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TOBAY Residents Want Allen Park's Future to Include Pool

The park on Motor Avenue and the new park land sits on and near a WWII-era Superfund site.

The future of  a triangular Long Island parcel of fine playing fields, a supermarket and a Superfund site, became the focus of the Town of Oyster Bay this week.

With rumors swirling in the community about its future, members of Farmingdale Aquatics cancelled their Tuesday practice to descend on the board en masse. What resulted was a lively discussion about the various options for the undeveloped portion of the town land, located adjacent to the popular community playground.

Bill Manton, head coach of the swim club, argued for the town to build an Olympic-size, indoor pool facility on the undeveloped portion of the town's land. The team has developed many top-notch swimmers over the years from the community, Manton said, by working 11 months a year, six days a week and attending 8-10 competitions a year.

Manton and others expressed concern about an unsubstantiated report that the town was considering a plan to help renovate the Farmingdale High School pool. Manton's team now practices there, and any long-term renovations at the high school would "probably put us out of business for good," Manton said.

Swim team members need nearly year-round conditioning to remain competitive, he said, and other Long Island facilities aren't an option. A parade of swim team members followed Manton to the podium to plead their case for a new, town-owned state-of-the-art pool. 

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto responded that there are no specific plans for the Allen Park property: "It’s purely speculative," he said. "Everything is on the table. When we acquired the land adjacent to Allen Park the land belongs to the residents. There has been a hue and cry to put a pool there and we're inclined to consider that."

Later, Manton estimated such a facility would cost $20 million.

The triangular site defined by Motor Avenue, Fulton Street and Heisser Lane, now home to a football field, softball fields and handball courts, has had a checkered history:

In 1940, Liberty Aircraft Products Company occupied the site, producing aircraft parts and metal finishing work during World War II and the Korean War. During WWII, federal wartime agencies took ownership of some of the facilities there, according to a report on the site issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

After the war, the site was converted to an industrial park and, later, to light industrial and warehouse uses, according to the EPA report.

Liberty and other companies left behind a toxic legacy: a groundwater plume contaminated with organic and inorganic substances lies beneath the 30-acre industrial area and extends about a mile to the south, according to the EPA. Portions of the Massapequa Preserve, a nature preserve located about one-half mile to the south, are also contaminated from the old plant, according to the EPA.

The property was deemed a federal "Superfund" site, a designation that provides federal money to clean-up or contain the contaminated area and prevent it's further spread. Two decades ago the area was designated a national priority for the EPA, which assumed the role of lead agency in documenting the extent of the contamination and determining the best remediation plan.

Ultimately, the EPA was developing a remedial plan which would clean up the property only to commercial/industrial standards, limiting cleanup efforts to full removal of only some areas of contamination and capping others. This changed when the town announced its intention of acquiring portions of the property, the report says.

Today, the eastern-most parcel of the property is home to a  and the remaining 22 acres are town property. An extensive cleanup is nearing completion at an estimated cost of $32 million. An additional phase of cleanup and monitoring will continue for some time, the report states.

Officials said the Town of Oyster Bay, which is protected from any future litigation by the EPA agreements, will host community meetings later this year about the park's future expansion.

Rosemarie Stauber June 12, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Why is it that few comments speak about the potential long term danger of building a pool, with our tax dollars, on land that was a Superfund site???? Did the TOB, or it's residents, not learn from the mistakes made with the Bethpage pool? If you don't remember, there was a chemical issue at the Bethpage pool, and our tax dollars were used to repair the situation. I believe that the pool was closed for a period of time as well. Please understand, I am an avid swimmer and we join the TOB pool at Marjorie Post every year. A pool at Allen Park would be closer to home. However - is a former Superfund site the best location for a pool??? I don't think so.... Please TOB - find another place for a pool - and put something else at Allen Park - for everyone's long term saftey.
asavri June 12, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Rosemarie - Can you elaborate on what happened at TOB Bethpage Pool? Online I see that there was a chemical issue in 2002. Did they clear that up? Is it safe now or rather would you and your family swim in? We are new to Bethpage and cant seem to find anyone local that has anything bad to say about it though I am very skeptical.
Phil Healey June 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM
The concerns of the former super fund site are valid , however, the best use for the cleaned up land is to devise an use that utilizes an impermable material such as concrete to cap the area. The concrete that is used for development ,along with other materils that do not allow any ground water leaching and, which move storm water off the site are the best materils to bring this property back into a benefcial use. The construction techniques that essentially cap the site and provide the final closure to this decades old wound in the community. A thought out design and construction plan can remove any potential issues on this former polluted site.. Unfortunately in Nassau County we are , what is termed a built out community, meaning that new open space is almost non existent. We see that everyday as homes are razed and rebuilt and former gas stations are now medical offices, and the Allen park extension is no different. The Town leaders have the ability to hire the best and brighhtest engineers on Long Island, to provide a great community asset , a pool.
Helen March 31, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Everyone seems to be jumping on board for a community pool - I'm hesitant for several reasons. 1. cost. 2. safety and 3. The HS swim team needs a better pool for many reasons - they would be there - then there is SUNY FDALE - they could be there - then there were two other towns mentioned that needed swimming facilities - THEN you'd have CYO or some other organization coming in. When, exactly, would plain ol' residents get to use the pool? Just tossing that in the mix. I'm not stirring the pot - but this pool could be the equivalent of the turf field they put in - just try and get time on that field.....being TOBAY facilities you can't say no to TOBAY towns....
AA December 02, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Just called town of Oyster Bay and they say they have NO indoor pools, just outdoor ones. Other state have this, why can't we?

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