For years, Firemen's Field has been called the solution to all the parking problems in the hamlet of Oyster Bay. Over the years we have continually heard that town employees should be parking in Firemen's Field and not taking all the parking spaces in the lot behind Buckingham's Variety Store and the other commercial entities on Audrey Avenue and preventing store customers from parking there.
This weekend, residents are being asked how they want Firemen's Field to be used as Dan Burden of Walkable Communities returns to Oyster Bay on March 14 and 15 to address the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Museum Proposal for Firemen's Field. Groups are meeting on Friday, March 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Green Room, Oyster Bay Public Library. Dan Burden will meet with individual community groups in "interview format," to be scheduled in advance. On Saturday, March 15, at 10 a.m. there will be a Walking Tour "Audit" of the Firemen's Field site: Municipal Lot #06. It will be followed by a town meeting from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the St. Dominic Canavan Center. All are welcome. (For more information or to schedule an interview for your community organization, call 922-6982.)
The Theodore Roosevelt Association is proposing to lease the field from the town and to build a TR Museum of about 70,000 sq. ft., at last count with their offices and a research center to be located elsewhere. They are expected to build a parking garage for the now-needed 234 spaces. There are presently about 250 spaces on Firemen's Field, minus the about 50 spaces along the LIRR right-of-way for their parking.
Firemen's Field is used by a multiple number of groups. Caroline DuBois' Internet site SaveFiremen's Field.org has a long list of them. Among the users are OB-EN parents who park their cars as they and their young athletes take part in games held at the OB-EN school's TR Memorial Field. Interestingly, TR Park has been suggested as a place for those parents to park, instead - by those who see the TR Museum as a needed entity for the hamlet.
At the visioning meeting for the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum visioning, the solution to their parking needs is Firemen's Field. The proposed plan eliminates the current parking along the LIRR right-of-way next to the former LIRR Oyster Bay line station house.
Sunday, March 9, the United Cerebral Palsy Association held its Polar Bear swim. We arrived last to take one of the last 10 spaces available in the TR Park parking lot to the right side of the entrance. (The marina section was well-filled with cars and boat trailers also.)
As you may have read, the Oyster Bay-East Norwich sports clubs are proposing taking away much of that parking to create a much-needed soccer/football field. They are proposing using the Capone property which is not big enough for a soccer field for a parking lot. How that proposal floats with the environmental community by taking open space to use for a parking field will be interesting.
The sports clubs will need the approval of the Theodore Roosevelt Association for the changes in the park. Using the Capone property takes them out of the need to use Firemen's Field, which would appear to be a good compromise solution for them since, interestingly, Norm Parsons, who was the TRA interim president and who wants the TR Museum at Firemen's Field is on the committee to decide if the OB-EN sports groups request can be nominated for the SEA Fund bond act.
At the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary fundraiser at Planting Fields Arboretum Historic State Park he said, "I'm sympathetic to them, they really need fields. They are scrambling to find them."
Well, he is right. Everyone is scrambling to use Firemen's Field. Our suggestion is that you take time from your busy schedule to take part in this weekend's discussion about Firemen's Field. This is your moment to be heard. After the results of the weekend are formalized - that will be that. So be sure your opinions and suggestions are part of the future plans for the hamlet. - DFK