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Splash Pad Popularity Spurs Memorial Park Restrictions

Nyack Memorial Park Playground

by Lily Weber
Nyack, July 12 — The popularity of a new state-funded water splash pad for children in Nyack Memorial Park has spurred the village board to impose new restrictions on the operation of businesses in village’s parks.

The new rules stipulate that businesses need to get a permit from the Village of Nyack before operating in a village park. “No person or entity shall operate any private or public business or recreational program, including but not limited to any day camp or other similar recreational program, whether conducted as a for-profit business, on a not-for-profit basis, or as a community service, in a village park unless specifically authorized under a permit issued by the Village Board of Trustees pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter.”
The splash pad is a victim of its own success, attracting crowds from across the region. It’s popular with area day camps which have been bringing their campers to Memorial Park by the busload to cool off on hot days.
Nyack resident Joe Carlin says that the village seems to now be “hoisted on [its] own petard”–a Shakespearean reference, meaning they’ve fallen into their own trap.
One resident alleged that the son of one of his friends was “shooed” off of the splash pad by other campers. There have also been complaints that the buses had been parked and idling in no-parking zones.

The village board emphasized that the new rules were not targeted at any particular group, but were designed to let everyone have equal access to the village’s public parks. Trustee Louise Parker clarified that not everyone who applied for a permit was necessarily granted one. Mayor Don Hammond added that, historically, the village has not wanted parks to be used for “for-profit” businesses.

The trustees discussed but rejected restricting park use to village residents because this would be contrary to Nyack’s fundamental values of inclusivity. As Trustee Elijah Reichlin-Melnick explained, it would also exclude West, Central, and South Nyack.
The new water attraction was funded by a grant from the New NY Bridge Community Benefits Program. “Funding sources for park improvements within a municipality may limit the type [of] rules and regulations a municipality may enact,” explained Village Attorney Walter Sevastian via email. He said that groups have reached out to obtain permits in the past, but as of late larger groups have failed to inquire about whether a permit is necessary.

The village board’s proposal received a mixed response from people attending the meeting. Resident Adele Garber praised the trustees and said the new rule was “absolutely wonderful.” Eileen Jackson expressed concern over its implementation and enforcement saying that issuing a ticket “does nothing if people come back after the officer leaves.”

The Village of Nyack plans to hire a seasonal monitor for Memorial Park to enforce the new law. Officials say they will call on the Orangetown Police Department for assistance if required.
The Village Board voted unanimously to pass the resolution concerning imposing restrictions on operating a business in Memorial Park.

Lily Weber is a Nyack News & Views intern.

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