New Hyde Park residents are allowed to bring one guest to Memorial Park for free starting on Monday, Aug. 8.
The updated policy comes as Mayor Christopher Devane is trying to reach a compromise over the residential ID permits that were instituted this summer to use the park, he said during Thursday’s board of trustees meeting.
Since May 16, village residents have needed a village ID to enter the park, which can be acquired at village hall. Non-residents, including residents of North New Hyde Park, have to pay $10 per person per day to use the park.
Devane said almost 1,800 ID’s have been given out to residents so far, a program which he called a success.
“The whole purpose of this policy was security. To stop what was going on in the park and know who goes in and who goes out,” Devane said Thursday night. “Whatever was happening at this park this time last year is not happening anymore. It simply doesn’t exist.”
Devane cited trash, inappropriate language, drug dealing on William Street, dilapidated basketball courts and hoops and graffiti as some of the reasons he said conditions at the park were getting out of hand during a tense Board of Trustees meeting held in June.
The mayor said that in the past month he had held two meetings with six residents who live in different parts of the village to continue searching for a compromise on the non-resident policy.
Devane said he was grateful to the residents who shared their time and one non-resident who submitted a letter to him that he called thought-provoking, rational and civil.
“We spent six hours on the non-resident guest policy,” Devane said. “We are trying to forge a compromise.”
A secondary goal for the new policy, Devane said, is to spread the cost of the maintenance that goes on in the park. Devane said that roughly $300,000 has gone into the park already with more spending on the way when construction for the new playground gets started this fall.
On the financial front, New Hyde Park has a budget of $7.4 million for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
The budget called for additional appropriations of $747,433.44, an increase of 11% over the current year. An increase of $719,872.52 in the tax levy represents an additional 15.66% over the current year.
The village estimates that the average household will incur an additional $200.88 in its tax bill as a result of the budget increase.
Devane said nothing is finalized, but the group of six residents recommended that the village determine the amount of money spent on Memorial Park, roughly $850,000 Devane said, and work from there when considering a leisure pass for a family of four.
Another suggestion to the board was to limit 75 to 100 non-resident family passes to a first-come-first-serve basis and require additional non-residents to pay on a per diem basis like they are currently.
In unrelated village news, Thursday night was the first public meeting to be held in the new Assembly Hall as village hall continues to undergo internal renovations.
Since construction began March 3, the Board of Trustees’ activities and courtroom business have taken place next door in Marcus Christ Hall, which is due to be knocked down to make way for a new community center.
Assembly Hall now features its original tin ceilings after the previous drop ceiling panels were removed and the wooden chairs were unbolted from the floor. The current wood floor was filled in where the chairs previously stood and had its varnished removed, revealing its original colors.
New window panels were also installed alongside a fresh paint job, new dais and lighting.
In the hallway, ceiling tiles were also removed to reveal the 13-foot-9 archways from the building’s first inception.
On the outside of village hall, a new sign was placed above the front door that is lit up at night and a handicap-accessible ramp will be installed in the future.