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Town Unveils Grand Vision for Allen Park

Extensive improvements planned for former Liberty site. Renovations will come in two phases.

The Town of Oyster Bay unveiled an ambitious plan to expand and redevelop Thursday night to a largely enthusiastic crowd in Farmingdale.

About 500 people attended the community meeting Thursday night at to see the proposal that would add a community center, five baseball fields, an additional all-purpose football/soccer/lacrosse field and green space to an area once classified as a hazardous waste Superfund site.

The only element missing from the proposed facility was any plan to build a community pool on the site.

But local swimming enthusiasts, including , vice president of Farmingdale Aquatics, praised town leadership for its ongoing talks with the The two boards are discussing a partnership that would reovate the High School's antiquated pool and bring it into the 21st Century.

The town vowed to assist the swimmers find a temporary home during the renovations to the school pool. Town officials have said a new pool would cost $27 million to build and millions more annually to maintain.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor opened the meeting in Howitt's balloon-filled auditorum by saying the proposal is "not a done deal," and is still subject to further community discussion and a final nod by the Town Board. The Middle School was filled with youth league players in their uniforms. Some of them spoke along side their coaches in favor of the park's expansion.

For months, community groups, including sports leagues and civic groups, have offered suggestions for the renovations. The town's engineering firm, The LiRo Group of Syosset, used those ideas as the basis for the proposal.

The plan is ambitious and broken into two phases:

Phase one would completly transform the vacant area known as the , a 22-acre former EPA Superfund property on Motor Avenue. It's centerpiece would be a multi-purpose community center with a large meeting hall and stage, as well as smaller meeting rooms for various groups.

To the east is green space and a complex of five baseball diamonds for various uses. One of those is a "Challenger" field, devoted to use by special needs kids.

The second phase would commence in the existing park area to the west of the undeveloped area is completed, engineers said. During that time, the existing all-purpose turf field will be realligned and a second one added next to it. Playground facilities, toilets, a roller rink and a new park entrance are also in the plan.

When it's completed, perhaps by 2014, the entire park will be encircled by a mile-long walkway, secluded between dual tree lines.

The clean-up of the old Liberty site was completed last summer after 20 years. The town board , leaving some residents campaigning for different uses and some worried about the site’s history of contamination. Ground water monitoring will continue at the site and beyond for decades.

Robnoxious May 18, 2012 at 05:00 AM
The presentation was nicely done and will be a great addition to Farmingdale. Let's just hope they break ground before too long. Also, hope they are able to expedite the upgrade to the Farmingdale High School pool.
Linda Wargo May 18, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Well I hope the meeting hall is bigger than the one put in the Plainedge Park, Youth groups need space to hold events, that room is too small.
Rosemarie Stauber May 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM
It was a well done presentation and it appears that many ideas from the various community groups were incorporated into the plan. Also, the reasons why certain features were excluded (the pool) were appropriately explained. Many taxpayers were given the opportunity to speak and add their ideas and ask questions - most of which were answered on the spot. For me, it was probably the best experience I have ever had with town government - the TOB actually listened to what everyone wanted. I appreciated hearing Mr. Mike Grello speak and share the 'back-story' on the many years of effort he, Mr. Chuck Gosline, and the CCAF organization have put into this cause in order to insure that enough of an environmental cleanup was done on what was a toxic piece of land. People needed to know that this has been a long involved cause here in Fdale. However, what was not appreciated was the 2 men in the front right of the auditorium (DK and another man) to attempt to cut off Mr. Grello speaking by clapping in a way to get Mr. Grello to finish his comments, especially since he has worked so tirelessly on this cause for our community. Please note that I do not even know Mr. Grello at all - I just know of his extensive efforts and that he does not even live in Fdale anymore - but continued his work in order to see this to the finish.
Mary Ann Ferrara May 18, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Mary Ann Ferrara No need to worry about the youth teens - I asked if they will have a Youth Community Hall for the teens to meet instead of being in a parking lot or corner -? My answer" this will cause too much trouble"/////// So once again the teenages are not in the plans, how many teens have to die from alcohol and drugs before the officials and parents think about the youth who have no place to go and meet?
Diana F. May 18, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Nothing for the seniors in Farmingdale? This doesn't make sense. The seniors need a community center. A previous commenter said the teenagers were left out too. I'm thinking if we have a community center it can be a combined use center for seniors & teens alike -something sorely lacking in Farmingdale.
Diana F. May 18, 2012 at 03:06 PM
PS & believe it or not, seniors and teenagers do very well together since seniors are great mentors!
R A White May 18, 2012 at 05:11 PM
lets see parks being built over toxic waste superfund sites. Is that good idear? Do I. trust the gov't. to make this safe ? Bethpage Park anyone remember that one google it. Can it be made "safe" ? Watch out here comes the plume from dry cleaner at wauldbombs . cap vapors? ya thats easy.
Knox May 18, 2012 at 05:24 PM
There is a communtiy center include!
Diana F. May 18, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I think we need a center that is built specifically for seniors, not just a revamp of what is already there now.
Knox May 18, 2012 at 06:03 PM
There is a new 18,000 square foot community center planned and shown on the drawing
Dennis Winkler May 18, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Diana - The Community Center will be a brand new facility and have numeroud meeting rooms.
maria May 18, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Regarding the youth center, maybe the mayor can help get one of the many vacant buildings in F'dale converted onto a space for them, with pool tables, ping pong, etc.
Rosemarie Stauber May 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM
This brand new community center will have many meeting rooms including one large multi-purpose room. Also, there will be, according to the presentation, a space specifically for seniors - I'm sure the existing TOB Senior Program will now be able to run events in this new space. However, while I understand the above comment regarding space for a youth recreation area, having dedicated space is not enough - a program, and employees to run it, would be needed as well. Many of the local churches have programs for teens - perhaps the person above could look into their local church or temple for such a program. I do like the idea of Fdale Village setting up a safe place for teens to gather - but it would need proper supervision, a registration process for teens, and a well thought out program in place. I am a parent as well......and we do need well supervised, age appropriate recreational programs for our kids.
Helen May 19, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Glad to hear that it went well. I don't know why no one here thru all our rants and raves thought to add additional restrooms - i find that funny....glad to hear someone else did think of it. 2014 seems quite ambitious, fingers crossed.
Rosemarie Stauber May 19, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I think the project will include bathrooms with both inside and outside access, similiar to the exisitng building. Also, the performance stage will have the same feature - can be used both inside or outside - they mentioned there will be no further need for the stage that arrives in the large truck. The plans sound exciting and a wonderful improvement to Allen Park - for patrons of all ages.
eve mullen May 21, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Will the community center include some indoor courts for basketball, or raquetball to be used during the winter? How many meeting rooms are really needed? .
Lockie & Nowachek May 24, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Love the walkway idea. I think that will get a lot of use. And a supervised teen center somewhere would be wonderful. But how about our furry neighbors?! A new local dog park would be AMAZING!!!!!
AnnaMarie Rivera June 02, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Indoor courts would be great for the kids in the winter time, as well as raquet ball/handball courts. I really wish a community pool was in the plans really tired of going to other town pools!! A teen center is also a great idea, even if its not at allen park but at one of the many abandon business spaces in town or near it!!!! Let our taxes go to some good use!!

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