When Nassau County announced in March that $15 million would be allotted to refurbish six parks, North Woodmere Park wasn’t on the list, despite the opinions of many that the park is in desperate need of renovations.
Located on Branch Boulevard and Hungry Harbor Road in North Woodmere, the 150-acre park has been open since 1965 and is home to a nine-hole, par-31, 2,282-yard golf course, an Olympic-size pool, 10 tennis courts, six lighted handball/paddleball courts, two lighted basketball courts, two softball fields and one baseball field. Football and soccer are played at the park, and in the winter there is cross-country skiing.
Inwood Park, 3½ miles from North Woodmere, is one of the parks included in the county’s plan. Work on its administration building, including restroom repair, will cost nearly $750,000, and is expected to be completed by the summer. The county also bid out $2.5 million in contracts to rebuild 500 linear feet of what officials described as dilapidated bulkhead and boat ramps at the 16-acre waterfront park.
The other parks set to receive renovations or makeovers include Cedar Creek Park and Wantagh Park in Wantagh, Bay Park in East Rockaway, Centennial Park in Roosevelt and Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn.
County Legislator Denise Ford, a Republican who represents the district that includes North Woodmere Park, said that despite the fact that the facility was not part of the county renovation plan, there is money available. “We have money in our capital funds for work to be done at North Woodmere Park,” Ford said. “We just would have to work out the details with the [county] parks department.” Ford said that improvements were made to the pool in the past year.
County spokeswoman Mary Studdert said that the current capital work includes the removal of pool lights to address water loss and the repair of the playground’s safety surface near the park’s entrance. With the recent approval of the capital funds, more work is expected to be done, including additional maintenance at the pool and the driving range. “The fields, courts and pathways will undergo an updated safety inspection,” Studdert said. “The last inspection took place in April 2018.”
Alan Krull, who has helped run the Hewlett-Woodmere Little League for roughly 13 years, said that the league plays the majority of its games at the county’s 35-acre Grant Park in Hewlett. That facility isn’t large enough to host all of the games, so some have to be played at North Woodmere Park, much to the frustration of the league’s coaches. “When the schedules come out and teams find out that they have to play at North Woodmere Park, no one is happy about it,” Krull said. “I know this because I’m the one who hears the complaints from the coaches about it.” The Little League comprises roughly 300 players on 23 teams.
In 2012, Grant Park, which is also 3½ miles from North Woodmere Park, had three synthetic-turf fields installed, as well as an enclosed batting cage that also has a turf surface, at a cost of $2.7 million.
Krull said that while North Woodmere Park is convenient for the league’s families, Grant Park is in better condition. “While the parents of the kids like going to North Woodmere Park because of the location and that their other kids can play on the playground, the park is in desperate need of renovations,” he said. “Grant Park is in wonderful condition. If it rains on the fields the same day as a game, you can still play on them, since they’re turf fields. If it rains on the fields at North Woodmere Park, puddles form around the infield.”
Rich Kahn, the Little League’s vice president, has been involved with the league on and off since 1970. He noted that the maintenance staff at North Woodmere Park does its best to maintain the fields, even though they are difficult to keep in good shape. “The staff at North Woodmere Park is very nice, and they always keep me up to date on the field conditions,” Kahn said. “It’s just that the dirt fields are tough to maintain.”
Kahn’s biggest issue with the fields is players’ safety. “The infield dirt gets dry and hard as a rock,” he said, “which makes it tough for the kids to play on. It could be dangerous for the kids if a ball were to take a bad bounce.”
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