BY JOHN NUGENT
Improvements at Memorial Park in New Hyde Park should be completed by Memorial Day, village Mayor Christopher Devane said at the Board of Trustees meeting last Thursday.
“I want the people to be proud that they live in this village,” he said.
He added: “If you want to impact a young person’s life, impact their recreation. Give them a safe place to play.”
New fencing around the property, a bocce court, repairs to the basketball and tennis courts, new walkways and six new flagpoles are included in the park project, according to the mayor.
In addition, a new front entrance will be constructed on Lincoln Avenue at Central Boulevard.
Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) is working on securing a grant for repairs and upgrades to the children’s playground. Devane said he expects that money in the fall.
Before moving on to other agenda items, the mayor turned to the subject of residency requirements for use of the park.
Devane made it clear that although the park has been frequented by many nonresidents for several years, the rule in the village code of “residents only” will be strictly enforced from now on.
The new policy has sparked resistance from some people who are not residents but have been using the park for several years, arguing that they have no other place to go. Devane said he received a threat from one person who declared he would create “a public relations nightmare” for the village if the residency requirement is not rescinded.
Saying that the park is paid for by village residents only, Devane told of incidents in which residents were unable to use the facilities because they were occupied by people who live outside the village.
A park attendant will be posted at the entrance to verify village residency. “We are going to enforce the rules of the park,” the mayor said.