Elmont Road Park opens after extensive renovations | Herald Community Newspapers

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Elmont Road Park, once a recreation and play center for families and children in Elmont before falling into disrepair over the decades, was reopened on Friday June 17 following a long-awaited renovation project by $3 million.

Renovations to the park, which began last July, include an all-new multi-purpose sports court, renovated basketball and handball courts, perimeter walking path, new adult fitness area, new play areas and a new water play area, upgraded rest areas, improved lighting and safety features, and improved accessibility.

The park, which was once a cesspool where local children drowned in the 1940s-1950s, was the heart of the community in the 1990s and 2000s. interest and effort on the part of the town of Hempstead, according to local elected officials and community members.

“The Town of Hempstead has spent very little energy on the Elmont Road Park,” said MP Michaelle Solages.

During its decay, a broken drainage system led to the pooling of water, creating a shuffleboard area that was a “glorified pond”, and the park’s basketball courts were cracked and withering away. , Solages said, adding that these were just a few of the many issues plaguing the park.

The community has expressed strong support for the major rehabilitation of the park. “We heard loud and clear that the community wanted a new park,” Solages said.

The Belmont Park Community Advisory Board, made up of local elected officials and community members, reached an agreement with the developers of the UBS Arena project that changes would be made to Hendrickson Park on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, and that a multi-million dollar renovation project reportedly being completed at Elmont Road Park.

SUB: Need to park at its highest level

With the school year slated to end on June 28, area children needed a central location to play during the summer in Elmont if the park did not reopen soon.

“Parks are really a central community gathering place in all communities,” Solages said.

Additionally, she said rising inflation and record gas prices are forcing families to skip vacations this summer, increasing the need for a local park for families and children to visit.

“Having a local community park where people can walk to is essential,” she said, adding that this space is needed for recreation and play and as a site to enjoy nature for local families.

Solages said residents have grown nervous with the slow pace of renovations, and community groups and local sports organizations are eager to hold tournaments and activities at the park this summer.

At a community advisory committee meeting last week, community members and the city agreed to an unofficial reopening of the park by June 28, but the park’s gates were unexpectedly unlocked on morning of June 17 and the park was reopened.

“Having a soft opening where the gates are open and the kids can play is a first step in opening up the park and letting people know it’s open and available to the community,” Solages said.

SUB: the redevelopment is not entirely finished

Major renovations to Elmont Road Park are complete, but minor safety upgrades are planned and residents are asking for additional changes.
Jon Johnson, president of the Elmont Cardinals Sports Club, a nonprofit youth sports organization, said he spoke to residents of the park the day after it opened and the community was happy with the park’s new look.

But Johnson said there are four main things residents would like to see added to the park: new benches or painting of existing benches, additional entry/exit points to the park (there are currently only a single point of entry/exit to the park); a concession stand or food and sports drink vending machines to keep children from venturing outside the park; and video cameras monitoring the park and signs informing residents of the existence of the cameras.

Despite these requests, community members expressed satisfaction with the reopening of the park. “We now have a central hub for our children,” Johnson said.

He highlighted the role the park can play in encouraging outdoor activities after two years indoors during the pandemic.

“After COVID-19, it will be really good to get the kids to play outside in the park,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the new soccer field serves as a multi-purpose sports ground and allows for night games to be held. He said Elmont Cardinal Football is now scheduling its home games at the park. Johnson stressed that the park’s opening is just the beginning of the new role the park can play for the Elmont community.

“It’s a start, it’s not an end,” he said. “It will revitalize Elmont.”

Johnson said residents are committed to creating a joint community-Town of Hempstead oversight committee to ensure the renovations are maintained and any other work required is completed in a timely manner. He added that this committee could organize fundraisers and obtain state and federal subsidies for the maintenance of the park.

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