With less than 24 hours’ notice to the public, Nassau County officials announced on Monday that Bay Park would be closed until next March for field and road construction as well as much-needed upgrades to the sewage treatment plant — although some of the park’s most popular facilities will remain open for use.
In a press conference on an open field near the plant, County spokesman Mike Martino said that the project would be “one of the greatest things that Nassau County has done.” It would, he said, “transform the community.”
Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said that he had met with the Bay Park Civic Association and its advisory committee months ago, and assured residents that the county would build a park and a sewage treatment facility that would be stronger and safer. It will include a combination earthen berm and concrete wall around the plant, as well as an 8-foot decorative wall along its south side.
“We know you’ve had to endure the smell and everything else,” Walker said. “The odors will be dealt with … the facility will be stronger.”
Walker’s promise that, by Aug. 1, the plant’s noisy generators would be taken offline was met with residents’ applause.
He also said that new artificial-turf ball fields would be built on higher ground, with storm drains that will remove pollutants before runoff reaches Reynolds Channel. Tennis courts, a new dog run and a new administration building will also be added. The road that runs close to the canal will be moved inland, closer to the plant, on the other side of the ball fields. There will also be improved access to the bulkhead along the East Rockaway Channel.
According to Michael DeNicola, vice president of Hazen and Sawyer Environmental Engineers & Scientists, there are nine active construction jobs at the plant, which is just yards from the bay. The plant was hit by a 9-foot tidal surge during Hurricane Sandy and knocked out of service for two days, and millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage flowed into Reynolds Channel in the six weeks after the storm.