Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 01 October 2010 00:00
During a beautiful morning on Saturday, Sept. 25, opening ceremonies were held for the new turf field, recently constructed at 300 Robbins Lane. While the field is technically located in Syosset, it is a field intended primarily for the use of the children of Jericho- a fact made obvious by the scores of children in blue and yellow athletic gear, the Jericho High School Marching Band, and the Jericho Jayhawk, the community’s favorite fuzzy blue mascot.
Joel Sweetbaum of the Jericho Athletic Association (JAA) was the first to speak during the day’s festivities. Sweetbaum extended his gratitude to both Supervisor John Venditto and his predecessor in the JAA, Jack Schnitt. “And now, the Jericho community has their very own sports facility for children of all ages,” said Sweetbaum.
Next, Venditto introduced the color guard, courtesy of the Jericho Fire Department, and the Jericho High School Marching Band, led by Evangeline Bellon, performed the National Anthem.
During his speech, Venditto said that the new park sent a message about what the community wants for Jericho and the Town of Oyster Bay, and that the park is the best example of what can happen when residents care about the community. “This park is evidence that you can’t find a nicer place to live or raise a family,” Venditto said.
Venditto went on to acknowledge Assemblyman Michael Montesano, Nassau County Legislator Rose Walker, Reciever of Taxes James J. Stefanich, Councilwoman Elizabeth Faughnan, Councilman Chris Coschignano, and Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia, all present at the ceremony. He also thanked the people at Landtek, the construction company that had built the field.
Craig Snyder, president of the Birchwood Civic Association (BCA) thanked Venditto in turn. “As they said in a movie, ‘if you build it, they will come.’ Supervisor Venditto, you built it, and we have all come to thank you,” said Snyder.
Snyder noted the presence of members of the Cerro Wire Coalition at the event, and the continuing efforts of members of the community to block the construction of a mall at the nearby Cerro Wire site. After the ceremony, Snyder told Anton Newspapers that while he did not see the opening of the park as having a direct effect on the ongoing legal battle concerning the future of the Cerro Wire site, he saw it as a step in the right direction. He commented further that the presence of the park would have an impact on future environmental studies to be done on the mall’s potential impact.
Snyder emphasized what a positive contribution the field was to the entire community. “Children no longer need to dream about playing under the lights,” he said.
Last but not least, Jericho Union Free School District Superintendent Hank Grishman thanked many of the aforementioned parties, and noted that the day’s events were an example of cooperation on behalf of children.
To cap off the ceremony, several Jericho children presented Venditto with a sports bag containing a jersey, a polo shirt, a rally towel and seat cushion, all with the Jericho Athletic Association and Field of Champions logos.
After the ceremony, hamburgers and hot dogs, courtesy of Cheeburger Cheeburger, were provided, and many children played on the bounce floats. The young athletes took to the field for an afternoon of sports at 2 p.m.
The Jericho Athletic Association as well as the Birchwood Civic Association wish to thank all those who supported and assisted with regard to this park/field project as well as the opening ceremony: Supervisor Venditto and the Town of Oyster Bay, the Jericho Athletic Association Board of Directors, the Birchwood Civic Association Board of Directors, the Jericho School District Superintendent and Board of Education, the Jericho High School Marching Band, the Jericho High School Athletic Department, the Jericho Volunteer Fire Department, Chiefs, Commissioner and members, the Syosset Volunteer Fire Department, and the Jericho community for its support.