Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00
Maintaining the fields in the Village of Mineola is a task unlike no other. Tim O’Connell knows that.
Mineola Police Athletic Lea-gue (MPAL) executive board member Tim O’Connell came before the Mineola Village Board of Trustees at a recent board of trustees meeting to present a check of $1,400 to help maintain and improve the athletic fields in the village.
Thanking the caretakers for their work, he handed the check to village officials saying that, “it makes a difference.”
O’Connell said he was able to collect the money from out of town members of the MPAL and giving the funds back to the village. He also asked about the possibility of turf on field No. 3, which receives a lot of wear and cannot recover as quickly from use due to the heavy shade at that location.
“We will continue to see what we can work out,” Mayor Scott Strauss said, agreeing that the fields in question are “treacherous.”
Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira has long advocated for a renovation of the field in question, remarking that he received three e-mails about the issue that day alone. He said it’s at the forefront of his mind constantly.
“It seems like every other day something’s canceled,” he said. “I know that if we had turf fields, that would cut out much of that because obviously wear and tear doesn’t happen on a turf field. It’s something that’s personal to me and I certainly want to get it done and I want to get it done right.”
O’Connell felt the condition of field No. 3 after weekly usage suffers, and cited the work done by the village as second to none, and that it needs constant maintenance.
“We collect money every year and give it back to the village to try to take some burden off the taxpayers of the village,” O’Connell said. “All the guys that take care of the fields, we really appreciate it.
“It’s a tough field,” he said of field No. 3. “A lot of work has been done on it. We’ve talked about turf possibly being used. I know the economy is not there yet in terms of stability.”
Strauss mentioned that it’s something that’s not off the village’s table yet and that they’d continue to research it. “PAL is a great program,” he said. “I’ve coached on those fields. I’ve played on those fields as a kid. We’re still looking into it.”
As part of the Nassau County Police Department, the PAL is being subjected to the same restructuring as precincts across the county. Many residents have expressed their fear that both the PAL and the Problem Oriented Police (POP) unit would be eliminated.
“We have a lot of kids in the community and I know if [turf installation] ever comes up, it’s definitely something everyone can use,” O’Connell said.
In a statement issued May 4, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano said that the number of PAL officers would be reduced by two in order to save “nearly a quarter million dollars annually in overtime” by placing the officers back onto the streets. According to the statement, an average of $180,000 was being used by each of the 10 officers who operate the league.
“PAL is here today, will be here tomorrow and will run just fine with two less officers,” Mangano said.