Gulfway Marine Service owner Fred Lamac is thrilled with the TONH's ongoing cleanup of Sheets Creek in Manhasset Bay as the debris field has blighted his view and those of his customers for years. Jennifer Wilson-Pines, who is involved in four organizations, chair of the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, conservation chair of the North Shore Audubon Society, commissioner of Environmental Affairs in the Village of Manorhaven and board of trustees of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, praised those involved. She said, "Sheets Creek East has been an eyesore for Manhasset Bay for decades. Visual pollution can have as big an impact on quality of life as poor water quality. Many people said it could never be done, but with strong leadership, labor, and financial backing from the Town, and volunteers from the Marina businesses to Scout groups, the clean up of Sheets Creek East over the past few years has seen the removal of hundreds of tons of debris from our bay. I look forward to seeing the area reclaimed for passive recreation like kayaking or birding, and restored habitat when the last pieces of that once massive accumulation of marine salvage junk have been taken away."
Supervisor Kaiman, Councilman Pollack and Waterfront Advisor to the TONH Joel Ziev work to direct the removal of the tons of second-hand equipment that Ronaele Darress' dad accumulated on Nassau County Property when it was a marine salvage business. Others have also abandoned marine equipment there. Ziev said that barges have been carting off the unsightly debris for years. Volunteers should also be credited but it is "Kaiman's and Pollack's active support of this cleanup effort that is keeping it going," he said. "Look for additional progress in cleaning up this site. The goal is to remove as much debris as possible without disturbing the bottom. One of the challenges is to monitor the site to prevent additional dumping of marine debris such as old floating docks and boats."
The town has a lease on the county portion obtained for the purpose of facilitating the cleanup. Recently Mike DiNapoli of Breakwater Marine (no relationship to Tom DiNapoli) used a crane to hoist two huge truck bodies onto a barge. Items found and disposed of so far included barges, old metal cranes, floats, marine equipment, pilings and a tugboat. A pile driver split in half sits ready to be carted next. To access articles on the Sheets Creek cleanup from the Port Washington News on November 13, 1998, January 10, 2003 and May 5, 2006 go to antonnews.com and click on archives.
While the work on Sheets Creek cleanup has continued for a decade, a Hempstead Harbor project is in the planning stages. On the east side of Port Washington, the transfer to the TONH of Nassau County land bordering Hempstead Harbor and across West Shore Road is imminent. Definite plans for the 460 acres have not been announced but many ideas have been advanced by interested individuals. Ken Marlborough, the Physical Education and Athletics director for the Port Washington School District, sees the need for community sports facilities which could include an indoor pool, soccer and ball fields, handball courts, field house and sculling center. Fifty percent of Port Washington secondary school students participate in athletics, said Marlborough.
Other groups are interested in an equestrian center and a skateboard park. Members of PWGreen with its interest in environmental education and members of North Shore Audubon Society with its interest in bird watching and land conservation would like to see hiking trails and a nature preserve. Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington as part of the Shared Visioning process will be presenting a forum on ideas for the development of this property on November 13 at the library at 7:30 p.m. as part of their annual meeting. A $67,000 grant has already been allocated for the planning which Residents would like to see started as soon as possible said Executive Director Lee Ann Vetrone Timothy. Anyone who wants to express an opinion or get information can call Residents at 767-0095 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. "Now it is up to all of us who live here to take action," said Eric Pick, Residents Executive VP. " We should meet, discuss, write, email and phone our political leaders."