The recently passed bond issue provides funding to make Field 2 at [Great Neck] North High into another parking lot for students.
Although I supported the bond issue, I just became aware of this provision and realize that many others who voted yes do not know that their vote included this action.
l have asked the schools administration for the status of this provision, and pending their response, hope that presenting it in the open forum of the press will inform the community about this questionable expenditure and how it may be allocated to a more beneficial use.
The bond issue provides $652,000 for transforming soccer Field 2 at GNN (corner Beach and Polo) into a 97-spot parking lot for seniors, notwithstanding the 80 student parking spots now provided in the present lots, the additional street parking on Beach Road, and the other available parking in the upper lot at Parkwood across from the Middle School. This soccer field is used for night games through November and for the summer recreation program.
It is also among the remaining green places left in Great Neck, all the more precious as is, given the commercial and residential development of every open space in Great Neck and the great devastation of our tree stock in recent years.
The microburst, Hurricane Sandy, the loss of mature street trees to natural causes without replacement, have severely altered our landscape.
Great swathes of trees were removed to create the playing fields across Arrandale Avenue from the Middle School. We recognize that such development is necessary to our athletic program, and at least those fields constitute a land bank.
The renovation of the Middle School track into a first-class facility has not yet provided for replacement of the trees and shrubs removed alongside Arrandale Avenue, which is now a barren corridor.
Even parkland is now violable by local government.
Kings Point Park supporters, through a favorable ruling in the New York State Supreme court a few years ago, initially beat back a threat by VKP to seize part of its acreage for an ill-conceived public works project.
That victory for what should be a forever wild sanctuary was snatched away last year by an egregious legislative maneuver which will force the park to give up a wooded parcel. We don’t seem to grasp that once gone, open spaces and parkland are irretrievable.
That should not be the fate of Field 2.
Instead of clearcutting it and paving it over, can’t we preserve this verdant, sylvan setting for a better use for all our students?
Could not an imaginative program be created to establish on that site an open air laboratory for earth and biological sciences and other biotech-oriented research that would provide our students the potential to contribute to the search for knowledge in sustainable energy, conservation and ecological studies?
Such a program would highlight our school system’s innovative planning for the future of education and be a worthy demonstration of the stellar reputation the Board of Education and our able administration have enjoyed through their efforts for so many years. It would be a significant community benefit as well.