The restoration and re-opening of Alvan O. Petrus Park has taken a giant leap forward. North Hempstead officials are predicting that the vacant park adjacent to Harbor Homes, which has fallen into a state of disrepair, will reopen in the summer of 2016.
A contract for engineering services has been awarded to Cashin Associates of Hauppauge to draw up plans for the renovation and to oversee the bidding and construction.
Port Washington councilwoman Dina DeGiorgio stated that the grading of the property has already been completed. “We hope to have a conceptual plan by late July and the next step would be to present the plan to the community with several options on what is to be included in the park. For example, should there be a full basketball court or just one hoop?”
DeGiorgio pointed out that there are space limitations at the park. The parcel is only a 1.5-acre lot and the Town is committed to retaining some natural space on the property. The park also needs to be compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which means that appropriate ingress and egress needs to be provided.
It has now been more than four years since the North Hempstead Housing Authority erected a fence around the park, cutting off access to a recreational facility that residents of Harbor Homes and the Cow Bay community had enjoyed for more than 25 years. During that time, the complicated issue of who could legally develop the 1.5 acres has been unraveled. JP Morgan Chase, which had owned the property along with the Housing Authority, finally agreed to give up ownership of the property, clearing the way for the Housing Authority to transfer the land to the Town of North Hempstead. The transfer to the Town was necessary because the Housing Authority cannot legally build and maintain parks.
The Town has already set aside $500,000 for the development of the park, which will be operated and maintained for the benefit of all Town residents. It will restore a recreational facility to a community that doesn’t have other parks within walking distance.
“The design stage of the park is underway and we hope to present some plans to the community in the late summer or early fall. We will be anxious to get input from the community, as we all work together to plan this wonderful neighborhood park for all to enjoy,” said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth.