At the western end of Bayview Avenue, overlooking Jamaica Bay, Inwood Park has tennis and basketball courts, a playground, a lighted softball field, a jogging path and even a roller rink — but no working restrooms.
The building at the center of the 16-acre-park has been boarded up since an electrical fire tore through the bathrooms and an information center for the Nassau County Police Department’s 4th Precinct in May 2016. Instead there are portable restrooms along the building’s south side.
“Years ago, the park was so important to Inwood residents,” said Maura Herbert, a resident and the corresponding secretary for the Inwood Civic Association. “In current times, people are just so frustrated with the total lack of resources and maintenance given Inwood Park. Residents just do not utilize it as they did in past.”
Inwood is represented byNassau County Legislator Carrié Solages, a Democrat from Elmont who has said he is aware of the park’s condition, and that “the community has been more than patient. [Improvements] have been long overdue.”
Herbert said she believes that because Inwood is not an incorporated village, it has to rely on the Town of Hempstead, or in this case, the county, for assistance. “Many Inwood residents feel as if we’re viewed low on the socio-economic scale,” she said, “but if you compare housing taxes, we’re up there with Cedarhurst and Lawrence. I just don’t understand why we don’t get the same services as the rest of the county.”
Solages said that the county has set side $2 million for improvements at the park, a new building being chief among them. After it is restored, the remaining money is to be used for other upgrades, which could be chosen by Inwood residents.
“I would love to see the community step in and say what they’d like to see there,” Solages said, adding that the county has begun the structural analysis necessary to erect the new building. “I would love to see it all completed before the end of summer.”
Beyond replacing or renovating the old restrooms and information booth, Solages said, other improvements may include “better lighting, [artificial turf]. . . repaved basketball courts, maybe benches for chess or a playground.” He also said that the Inwood Buccaneers, a youth sports league, had asked about improving the fields, and that he thinks it would be great if everything could be ready for football season.
The playground is the newest of the park’s amenities. Inwood residents Glenda Sarmiento and Yaniva Chavez brought their children, Sammy Vivula, 3, and Saory Chavez, 6, to play on the slides and swings on April 5.
Despite being told about the overall condition of the park, Sarmiento said she didn’t have a problem with it, because they normally stay on the playground, and their visits are brief. “We usually only stay for an hour or two,” she said.
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