Valley Stream’s park-goers got some good news late last week. The north end of Hendrickson Park re-opened on March 29 now that a months-long project to improve the stream has just about come to an end.
Work on the north end of the waterway, from the bridge near Dover Street to Hendrickson Avenue, began in June. The purpose of the project was to remove sand that had been accumulating along the bottom for years, and install features to keep the stream clean in the future.
“Now you finally see what we’ve all been waiting for,” said village Building Superintendent Thomas McAleer. The large contraption in the middle of the stream, about 100 feet south of Hendrickson Avenue, is a trap to collect debris such as bottles, cans and other objects that float in from the north.
The trap and the angled black tubes on the sides will keep debris from floating further south into the lake. McAleer noted that the trap and pipes acts as buoys. “As the water rises, the trap rises with it,” he said.
When the trap fills up, a truck can come in and empty it out. McAleer said while some people might think it looks unsightly, it is necessary to keep the stream clean.
Along the bottom of the stream, concrete matting has been installed in some areas to collect sand, which comes into the park from the north. There is no way to prevent the sand from building up, McAleer said, which is why a base was installed to collect it right when it comes in. It can then be vacuumed out, a task that will probably have to be done a few times each year.
Just passed the trap, vegetation was installed along the banks to keep garbage from the park from blowing into the stream. The last item to be done will be the installation of a debris collection bin in the storm drain pipe that runs from Fenimore Street into the stream. McAleer said this pipe is fed from storm runoff from several streets east of the park.
The project, along with improvements completed at Mill Pond and those scheduled at the Village Green, were funded through a $1.8 million grant administered by Nassau County. The project was engineered by Dvirka and Bartilucci, and work was done by A&R Construction of Farmingdale.
Last week, crews put the finishing touches on the project including repaving parts of the pedestrian trail. Because of the construction, runners, walkers and bikers hadn’t been able to use the trails in the north end.
Tony Cannonito, president of the Valley Stream Running Club, said that the project did cause some inconvenience for his members, but they were able to find alternatives. “Obviously, it changed the course that our runners typically would run,” he said. “Our members learned to adapt to the situation.”
Cannonito said that a lot of runners like to cross over directly from Hendrickson Park to the trails at Valley Stream State Park. Since they hadn’t been able to do that, member were using stretches of Fletcher and Corona avenues to get to the state park.
He added that most members of the club, despite being inconvenienced, agreed that the stream work was necessary. “We can now look forward to cleaner and freely flowing waterways through Valley Stream and our parks,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have Hendrickson Lake, Hendrickson Park and the Valley Stream State Park running through the center of our community for all to enjoy.”
Hendrickson Park has about 1.5 miles of paved trails, while the state park has about 1.75 miles of trails. Members of the Running Club typically gather at Hendrickson Park every day, sometimes as early as 5 a.m., to go running, Cannonito said.
McAleer said that the project did finish behind schedule, and delays are attributable to Hurricane Sandy and other storms this winter. He said it was important to get the park open in time for a pair of races this coming weekend.