The Merrick Estates Civic Association’s community center once again opened its doors this summer after a hiatus last year due to Covid-19. The spot features some new amenities, courtesy friends throughout the community.
The center, which features a pool, play areas, a beach volley court and a renovated basketball court, has been a go-to spot for local families for more than 60 years. The association survived financial hardships brought on by recent years’ severe storms, then had to face another summer of closure amid the pandemic — a major financial hit for the non-profit organization, according to President Scott Kohen.
“We closed voluntarily last year due to Covid, which is painful, being that we are non-profit,” Kohen said. “We’re not backed by the town or anything like that — it’s all from membership fees. We took a very big financial loss last year.”
“However, we’ve come back very strong this summer,” Kohen added.
The reopening of MECA was so successful, in fact, that new membership applications were closed. A waitlist is open for those who want to join.
“We have members returning for their 44th year, bringing their children and grandchildren,” Kohen said. “With so many new families that have moved to the Merrick area this past year, it has just been a fantastic place to meet other young families and grow relationships — just as I did five years ago with my family.”
A number of additions and services donated by local businesses are helping keep MECA vibrant and clean, too. Gardens by Rachel, for example, maintains the grounds during the season and handles the property’s landscaping.
Next to the kiddy pool stands a newly painted, colorful mural to help brighten up the area. The mural was created by employees of As You Wish Parties in Merrick.
“We are a local business, and we are a local Merrick family. Kristen [Robertson] and I grew up in Bellmore,” said Brooke Lodge, owner of As You Wish Parties in Merrick. “We just wanted to be able to show our support to a local establishment as Merrick families have always supported us and our business — and it just felt like a great thing to do, to spice up the kids’ area and bring smiles to faces.”
“We’ve done a lot of work for the Bellmore-Merrick community,” said Anthony Scuccimarri, owner of HomeRX, which installed an outdoor shower for kids to clean off after playing in the sandy play area. “Whatever we can do to give back to the community.”
Like some of the other businesses MECA has partnered with, members can get a discount on home renovation projects through HomeRX.
Graystone Properties, located in Merrick, also co-sponsored and donated funds for MECA’s renovated basketball court. New homeowners who purchase properties through Graystone can also receive a membership discount for MECA.
“MECA is an integral part of our community and, being a small family-owned real estate brokerage, we at Graystone Properties pride ourselves in supporting all aspects of where we work and live,” said Jaclyn Lerner, owner of Graystone. “Giving back to the community we serve is an integral part of what we are grateful to accomplish.”
“This is the first year that we’ve actually had outside vendors reach out to us to help contribute to the success of MECA, which is just amazing,” Kohen said.
For more information about MECA, visit www.mecapool.com.