Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli (D-Thomaston), Senator Michael Balboni (R-Mineola), North Hempstead Supervisor May Newburger, and Inc. Village of Port Washington North Mayor Thomas Pellegrino were joined by Jennifer Rimmer of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington to announce state and local funding to purchase the Fearon Marina, clean up Sheets Creek and complete the planning for a recreational trail. All of these projects are along Manhasset Bay on the Port Washington peninsula.
The Port Washington peninsula has experienced steady growth and expansion leaving a shortage of open space, little access to the waterfront, and impaired marine water quality in some of the inner creeks and bays.
The acquisition of the Fearon Marina will provide much needed open and recreational space. The cleanup of Sheets Creek will improve water quality and increase wildlife habitat. The planning and design of a recreational waterfront "Bay Walk Park" will provide public access to the waterfront and establish linkages with other trails. These trails span the Manhasset Bay from the Town Dock to Manorhaven Dock on the western side of Port Washington and Hempstead Harbor from Bar Beach to Roslyn on the eastern side of the peninsula.
In announcing the three state grants, Assemblyman DiNapoli, who is chairman of the Assembly's Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "By working together, we are acquiring critical coastal lands, restoring marine waters, transforming our waterfront, and providing public access to Manhasset Bay and the Long Island Sound. The actions that we are announcing today will demonstrably help improve the quality of the environment and the quality of life throughout the Port Washington peninsula."
"Public access to the waterways in our area is critical," Senator Balboni said. "With dozens of miles of shoreline in my district, it is important that we continue to find ways to beautify our waterfronts. People will now be able to enjoy vistas along our beautiful shorelines."
He then thanked Governor Pataki for helping to obtain the grants for the project, noting that the governor works hard to improve the environment.
North Hempstead Supervisor May Newburger said, "Through this collaborative commitment of state and local officials, we have been able to rediscover and preserve the little waterfront we have left. I am proud to once again stand with Assemblyman DiNapoli, Senator Balboni, Mayor Pellegrino and Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington to celebrate, preserve and protect our natural resources. Today, we begin the hard work and cleanup of Sheets Creek; tomorrow we enjoy a better quality for generations to follow."
Village of Port Washington North Mayor Thomas Pellegrino said, "The village will use the $165,000 state grant to work to develop and complete the planning and engineering for a "Bay Walk Park," a continuous waterfront park and multi-use trail along Manhasset Bay. The acquisition of the Fearon Marina by the village, with $125,000 from the state, is an integral component to the village's plans to recapture its waterfront and provide a 'Bay Walk Park' by placing into public ownership contiguous parkland along the water's edge for future generations."
The mayor thanked all the officials present and offered a personal thanks to David Berg of Comer Engineering, Planning Board Chair Tom Imperatore, Village Clerk Parma Torrisi, his boards over the past few years and Village Attorney Steve Limmer for their invaluable input and work in obtaining the grants from the state.
The mayor announced that the village will host and fund a planning and design roundtable this winter. "This roundtable---Bay Walk Park: Completing the Vision--will bring together the public, government, and civic and environmental groups to conceptualize the "Bay Walk Park." When completed, residents will be able to enjoy the natural wonders of Manhasset Bay while strolling or jogging along an attractively landscaped pedestrian pathway.
RFAMBPW's Executive Director Jennifer Rimmer said, "This level of cooperation and commitment to open space preservation and coastal restoration by the state, town and local governments is rare on Long Island. We congratulate all parties involved for taking the steps needed to restore and transform this shoreline and bring the Shoreline to Shoreline Trail system closer to reality.
The three New York State grants announced are:
One hundred twenty-five thousand dollars toward the Incorporated Village of Port Washington North's cost (total to equal $540,000) for acquisition of the "Fearon Marina." The parcel is approximately 10,700 square feet, is between public-owned properties, and is located directly on Manhasset Bay. The property will offer users of the "Bay Walk Park" a variety of visual experiences, including sweeping views of Manhasset Bay. The property abuts a pocket park to the south and open space to the north and is an integral piece to the realization of the "Bay Walk Park."
One hundred sixty-five thousand dollars to the Incorporated Village of Port Washington North for completing the planning and design of a continuous 4.3 waterfront park and trail along Manhasset Bay and Shore Road. The project will link several villages, town and county-owned properties. It will also continue the Shoreline to Shoreline Greenway System on the Port Washington peninsula. Through local parks and streets, the peninsula will be linked by a continuous greenway trail.
"Bay Walk Park" is a comprehensive plan to beautify the waterfront area along both sides of Shore Road in Port Washington. The park will provide the village with more green space while enhancing the aesthetics of the community at large. It will open up scenic vistas on Manhasset Bay with the demolition of structures, plantings of native coastal grasses, flowers and bushes, a brick pathway, antique style lighting, decorative benches and other amenities.
Seventy-five thousand dollars to the Town of North Hempstead for the cleanup of Sheets Creek. This will include sediment testing and removal of debris such as abandoned barges and tugboats, marine salvage, crane towers and sediment. This project builds on work that has been recommended by the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, undertaken by the Town of North Hempstead and funded under previous EPF awards.
"The community of Port Washington and visitors to this scenic community will greatly benefit from the completion of these projects, observed DiNapoli. "The acquisition of Fearon Marina, cleanup of Sheets Creek, and development of the train system provides a unique opportunity for the Village of Port Washington North, the Town of North Hempstead, Nassau County and the state to create a community amenity that can be enjoyed today, and to establish a legacy that will be treasured by future generations," concluded DiNapoli.