By Jake Pellegrino
The Roslyn Estates Board of Trustees got its first look Monday at the blueprints for a proposed playground to be built at Azalea Park, located at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Searingtown Road.
The blueprints were presented by Richard Gibney, principal of Gibney Design Landscape Architecture, an arboriculture and horticulture consulting firm.
Gibney, a certified arborist, said the site design, or design development, will be dictated by the community’s needs.
“They tell us we want it for 5-to-12-year-olds or 2-to-5-year-olds etcetera,” Gibney said. “We’re a sponge at this point, we just need to know what we’re building.”
Residents have been asking for a park since last summer, when the village debated terminating the Tennis King lease and using some of the property for a village park.
The lease was later renewed, but the conversation continued to add the village’s first village-owned park, and a topographical survey, a landscape architect and a conceptual design for a playground were approved in December with costs not to exceed $5,000.
Gibney said the accessibility and safety needs of the public must be considered when mapping out the blueprint for a project.
“ADA regulations says everyone needs equal access,” Gibney said. “We can’t have stairs but no ramp. We look at fencing, benches, and gazebos. We also have to look at safety and surveillance: Can kids hide out in corners from police?”
The current blueprints for the playground consist of two play areas — one for the 2-to-5-year-old age group and another for the 5-to-12-year-old age group, a gazebo, a slide and two potential play areas where the village can install more equipment at an additional cost.
The blueprints show many trees are to be demolished to accommodate to the ADA-regulation handicap features of the park.
“It’s a very steeply sloped park and in order to provide handicap access we need to have flat areas. In order to do that we need to knock down the trees,” Mayor Paul Leone Peters said.
Another reason for chopping down the trees is to improve safety.
“I look at the base of the tree and it looks healthy, but then you look closer and you see that it can be dangerous,” Gibney said. “We look at crown decline — that’s pointing at serious root problems. I’m not looking to take trees out, but I don’t want to keep trees if it poses a safety hazard.”
Although the playground will have age-specific designated play areas, Trustee Stephen Fox said he doubted children older than 10 years old would use the playground facilities.
Fox asked Gibney if any additional items, such as a basketball hoop or a dog run, could be added to the park to expand the age range of its visitors, but Gibney said balls bouncing into the street without a fence around the park could be dangerous.
“Outside of that, I’m open to anything,” Gibney said. “Our next step is taking your conclusions and starting to look at some numbers and equipment.”
The village’s next board meeting is scheduled for March 19, where the future of the playground is expected to be discussed.