By Darsh Mirchandani
As summer is approaching and the end of school is in sight, students of New Hyde Park Memorial look forward to spending time with their friends and family. However, the way students spend their time this summer may look different than in years past. Residents of New Hyde Park will see changes in Memorial Park and other Village of New Hyde Park public spaces. These changes include renovations to NHP Village Hall, enforcement of the village residents only rule at village parks and the opening of the new Donald Barbieri Dog Park.
The greater New Hyde Park area is in the Towns of North Hempstead and Hempstead. Inside that area is the Village of New Hyde Park. The Village of New Hyde has its own board, taxes and sets of codes. The Village of New Hyde Park has built numerous public spaces and has maintained them using the tax money of the residents of the village.
The village is progressing with a makeover of village hall that will expose more of its original architecture from when it was built in 1905. The village is also starting construction on a new Department of Public Works. This construction will cause Nuzzi Field to close. After the construction, the village will completely rebuild Nuzzi Field.
In Memorial Park, the monument area has been moved and flags have been added to honor the six branches of the United States’ armed forces. There is now also a new bocce ball court, newly resurfaced tennis courts and improved basketball courts.
On June 5, the new Donald Barbieri dog park opened for residents of the village. The dog park is named after and honors the late Donald Barbieri and his service dog, Hallie. Donald Barbieri was a former trustee of the village’s board, active member in the community and the brother of New Hyde Park Memorial High School guidance counselor Mr. Craig Barbieri. He passed away in 2018 after his more than 20 year long battle with multiple sclerosis. Donald Barbieri had a labrador, Hallie, who helped with daily tasks. The dog park was built in their memory by the village’s own Department of Public Works. The park will feature separate sections, one for dogs 30 pounds or under and another for dogs over 30 pounds. This dog park will be for the dogs of village residents that have Park IDs.
“He [Donald Barbieri] was such an integral part of the community, this park is certainly a fitting tribute to his service to New Hyde Park,” said guidance counselor Mr. Barbieri.
In 2012, the village adopted a policy that village parks were for village residents only. There were signs put outside the parks, but they were largely ignored. After being elected last year, Mayor Devane discovered that around 60% of people using village parks were not village residents. This prompted the village to start enforcing this 10-year-old rule. On June 1, the village started its enforcement. Now in order to make sure that only village residents are entering the parks, there will now be a park attendant at the entrance to check Park ID. Village residents must register themselves as well as their dogs for their IDs. Requiring dogs to have a Park ID was a decision that was made to protect the safety of park goers. This will allow the village to ensure that all the dogs entering the parks are up to date on their vaccinations. Park attendants will be at the entrance to check Park IDs. Even if someone is a village resident, they will not be allowed inside the park without their Park ID. While there are residents of the village who support this enforcement, there are others who don’t.
Source by Morgan Oberwiler
Memorial Park has become limited to residents of the Village of New Hyde Park in order to keep them safe.
“As a resident of the village, I have spent a lot of time at Memorial Park and Nuzzi Field over the past couple of years. I have lots of fond memories of playing with my friends in those public places," eighth grader Ryan Coyle said. "A lot of my friends live just outside the Village. Now that the residents only rule will be enforced, I feel like my summer won't be as fun or active as it has in years past.”
“As a resident of the Village of New Hyde Park, I support the enforcement of the residents only rule," eighth grader Nuha Kotwal said. "Village residents are the ones who bear the burden for the costs of upkeep and renovations of the parks, and they should be given the opportunity to enjoy the product of their tax dollars at an uncrowded park."
This does not necessarily mean that those who are not residents of the village will never be allowed to enter the Village’s parks. The Board of the Village of New Hyde Park is currently in the process of drafting a guest fee policy that will try to address as many situations as possible in which someone may want to enter the Village’s parks. The guest fee policy is expected to be ready by the time school is out.
“The upkeep of our parks costs money; why should village residents pick up the tab while everyone else uses it for free? The thought that we are trying to be exclusive or restrictive is simply not true,” Mayor Devane said. “Whenever we have the opportunity to invite everybody, we do so and at no cost. We are not restricting anybody from coming into the park; there will just be a fee that needs to be paid. I am asking everybody to look at the bigger picture. These things cost money and everybody needs to bear the cost of it.”
As summer looms, the Village of New Hyde Park is making many changes, from renovating and constructing public spaces to making sure that only village residents use the village’s parks. As for how this policy will affect all the residents of the New Hyde Park area, only time will tell.