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Letter: Ballfield Criticism Is Just a Product of the ‘Political Season’

The September 25 article titled ‘Carle Place Ballfields Strike Out’ features many misrepresentations of the Town of North Hempstead’s efforts to improve the playing fields and community room at Charles J. Fuschillo Park in Carle Place.  

 

As we are in “political season”, it is unfortunate for everyone that my opponent has painted an inaccurate and unfair picture of reality. As the North Hempstead Town Councilwoman representing Carle Place, Westbury, New Cassel and Old Westbury, I take pride in encouraging dialogue and communication between myself and my constituents, and addressing their concerns in a timely manner.  I have indeed received phone calls, emails and letters from the concerned residents quoted in this article.  I have met with these residents multiple times, most recently in July 2013, and worked hand-in-hand with the Town’s Parks Department to resolve any issues the residents have had about the parks in Carle Place.

 

Significant improvements have been made to both the community room and the ball fields at Fuschillo Park over the past several years.  The baseball infields were cut back, fresh clay was added prior to the 2013 season, and Town staff groom the fields daily when games are scheduled.  Old light poles that were no longer in use were also removed this summer.  In 2011, over $56,000 was invested for perimeter fencing for the basketball, tennis and handball courts.  The basketball and tennis courts were also resurfaced at that time.

 

The community room is also an important asset to the residents and is used by a variety of different organizations -— almost 200 times a year.  Over the past 18 months, a number of needed improvements have been made to this building including replacement of the flat portion of the roof and the ceiling in the lobby, replacement of the heating, cooling and ventilation system, repainting of the main meeting room, and installation of new high-efficiency lighting, all at a total cost of $354,000.  

 

Residents have notified me about the need for new fencing near the entrance to the Park, and the Town has set aside funds for this work in the 2014 budget.  The new fence will be installed once the infrastructure improvements at the adjacent Carle Place Water District property are completed. While perimeter fencing along homes on the south side of the park is in strong condition, I am working with the Parks Department to install new privacy screening for local residents.  

 

Infrastructure and quality of life improvements in the Carle Place community have always been a priority of mine.  I worked closely with the Town’s Public Works Department to complete a long awaited $3 million drainage and road reconstruction project covering 15 streets in the Appletree Lane area.   Bringing new businesses to Carle Place has also been a primary goal, as I have been able to bring stakeholders to the table with respect to the building of the new

Homewood Suites hotel.  I am currently working to help bring more restaurants and retail to Westbury Avenue. 

 

Through a cooperative effort with the community, we have achieved many positive things across my council district and Fuschillo Park is no exception.  However, I recognize the job is not done.  I will be meeting with the residents quoted in this article, and by working with them and the entire community, we will build on the improvements already made, and make this park the crown jewel of Carle Place that our residents deserve.

 

Viviana Russell

 

North Hempstead Town Councilwoman, District 1