(Editor's Note: The following was sent to Dr. Martin Brooks, Superintendent of the Plainview Old Bethpage School District and is being reprinted here at the author's request.)
It is a shame that in the year 2004 the Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School Track and Field Facility looks like it does, a wheat field. I have had numerous conversations and supplied other photo's in years past to the Plainview-Old Bethpage School Board, Buildings and Grounds-Larry Herzog, Athletic Department-Kevin McDermott going on three years now. It is one thing although now unacceptable to tell the taxpayers that you cannot afford a reasonable new cost effective Track and Field Facility of which I proposed to help get fully funded several years ago without putting a burden on the taxpayers. But to insult us by not maintaining or maintaining on an ongoing basis what you do have, which is an unsafe Cinder Track and Field Facility due clearly to the lack of maintenance again on an ongoing basis is totally unacceptable. The football and baseball fields at the same location are mowed and maintained (prior to and during the summer) so why is it the Track and Field Facility is not given the same care and maintained on an ongoing basis?
A photo taken of the track on July 20.
We pay some of the highest school taxes on Long Island and why our facilities look the way they do is beyond many of us taxpayers in the community. Do we have another Roslyn School District on our hands? What happened to all the money we pay in school taxes for the many years we have lived in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District? I have on behalf of the kids in our community asked nicely and was willing to wait the appropriate time frame to get the work done in a reasonable time frame all to fall on deaf ears time and time again. Then to be given unacceptable excuses by the grounds and maintenance department run by Larry Herzog and others in the POB School District have now gone beyond acceptable.
Kids and others in our community don't currently use this Track and Field Facility as often as used in other school districts although they very much would love to but due to grass as shown growing up to your ankles, hidden bottles, debris and rocks in the grass creating unsafe running, walking or training conditions are the main reasons. Many other communities have all weather tracks whereas their children and athletes of their communities are using them on a regular basis to get prepared for the upcoming sports seasons, get into personal physical shape and with the rise of obesity with kids today the proper facility will allow these kids to workout and get into shape. Why in the year 2004 in a well-to-do community such as Plainview-Old Bethpage should this be happening?
I spoke with Howard Pollitt this morning regarding what Larry Hergoz intentions are regarding the initial maintenance of the POB JFK Track. He indicated to me that weather pending on Monday, July 26th, 2004 that Larry will be spraying some form of environmental chemical on the track weeds to see if it kills them off. Then he indicated that Larry will follow up within the week to scrap and tamp down the entire track of these weeds and rocks etc. whereas it will be useable to now run on safely, hopefully.
I mentioned to Pollitt that last night it was noted that several dogs defecated on the track and indicated to him that in all the years I have been running I have never seen dog defecation on an all weather track and I've been on hundreds of all weather tracks. The dogs here don't know the difference between our track and a field as they both look the same. This raises a health issue, which also should be addressed.
While we all await the end results of this endeavor I asked Pollitt why deal with chemicals at all? Why not just put the proper base/barrier down in the first place where weeds won't be able to grow through? His reply was that's a good suggestion and I will mention it to Larry.
Dr. Brooks I am in no way trying to be a landscaper, or superintendent of grounds but just using basic common sense to resolve what is basically a simple issue if it were addressed properly in the first place years ago. I thank you for your support and helping to resolve this issue for the kids of our community. I will however still be lobbying for a much deserved All Weather Track for the children of our community.
Robert F. Eslick