It's something people say: "timing is everything." That could be said for the proposed TR Museum. The concept of a large museum smack dab in the middle of Firemen's Field in Oyster Bay couldn't come at a worse time - or a better time - according to your view of the idea.
Since its inception, the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce has been battling the town on parking. Firemen's Field has been looked at as the place to solve the parking problems of the commercial areas.
It was where they wanted town hall workers to park to leave the lot behind Audrey Avenue and Hamilton Avenue open for customers. Town hall employees see themselves as customers and with many of them having reserved parking spots - the argument is long standing.
Add to the mix 20 years ago Friends of the Bay was created with an outpouring of residents against a marina and "boatel" on Beekman Beach. Since then the awareness of the environmental sensitivity of the harbor has been kept in focus.
Add to that the recent conflict with AvalonBay Communities who have been trying to increase the housing density in the village - with a figure that challenges existing zoning regulations and the resulting limits on building by the Oyster Bay Sewer District.
Add to that the Jewel by the Bay focus on overdevelopment in the community.
Add to that the need for sports fields in the community - and for them, parking for families who come to watch games.
There has been a great divide in the community about the proposed carousel in Theodore Roosevelt Park - using open space that the Conservation President sought to preserve and that the town is buying with environmental bond money.
And in walks the TRA, a national organization with ties to Oyster Bay which wants to use Firemen's Field for a museum to put the hamlet on the international map.
As people have suggested - is there another location that is viable? Mr. Bruns asked rhetorically, does TR deserve less than a location near the TR park and Oyster Bay Railroad Museum that brought him here and back and the place he loved the best in the world?
Well, we assume this will be a discussion that will go on for some time. Mr. Bruns will be in a fundraising mode and that will be his "nut to crack." The Town of Oyster Bay is going to have to take a long hard look at the proposal. Together they will have to look at how to solve the issues.
One thing is great about the timing. The town has been working to define build-out in the hamlet. Those figures should help make the decision for them easier. As Supervisor John Venditto and Oyster Bay Civic Association President Bill Von Novak said, "The devil is in the details." Luckily the town is already assembling the figures that will define those details. - DFK