Happy Spring! The weather is improving, the flowers are blooming, baseball is underway, and the Yankees are in last place! This really is shaping up to be a great Spring. Our Village has many special events planned and the infrastructure projects are moving along.
On March 21st, we held a Village election to fill two trustee positions. We said goodbye to Trustee Donna Squicciarino and thanked her for her service. Trustee Rainer Burger was re-elected to another term. He will continue to do an excellent job. We welcome the newly elected Trustee Eve Sheikh. She grew up in New Hyde Park and made a point to move back here so her daughter, Ava, could experience growing up in our wonderful community. Eve is passionate about our Village and brings an outstanding work ethic with her to the Board. We are very fortunate to have her working with us.
I would like to thank all those who participated in our 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The weather challenged us again but it was no match for all our participants. Many thanks to Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder for marching and bringing the NCPD Mounted Unit, NCPD Honor Guard and the NCPD Motorcycle Unit. We welcomed back the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard as well. Special thanks to all the Nassau County Fire Departments that participated. Our own New Hyde Park Fire Department turned out in full force and hosted the festivities afterward at the firehouse. Reid Sakowich, Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, was instrumental in making the parade a success. Thanks to him, the entire Board of Fire Commissioners, Chief staff, Officers, and members of the Department for making this year’s parade so memorable. Our two emcees, Tony Jackson and Neil Brogan Jr. did a fantastic job. This year’s Grand Marshal, Mike McBride, brought along some outstanding members of the NYPD Pipes and Drums band. They did a great job and added to the day’s festivities. We honor all First Responders and thank them for their dedicated service.
We celebrated Earth Day and planted flowers and plants at Nuzzi Field. It rejuvenated an area that sorely needed some TLC. Thanks to all those who participated in planting and beautifying the area.
The Village will be celebrating two upcoming special events. Our Memorial Day parade will take place on Saturday May 27th. This is our most important and solemn event of the year. We honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great country.
Mark your calendars and come and salute these heroes for their duty, bravery, and service. On Friday June 9th, we will celebrate our 3rd Annual Multi-Cultural Festival at Memorial Park. This great celebration of all the wonderfully diverse backgrounds in our community is an opportunity to learn about different cultures and see so many talented performers. As with all our events, everyone is invited for free.
I would like to give a progress report on the status of our infrastructure projects. The Village Hall restoration is coming to fruition. The new Boardroom upstairs is done and already in use. This enables us to transition the previous boardroom to a new community room. The Village Justices will continue to use it on court nights. It will be available to all organizations and our seniors for their use. We are moving forward on going paperless in Village Hall. The scanning and shredding continue daily. This will provide us with additional storage areas. All windows have been replaced on the first floor and in the basement. The windows on the second floor are ordered and should be replaced by July. We still must address the exterior of the building. The top of the building is in desperate need of replacing the rotting wood and new paint. The bricks on the building need to be re-pointed and, in some places, be replaced due to water damage. Additionally, the entire building needs a new paint job. This is a huge undertaking but must be done. It will be accomplished over the next year. By the end of this month, the five plaques on the rock in front of the building will be cleaned and reinforced. The rock itself will be cleaned to remove the stains. This maintenance is decades overdue but will be done in time for Memorial Day.
The new Marcus Christ Hall is still undergoing various design modifications. We are working with a design team to focus on a budget blueprint. This needs to be sent to the State to get final approval for our $450,000.00 grant. Once we have finalized an affordable plan, we will share it on the website. Our goal is to have a new community center in 2024.
The Department of Public Works facility continues to move forward. We have a general solution that fits within the budgetary framework of the funds available ($5.1 million). This is a major step forward and I hope to have a more detailed update by the Fall. We are going to make this a reality. Nuzzi Field is on hold until we complete DPW. Trustee Art Savarese is already working on designs for the makeover of Nuzzi Field.
Memorial Park is actively under construction. ADA compliant bathrooms are being renovated as well as a new roof and covered seating area for the rest of the building. The basketball/pickleball courts will be resurfaced and painted once we have substantially warmer weather. A new bocce ball court is being installed next to the existing one. One of the major reasons for constructing another bocce ball court, in addition to its popularity, is the Bocce Ball Club’s intention to work with the local special education community to teach them the game. We look forward to hearing about this and seeing the progress when the court opens. The playground is moving along slower than we had anticipated. This is due to variety of factors, including excavation, removal of tree roots and dry wells, leveling of the area, installing sprinkler system, removal of concrete, pouring of new concrete (weather and temperature dependent), adding gravel, delivery and installation of equipment, installation of turf and sod. In addition, the playground perimeter fence will be installed. In addition, a new steel perimeter fence will be installed around the entire park. This takes time, coordination, and money. We are cutting costs as much as possible by doing whatever we can in house. This has resulted in close to $50,000.00 in savings.
The Board has decided to open the Park as of Saturday May 13th on a limited basis for the dog park and the courts. There will be an attendant present and you will need a 2023 park ID to get in. Please go to our website (VNHP.org) and get your new ID. It is expected that the playground should open by early June. I know everyone is anxious to get this done as quickly as possible. The Board shares this opinion. This is the first complete renovation of the playground and equipment in generations. We plan on our residents enjoying this playground for years to come. Patience is a virtue. I repeat that to myself every day I pass the Park!
The Miller Brothers property continues to be a work in progress. Plans are still being designed and discussed. As soon as we have anything to report, we will notify the residents. The Board is acutely aware of Governor Hochul’s housing scheme. As the sign on Village Hall stated, we believe this plan would destroy our Village. We are fortunate that it was taken out of the budget but there are reports that it may rear its ugly head again. Our Board is adamantly opposed to the State’s scheme and the attempt to override local control. We stand with all our local villages, towns, and county in opposing this. Those legislators that are in support of this scheme should start by building these apartments in their own hometowns at a rate of 50 units per acre. Let’s start with the Governor’s hometown. Once all these apartments are built in their neighborhoods, let’s revisit how many are still needed in New Hyde Park.
This Spring and Summer will be a time of renewal, rebirth, and celebrations in our great Village. Take the time to come and enjoy our events and facilities. We welcome all volunteers and participants. Let’s make a difference together!
Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park