860,000 allocation for a new study into restoring the natural beauty of the Massapequa Preserve and dredging the streams and lakes within it. And if the project is approved and money is appropriated, $10 million will be spent on the preserve.
Currently the project is in the study stage of the proposal, with the firm of Dvirka and Bartilucci being used as consulting engineers. Dvirka and Bartilucci were responsible for drafting the 1993 study.
According to Schmitt, after the study is completed the county will hold a community meeting to organize ideas and receive input from the public.
The largest part of the proposed project will be for the dredging and improvement of the creek and the four ponds and one lake that run parallel to the preserve's bicycle path.
Over the past 30 years, the creek has received less and less new water due to the new sewage patterns and storm drain basins that lessened the use of the preserve as a storm water basin.
"The water table is low and so the streams that feed ponds dry up," explained Schmitt, "and that stirs up all kinds of trouble."
As a result, sediments and mid-water plant life have replaced the active flowing water stream of the creek and led to low water levels and, at times, water stagnation.
The plans call for completely dredging the creek from its most northern point in South Farmingdale, to the south where the creek drains into Massapequa Lake at Merrick Road. Next, the plans call for installing two ground water pumps to put fresh water into the creek at the most northern point, to keep the creek clean, and to ensure a constant water flow. "It will give the preserve a chance to clean itself out and return to its normal state," said Schmitt.
And while most of the money spent will be for revitalizing the creek, part of the plan calls for re-paving the bicycle path through the preserve and setting up small patrol houses for bicycle police.
And because the creek still acts as a storm water basin, the completed project will include funds for fixing any drainage problems related to the preserve and re-paving the streets adjacent to the preserve.
Another part of the proposal, Schmitt said, calls for completely cleaning out the entire preserve, including removing dead trees and brush and reforesting dead areas. Irrigation systems would also be set up to maintain the Red Maple areas.
Schmitt said that the study will take less than a year to complete and that the entire project would probably becompleted by the year 2000.