Fireman’s Field upgrades underway in hamlet


The renovation of Fireman’s Field in Oyster Bay is underway, as the asphalt parking lot gets a long overdue makeover. Over the next several months, the field will see environmental and pedestrian upgrades to the space as it turns from an eyesore to a more aesthetic and useful part of the community.

Thanks to an influx of funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the town has finally been able to make improvements to Fireman’s Field that it had been considering for the last decade. The town had previously considered remaking the field in 2011, however that plan ultimately fell apart.

The project costs roughly $3.6 million and is expected to be completed in early October, Rich LaMarca, the town’s clerk, said in a statement. It is being overseen by Cameron Engineering & Associates L.L.C., a Woodbury-based company.

“Town of Oyster Bay officials developed the initial project concept and then consulted multiple Oyster Bay hamlet civic groups for comment prior to proceeding,” LaMarca stated. “The final project as proposed has moved forward following comment and project concurrence with the civic organizations.”

One of the civic organizations which has played an important role in pushing for changes to the field is the Oyster Bay Main Street Association. The association is a nonprofit, dedicated to enhancing and promoting a thriving downtown while maintaining the hamlet’s historic integrity.

Meredith Maus, the association’s executive director, explained that there have been plans to fix Fireman’s Field dating back to the mid-1970’s, and that it has seen multiple engineering studies done since the mid-2000’s. More recently the association has put forward plans to invest in the sidewalk abutting the field.

She added that these improvements included adding more lighting and trees to the area, to make it a greener space and increasingly pedestrian friendly. Maus pointed out that one of the biggest complaints from both residents and businesses in the hamlet was a lack of parking, and that by making Fireman’s Field more visibly appealing it would help encourage use.

“Something that is a big help is making a better connection between our western waterfront and the heart of downtown,” Maus said. “The hope is that people who are visiting the WaterFront Center or rowing or just visiting the park will feel like they’re invited to walk downtown.”

In addition, Maus added, by improving the parking around the Oyster Bay line of the Long Island Rail Road, it would help put more pressure on the LIRR to treat the line as a viable option to relieve pressure on the other lines. By adding between roughly 100 to 200 parking spaces around the train station, it would be much harder to discount the line and could encourage more people to use it rather than the Syosset station or other nearby LIRR stations.

One of the most important aspects of the project is the town’s plans to make the field more environmentally friendly. In the past, drainage has been a serious issue at Fireman’s Field, when rainstorms frequently turn the parking lot into a small lake.

Vicki Walsh, a Town of Oyster Bay councilwoman, explained in a statement that the upgrades would address the drainage issue. Additionally, pollution and wastewater runoff in the area would be minimalized, which is especially important due to the field’s close proximity to the waterfront.

“The restoration project will improve water quality by implementing environmentally sound practices to minimize the impact of non-point source pollution on Oyster Bay Harbor, alleviate flooding within the facility by improving stormwater storage, and provide for a more functional and aesthetically pleasing parking facility for use by residents and visitors to Oyster Bay,” Walsh stated. “This project is funded in full through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Program, not town tax dollars.”