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.