Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau. A coalition of 150 park advocacy and/or user groups with a combined membership of over 250,000 county residents.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Private Pool In Eisenhower Park
Doesn't Hold Water

The current county administration continues to destroy our public parks for questionable financial gains. The latest is to allow a private company to build a private pool behind the Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park. The reason? Allegedly, Deputy County Executive Rob Walker has stated "The land is just lying there and not making any money". This administration doesn't know that  It's parkland and not supposed to be "making money".  Its only function is to provide low or no cost recreations to Nassau  taxpayers and citizens

Instead this "new pool" will be in competition with the "county pool complex" while depending on that Center to provide, lockers, rest rooms, showers, etc. etc. Something like a remora attached to a shark.
How did this come about? Well Dave Ferris, former Parks Department director of the Aquatic Center was cashiered in 2003 for questionable activities there.  Under his management the Aquatic Center had  deteriorated to the point where it needed $25 million dollars in repairs and upgrades. In 2011 Mr. Ferris proposed to build a private auxiliary pool next to the Aquatic Center to  continue his competitive swimming classes.
He asked PARCnassau to meet him to explain what he was asking. We did and advised Mr. Ferris, we could not support his proposal. His claim that the aquatic center was too crowded and its pool overbooked were found to be wild exaggerations.  The Aquatic Center is 80,000 square feet with a 223 foot pool for competition, training and lessons, plus  diving pool and a full health spa. That isn't cramped!!

PARCnassau supports the Democratic minority in the county legislature's request for the Nassau Interim Finance Authority  to review this proposal with a view to forbidding it. While they are at it, perhaps they could look at the private tennis courts being built in Eisenhower and Christopher Morley Parks and stop these other  "thefts" of public lands.

PARCnassau further asks State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to prosecute Nassau County for violations of NYS Case Law on the Alienation Of Municipal Parkland!  It is time to stand up, taxpayers, and save our county parks. No transient politicians should be permitted to privatize them and deprive the residents who paid to acquire, develop and maintain these facilities for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

Bruce Piel, Chairman

Thursday, October 31, 2013

PARCnassu Endorses Tom Suozzi for Nassau County Executive

After  long discussion with Tom Suozzi about the Nassau County Park system, we found he understands the underlying issues of the parks belonging "to the people not the politicians". He supports our opposition to the unbridled privatization of our public parklands and open spaces.

Tom is comitted to forming an advisory committee of park advocates to monitor and consult with the county on all park issues to insure the public access and needs are met. His understanding, that parks are an integral part of the suburban lifestyle here on Long Island and must be improved and protected by county government, is essential to all taxpayers and park users.

We've seen what the current county executive, Ed Mangano, has allowed on his watch. Rampant privatization in violation of the Alienation of Municipal Parklands case law of NYS. The chainsaw massacre of hundreds of healthy trees in our preserves to qualify for FEMA aid, etc. etc. His administration sees parks as cash cows not as recreational resources for a weary and financially strained public.

When it comes to these two candidates, we believe this is a no brainer; Tom Suozzi is the best choice for Nassau County Parks and is willing to include public oversight to his agenda. We urge all Nassau residents and taxpayers that use and support the couty park system to vote for Tom on November5th.

Bruce Piel
Chairman, Park Advocacy & Recreational Council of Nassau (PARCnassau)
246 Twin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(5116) 783-8378

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mangano excludes public from parking lot in Cantiague Park, Hicksville

Cantiague Park now has long term private parking

(public excluded)

by Bruce Piel
Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau

The Mangano Administration through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums has entered into an agreement with Westbury Jeep, 100 Jericho Turnpike, Jericho, NY 11753 to permit that private company to fence off Parking Lot 2 at Cantiague Park, Hicksville and store new and used automobiles there subject to available space which would allow over 500 vehicles. The fencing and signs exclude the public from that area.

The time period currently runs from October 1, 2013 until April, 2014. A Foil request to see the agreement is being deliberately stalled until after the upcoming election, Surprise, Surprise!

We checked with NYS Parks which monitors any applications by local governments  to obtain Alienation  of Municipal Parklands legislation from the NYS Legislature. o such request has been filed to date. This means that Nassau County is in  violation  of NYS case law in this matter and continues the policy of Privatization of Nassau County Parklands.

County taxpayers should protest this blatant and illegal exclusion of their full access to Cantiague, its Parking Fields and all other county parks. Complaints should be made to county legislators and state legislators as well as the NYS Attorney General. Protect your rights to unfettered access to all parkland you have bought, developed and maintained in Nassau.

 "All that's necessary for 'evil' to triumph is for good men to do nothing."


246 Tin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 783-83787

Sunday, September 08, 2013

An environmentally unfriendly program courtesy of Nassau County and the Town of North Hempstead.

By Bruce Piel Chairman of PARCnassau

In 2005, then County Executive Thomas Suozzi and Jon Kaiman, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor, both noted for their policy of benign neglect of parklands under their jurisdiction, got together to make a grand plan. Mr. Suozzi who bled his parks dry of personnel, equipment and priorities would turn over to the town up to 13 county parks within the boundaries of North Hempstead, thus freeing up monies for more important programs such as more patronage appointments. Mr. Kaiman could claim the new park acreage as an accomplishment of his administration without and expenditure of money then or in the future.

This agreement was pushed through the county and town legislatures without complying with the NYS case law on alienation of municipal parks. When this violation was raised, friendly state legislators agreed to push a motion through without public notification or comment. Most of the parklands involved were small parcels, some just a neighborhood ball field. However, there were 3 parks of note, Hempstead Harbor Park, Whitney Pond Park and Manhasset Valley Park. All were in a state of disrepair especially Hempstead Harbor.

Well 8 years have passed and an inspection of Hempstead Harbor was made by PARCnassau volunteers. The result is an outrage. The main parking lot is used as a commuter parking area during the day. The beach is fenced off as being dangerous for swimmers and sunbathers. All the sand has washed away and there is no program of replenish it. The fishing pier is closed off for public safety and is slowly crumbling into the harbor. There is no proposal to repair or rebuild the pier. Strangely, an old tug boat and a couple of decrepit barges are using the pier as a mooring spot

. As for the north end of the park. There are 70 to 80 school buses using the site as a storage and dispatch area. Yes, 70 to 80 buses! These are owned and operated by Huntington Coach and their affiliate companies. These vehicles are leeching petroleum products into the soil and ultimately into the harbor. Huntington Coach has a dispatch office on premises and parking for staff and other employees. This is a blatant violation of the Alienation of Municipal Parkland case law of New York State.

In addition, The Town of North Hempstead is using a large section of parkland to store rock salt, sand and other snow removal equipment. This junk is also leaching into the soil and the harbor. Any park advocate or supporter is invited to visit Hempstead Harbor Park as long as they have a strong stomach.

Whitney Pond Park and Manhasset Valley Parks are also in desperate need of rehabilitation and repair. Perhaps Mr. Mangano would ask for these parks to be transferred back to the county (not likely)

Thank you Tom and Jon for turning our county parks into junk yards. Every county taxpayer should be demanding the recovery of those parks and bring them back to the people that paid for their acquisition, development, maintenance and use.

Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau)
246 Twin Lane East,
Wantagh, NY 11793

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tweedle-dum & Tweedle-dee

Tweedle-dum & Tweedle-Dee PARCnassau endorses Adam Haber for County Executive by Bruce Piel Many years ago when chatting with a neighbor and friend who was heavily involved in a minority party in Nassau, I lamented that I could see little or no difference between the two major parties, Republican or Democrat. He responded, they are just Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. They are self serving. patronage happy and given to half truths and even lying when it suits their purpose. They are ruled by committee chairman whose only aim is to win elections and control the subsequent patronage. In 2000 we began PARCnassau to give voice to Nassau County Park users and taxpayers who care about their park system for recreation in many forms. Tom Gulotta had just halved the number of annual employees from 1600 to 800 and the neglect of parks was beginning to show. Normally when choosing a new County Executive, we only have one candidate's record in that office to evaluate whether to vote one way or the other. This year, however both “major” candidates have had a term of office as county executive and can be evaluated when determining your vote. In our opinion both Tom Suozzi and Ed Mangano and their administrations have proven disastrous for county parks and preserves. Between the two, annual employees in the parks system, have declined to a few hundred and the parks look it. Mr. Suozzi is noted for his observation that “Government is not qualified to run a park system”. (If not government, then who?) Mr. Mangano boasts he doesn’t raise taxes but both he and Mr. Suozzi raised fees over and over. Bottom Line you the taxpayer pay more and more through existing taxes and increasing fees for recreation that should be free or low cost. Privatization of our park sysem is rampant from both candidates. Suozzi gave away 13 parks and allowed private day camps in a number of parks. His administration entertained turning Cedar Creek Park into a privately owned facility with an amusement park and go-cart track until the community rose up and had that proposal killed. Mangano is giving away athletic fields in Bay Park and Mitchel Field to private interests. He is also allowing private operators to build and operate Tennis Courts in Christopher Morley and Eisenhower Parks. The ultimate betrayal is allowing the building of a Private pool behind the Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park. He also tried to destroy neighborhood ball leagues by taking away their ball fields and raising their fees. Some of these ideas should be built and operated by county employees without private operators walking away with a profit on county residents. Enough! Neither Mr. Suozzi or Mr. Mangano and their political appointees are qualified to run county parks. Let’s give Adam Haber a chance to do right by parks and park users. PARCnassau urges all registered democrats to vote for Adam Haber in the primary and all voters to vote for him in the General Election. It’s time to return Nassau County Parks to the people that paid to acquire, develop and maintain those public facilities. Please support our parks by supporting Adam Haber for County Executive.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

An open letter to te Nassau County Legislature

Monday, April 8, 2013 Why isn't the Nassau County Legislature Investigating improprieties and possible illegalities with Hurricane Sandy contractors????? When we first publically raised the issue of wanton tree destruction by contractors in Nassau County Preserves, we suspected that FEMA's offer to reimburse local governments for removal and replanting, was a factor. Subsequent examination by the County Comptroller revealed that contracts for tree removal and other hurricane recovery work were not properly solicited and authorized. Rather, the county administration allowed an illegal contract to be issued to a contractor who instead of scouring county roadways for trees blocking the street or threatening damage or injury, simply went into the preserves and began unnecessary and wrongful clear cutting of trees including those perfectly healthy. Welwynn, Sands Point, Muttontown, Massapequa and Mill Pond preserves were among those where the contractors ran berserk running up the numbers without accomplishing anything. The administration and parks department "saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil" tacitly approving the desecration of our forests. Now, the Nassau District Attorney is looking into possible criminal intent in the issuing of permits and possible submission for millions of federal monies for this and other hurricane recovery work. In the county legislature, the "loyal opposition" is asking to conduct a full investigation of this matter and the majority is stymieing that effort. Who are they protecting? Why can't the truth come out? We are asking the Rules Committee vote to support a full and prompt investigation by the legislature and to request the County Comptroller to appear before that panel. County tax payers deserve no less. Our parks and open spaces have been under attack for years by the very county governments that swore to protect them. "Selling" county athletic fields to colleges and professional teams, raising fees beyond the reach of our neediest citizens, crowding out local sports leagues and allowing our public lands to fall into disrepair is a betrayal to every citizen in Nassau County. This is an election year and full disclosure and accountability to identify the vultures taking advantage of a natural disaster should be held to account. Bruce Piel Chairman PARCnassau

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Chainsaw Massacre in Nassau's Suburban Forests By Bruce Piel Nassau County employees are being assigned to "clear cut" our precious preserves. Hundreds of trees are being taken out, both damaged and undamaged by Hurricane Sandy, in effect destroying the character of these areas of natural beauty. Our thanks to the North Shore Audubon Society bringing this to our attention. . It is evident that the county and park administrations do not know the difference between parks and preserves. So allow us to help define each for them. A park is a green space specifically designed for human recreation, i.e. picnics, sports, biking, swimming, etc. Removing damaged or dangerous trees from public parks is not only acceptable but also prudent. Preserves, however, are "forever wild" green spaces that allow our residents to see nature as it was before the population explosion that filled most of the space on Long Island. Natural events, even Hurricane Sandy, is part of the natural process that defines our forests. Trees felled by the storm still provide protection and food to the wildlife that lives there. Over time downed trees will decay and become a part of the forest floor providing nutrients to new saplings. This process should not be tampered with except in two circumstances. They are: Emergency vehicle access roads Walking or hiking trails Trees or other foliage that block or endanger this type of public access may be cleared enough to allow their use. No more! So why is Nassau County destroying our preserves? Well, it seems the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is paying the county "tree money" to remove hurricane damaged trees. This bonanza was not to be ignored but to be exploited!. Hundreds of trees in the Welwyn Preserve have been cut down, including live, undamaged trees (by mistake, allegedly) and the carnage continues in the Garvies Preserve. Massapequa and all other preserves are on the list. This desecration of our natural heritage must be stopped. All concerned citizens of Nassau should contact their County Executive, Park Commissioner and their county legislators to halt this madness. Our preserves should not be sacrificed to the greed of our county leaders. Bruce Piel Chairman Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau) 246 Twin Lane East Wantagh, NY 11793 (516-776-1538