East Meadow, Salisbury residents address concerns regarding Cricket World Cup


As Nassau County prepares for the International Cricket Council T20 Cricket World Cup this June, East Meadow and Salisbury residents have expressed concerns. A stadium that will seat 34,000 fans is under construction in Eisenhower Park, a centerpiece in both communities. 

The Council of East Meadow Community Organizations invited County Legislator Tom McKevitt, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation & Museums Darcy Belyea, and Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder to join the community at its April 17 meeting — where residents could were provided information ahead of the tournament, and address questions or concerns with county leadership.

Brett Markgraf, the deputy inspector of the First Precinct in the Nassau County Police Department, attended in place of Ryder.

Markgraf provided meeting attendees with some basic facts about the tournament, and said one of the biggest concerns residents have is traffic.

“Our plan is, we’re working with state and county traffic management to try and move traffic,” he said. “The parking areas are going to be the coliseum and the community college, and we’re also encouraging people to use the train to Westbury, where we’ll have shuttle buses running back and forth.”

Park Boulevard, the main roadway that runs through Eisenhower Park, will be closed throughout the duration of games, as well as the portion of Merrick Avenue that is adjacent to the park. Eight are scheduled over the course of 12 days, and will begin roughly at 10:30 a.m., and conclude around 2:30 p.m. Games are scheduled between June 3 and June 12.

Eisenhower’s Aquatic Center and dog park will be closed temporarily during the tournament. The white course, part of the park’s golf course, will be open, but there will be no walk-ins accepted. Tee times will need to be scheduled ahead of time.

McKevitt said he knew when Nassau County won the bid to have the stadium built in Eisenhower last fall that it would be a huge undertaking within his district, and a temporary inconvenience. But his conditions were simple in the agreement: The park will look better after the tournament than before it.

Before stadium construction began, there were several fields in its place that were available for rent, and McKevitt asked Belyea to ensure that frequent renters of those fields would not be displaced. The fields previously had no irrigation system, and on Google Earth, he said they look like a “brown mud pit.” The ICC is putting in a brand new, state-of-the-art irrigation system, which will leave the fields looking greener, and better, once the stadium is disassembled by the end of July.

Nassau County will receive around $2.7 million in direct revenue from the tournament. Some of that money will be used to reimburse the police department and county’s parks department, but other funds will be directed toward the betterment of Eisenhower Park.

McKevitt said the inclusive playground, called “Let All The Children Play,” along Merrick Avenue, will receive upgrades, and the batting cages — which have been closed for years — will be completely redone.

Both McKevitt and Belyea have said they’ve worked hard to make Eisenhower Park into what it is today — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvements.

Aside from the direct revenue from the ICC, the county expects to generate revenue from the hotel and motel occupancy tax. By law, a percentage of the tax charged on hotel rooms goes back to the county — and rooms across Long Island are completely booked because of the tournament, Belyea said.

The last Cricket World Cup was held in Australia two years ago and it generated an excess of $150 million. Belyea said she’s proud Nassau County is going to be the center stage for a tournament that attracts 1.9 billion viewers around the globe.

“It’s a busy time of year, and we know that, but we are looking at all the positives and saying what can we do with this, and what is it going to do for Nassau County,” she said. “You may not see it next month, but you will see it. You will see changes. We need an influx of revenue.”

The county and police department are going to do their best to mitigate parking in residential areas, as well as shopping centers across from the park. Belyea said it still could happen, and if residents are concerned by the number of cars on their streets, they can call the police.

“We are going to be diligent in making sure that the neighborhoods are not disrupted from the parking,” she said. “If you do have that, you know where to call and they will do their best to have somebody make sure they’re not parking there.”

A private security company is being hired by the ICC to help with the event, and Belyea said she’s suggested it mans the parking lot across from Eisenhower, where there’s a Lidl grocery store, along with other local businesses and restaurants.

Eisenhower is a center for county events, Belyea explained. It hosts summer concerts, the Long Island Marathon, and more. The park and county are prepared to handle the tournament, thanks to months of planning.

“Nassau is back and it’s open for business, and I’m really excited about it,” she said. “I hope you guys join me in that passion. Everything’s not always perfect, but we’re doing the best we can.”