Oyster Bay Cove Deputy Mayor Ralph Fumante, NC Chair Open Space and Parks Advisory Board; Lisa Ott, director of the North Shore Land Alliance and Oyster Bay Cove Mayor Rosemarie Bourne.
With the promise of $60 million from SEA Fund III bond act money, residents flocked to Town Hall on Tuesday, March 4 to offer suggestions on the use of the funds for the town to purchase for open space, parks and recreational facilities.
Mr. Venditto related the funds already spent: $4.5 million for the Mill Pond Overlook; $5.8 million for the Littauer Estate; $7.5 for the 55 acre Underhill property to keep the water supply protected and not developed; creating a Field of Dreams in Massapequa by purchasing a site being proposed for a Big Box store; the cleanup of the Liberty Industrial Finishing Site that doubled the size of Allen Park in Bethpage; and creating two parks for Hicksville, that never had one.
Supervisor Venditto said, "The fund is divided into two categories...$30 million for acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands and $30 million for improvements to parks and recreational facilities. A wide array of environmental initiatives, including acquisition of open space, groundwater protection areas, woodlands, waterfront and shoreline areas, and land for larger and improved recreational facilities or new parks are just some of the ventures that could be undertaken with SEA Fund III money."
Deputy Town Supervisor Len Genova explained that the SEA Fund Advisory Committee recommends sites for improvements to the town board and a list is compiled and the process begins as they contact the people involved.
The first speaker was Joe Heaney of Walden Associates, who represented the Oyster Bay-East Norwich youth sports community including the OB-EN Soccer Club; the Oyster Bay Rough Riders Football Team; the OB Rough Riders Lacrosse team and the OB Little League. He asked the town to provide the sports teams with fields at the Theodore Roosevelt Beach. The existing baseball field has two diamonds. They asked that the town put in turf, as they have at other town fields, and mark the diamonds with brown turf. The center of the field then can be used for soccer. They are also asking the town to create another field for soccer/football by taking some of the parking lot area at TR Park. And, to replace the parking that would be lost, they suggested that the Capone property become a parking lot with 60 spaces.
They would like the Ralph Marino Field on Berry Hill Road to be turfed; to have bathrooms there; and for the town to use three undeveloped lots on Hill Drive to create a parking lot for that field. (Please see separate story on Page 1.)
Len Genova said there was a great deal to look into and said they will contact Mr. Heaney for another meeting to discuss the sites.
Sea Cliff Mayor Eileen Krieb asked the town for $171,000 from the SEA Fund III bond act to complete their waterfront revitalization.
Bayville Mayor Victoria Siegel nominated a 3-acre parcel of woodland belonging to St. Gertrude's Church to be purchased as open space. David Husing said this is not a time for Bayville's St. Gertrude church to sell its property to the town, because of falling real estate prices, but that the church should go to the open market to sell the land.
Additionally, former Town Councilman Tony Altimari asked for basketball courts at Centre Island Beach, to which Mayor Siegel added her support.
South Shore resident Phil Healey nominated a parcel adjacent to Alhambra Beach Park at the end of Alhambra Road for acquisition for a passive park with waterfront access.
Caroline DuBois of Oyster Bay Cove nominated five properties. She suggested a wetland area behind the Mill Pond property that the town is involved in purchasing be bought as a buffer area. She suggested the Mill Neck Marina on Hernan Avenue, a former boatyard in Locust Valley, be purchased for open space. She suggested that as a result of this case in which Nassau County sold that environmentally sensitive site to a developer for back taxes - that the county and town find a way to highlight sensitive parcels up for sale by the county or town, for back taxes.
Ms. DuBois also suggested the town keep watch on any parcels on the Oyster Bay Eastern Waterfront area saying that such sites as the lumber yard and the Captain Cucci property would fit "like little pieces of the puzzle" in a larger plan for the area.
She wanted TR Park restored, and said if the offer of a fee in lieu of taxes is paid by the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Museum, that the $50,000 isn't used to lower the TR Park's budget but is added to it for park enhancement. Ms. DuBois also wanted the town to give her the actual count of the number of parking spaces in Firemen's Field.
Ms. DuBois cautioned the town that the project for basketball courts at Centre Island Beach could be a problem for the Diamond Back Turtles that use that area as their prime breeding ground. She said the present football field was where they laid their eggs. She said it is important that the kids not go where the eggs are laid. Another problem is raccoon control and she said left over garbage could attract the raccoons.
Annette Rostad of Bayville came to add her plea for a skateboard site. She said the young skateboard athletes are awesome, and passionate about the sport and that they are talented.
Len Genova said when they tried to build a skate park in Farmingdale over a year ago, they didn't use concrete and there were problems with noise.
Patrice Benneward of the Glenwood/Glen Head Civic Association asked about the propane field in Glenwood Landing that they hoped would be bought by the town. She was in favor of a village green on the southwest corner of Glen Cove Avenue and Glenwood Road.
Robin Kriesberg, the new Friends of the Bay executive director, nominated five properties: the Humes 15-acre Mill Neck property with a pond that protects the Shu Swamp area; she, too, nominated the Mill Neck Marina on Hernan Avenue; the Mill Pond House wetland; the Held property in Oyster Bay Cove to protect Tiffany Creek; the 3-acre Olesner property on Centre Island, a waterfront strip which is the habitat for shorebirds. Ms. Kriesberg mentioned other municipalities involved in some of those sites and Len Genova asked her to give the committee more information on those connections for funding.
Louise Harrington, former FOB executive director who now represents the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and is their liaison to the LI Sound Study group was pleased with the third environmental bond act for the town. She said there is a great deal of work going on in the 33 acres around the Long Island Sound. She said Congress is pleased with what has been happening to preserve the Sound and that as a result they are giving a bigger appropriation for 2008 in partnership with the state. She said some acquisitions need more than two partners and that the town should look for them.
Lisa Ott, director of the North Shore Land Alliance, thanked the town for this third bond act. She handed them a list of properties she suggested for the SEA Fund III. She proposed 12 sites, re-affirming some sites proposed by other speakers:
Properties Worthy of Consideration:
1. Rottkamp Farms, Old Brookville - purchase of development rights on Town of Oyster Bay's largest producer of locally grown fruits and vegetables - 48-acre parcel, Special Groundwater Protection Area (SGPA) (Nassau County Open Space List)
2. Centre Island Properties - two adjacent 3-acre beachfront properties of great environmental significance
3. Pulling Property, Oyster Bay Cove- 12-acre development rights in Oyster Bay SGPA (Town, County and State Open Space Lists)
4. Humes Property, Mill Neck - A 15-acre portion which will connect with the existing Shu Swamp Preserve. Potential for partnering with county and state for acquisition costs. (County and State Open Space Lists)
5. La Selva/St. Francis Property - Upper Brookville, 10-acre portion adjacent to Planting Fields Arboretum. SGPA (State Open Space List)
6. Brookville Nurseries Property, Brookville at Route 25A, 20-acres of undeveloped land in a highly traveled scenic corridor. Agricultural potential. (State-designated Long Island North Shore Heritage Area)
7. Tiffany Road, Oyster Bay Cove - Two 4-acre parcels adjoining The Nature Conservancy Preserve on Cove Road. SGPA, Tiffany Creek Watershed and Trail Opportunity
8. Mill Pond House, Oyster Bay Hamlet - 2-acre parcel adjoining Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge
9. Keyspan Property, Glenwood Landing - 7 acres of important Hempstead Harbor waterfront property, trails and public access to waterfront (State and County Open Space Lists)
10. Woodbury Hills, Woodbury - 5-acre parcel adjoining Trail View State Park, SGPA, trails and expansion of existing park (State Open Space List)
11. Mill River Road, Upper Brookville - 100-acre parcel in SGPA perfect for a passive preserve (State Open Space List)
12. Gold Coast Farm, Old Brookville- 20-acre development rights potential. SGPA and agricultural opportunity
Len Genova thanked Ms. Ott saying she helped secure the 28-acre Littauer property. "She was invaluable in the acquisition," he said.
The President of the Tappan Beach Boat Owners Association spoke about the negative impact of new fields planned at the parking lot of the Tappan Beach Marina. It appears that for the past seven years the town has hoped to purchase land from KeySpan to the south of Tappan Beach that would ease the situation of giving space to create fields. (Mr. Genova said the town is a willing buyer but the owners, National Grid are not willing sellers - it appears.) The lot in question is a lot for natural gas tanks and is all overgrown. The speaker said the Nassau County Police are putting abandoned boats there. He added, he understood that the town needs fields but didn't want to lose part of the beach/marina property.
On his second day on the job as the new Oyster Bay Main Street Association executive director, Isaac Kremer spoke to the committee in favor of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum that is seeking to improve town property in front of the former LIRR stationhouse. He said he didn't represent the OBRM but that their president, John Specce, is an MSA board member. He called the area around the stationhouse "an asphalt jungle" and said the new plaza would become a pedestrian plaza. He said it increases recreational access to TR Park and is in walking distance of the downtown area. It will be more aesthetically pleasing and added, they might even be able to have native plants there.
Michael Svitlik came to ask for a skateboarding park. He said the sport has gone mainstream but there are not places where they can skate. He said in some towns, kids have their skateboard taken away. He said they are told they can't skate but not given a place to skate. He said a skatepark located in Bethpage, and made of concrete, would take about 150 x 150 square feet. He said it was important to find a reputable builder with experience in creating a concrete skate park. He said one in Stamford, CT, is very successful and draws people from a large area. Len Genova said they had tried a skatepark facility in Allen Park but the problem he said, is noise, a quality of life issue. Mr. Svitlik agreed that some ramps reviberate like a drum which is why the choice of builder is so important.
Carol DiPaolo, director of the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, asked the town to put onto its website the properties that have been nominated for the SEA Fund bond act; and tell where they stand, and what new ones are being considered: a status list of what is being considered; what is being carried over, and what is new. Mr. Genova said that would be easy to do.
She is interested in creating trailways and blueways around Hempstead Harbor. She said Tappan Beach was looking better but suggested the park needs trees and landscaping along Shore Road.
She also nominated the four corners area in Glen Head where a vacant lot could be used for a village park.
Jack Bernstein of Oyster Bay asked that the town continue to improve TR Park and restore the memorial portion of the area, as well as work on the sports field. As a resident of Hill Drive he testified that it is dangerous now, as parents drop off children at Marino Park and added that a parking lot would help make that area safer. He said that Ralph Marino, for whom the park was named, was his brother-in-law. Mr. Bernstein, an MSA board member, said that the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum plaza entrance to the park will benefit the businesses in the hamlet.
The four citizen members of the SEA Fund II Advisory Committee are Laurie Farber, a biology/ecology teacher from Jericho, active in numerous conservation organizations including the Long Island Chapter of the Sierra Club; Teresa M. Kinsley, P.E. of Massapequa, an environmental engineer for more than 18 years including service with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Norman Parsons, former mayor of the Village of Sea Cliff, active in numerous environmental organizations including the North Shore Environmental Alliance and national Theodore Roosevelt Association, which is heavily involved in conservation issues; and Kim Torrellas, commissioner of the Hicksville Baseball Association and president of the Hicksville Football Association; and John Lynott, of Massapequa Lacrosse. Also on the committee are representatives of the supervisor's office, town attorney's office, and the Departments of Environmental Resources, Parks and Public Works.