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A Closer Look at Memorial Park Renovation Plan and Its Impact on Summer (Plus other Rockland stories)

This week in the Villages, we take a closer look at the yearlong renovation of Nyack’s “most treasured asset”, Memorial Park.

Photos from the renovation of Nyack’s iconic Memorial Park, which will shut down the vast Great Lawn section for the summer. Check out more slideshows by our intrepid photographer, Andrea Swenson, and follow her on Instagram.

Q&A: What’s going on at Memorial Park?

You may have noticed that Memorial Park, Nyack’s “most treasured asset”, has been under construction since late January. We did a little digging into all the digging going on to find out what the plan is and how it will affect summer programming at the park. All the info below is from the Village of Nyack website:

Q. What are the specific renovation projects going on at Memorial Park this year?

1.  Great Lawn Restoration: The Great Lawn, which is the largest and most important feature in the park, has gotten really rough and beaten down.  We are performing a complete restoration of the lawn, including a “to the roots” re-seeding of the lawn.  This will include the entire lawn, including the small baseball field and the “goat path” from Piermont Avenue down to the lawn.  This is going to be the most disruptive part of the restoration, because we need to do the re-seeding in the early spring and keep people off the lawn for several months to let the new seed take root.  

 2.  ADA Access Road and Entry Gate: A new entry gate at Depew Avenue will be installed to provide pedestrian access to the park in June 2023. This year, we will be creating a new access road from the parking lot to the playground and bathrooms that will be ADA (American Disability Act) compliant and include an ADA pathway to the Splash Pad.  

 3.  Playground Resurfacing Project: Parts of the playground will have safety surfacing installed, some areas will still have woodchips, but all fall zones will have safety surfacing installed. 

 4. Playground Equipment: A new playground for 2 to 5-year-olds will be installed, the entry gate to the playground will be relocated and a new ADA asphalt walkway inside the playground area will be constructed. 

Q.  What parts of the park will remain open during the work?

While the work is going on, the public will still have access to many of the features of Memorial Park, including:

  • -The entire upper park lawn along Piermont Avenue.
  • -The public bathrooms adjacent to the Playground.
  • -The basketball court.
  • -The skatepark.
  • -The gazebo.
  • -The waterfront picnic area.
  • -The viewing pier.
  • -The pathway entrance from the Marina Parking Lot. 

Access to some of these features might be compromised from time to time during the construction process, but we hope to keep them open for most of the year.  

Q. Which parts of the park will be closed, and for how long?

The Great Lawn will be closed when construction begins in that area, that will be determined by weather. Seeding is scheduled for after April 15, 2024, and then the lawn area will be closed until at least September to allow the seed to take root.  The exact date of the reopening will depend on the weather, how well the grass takes root, and other variables that we can’t predict in advance.

The Playground will be closed in mid-January, and will probably be closed until April or May. Hopefully, we can have it open by the time we start getting better weather. 

Although we will be working aggressively to complete the work on schedule, we all know that construction projects can be delayed by any number of complications, including weather.  We will provide updates during the year in our weekly newsletter to advise about any changes to the schedule.  

 Q.  What about the Fourth of July Fireworks?

We do not expect the Great Lawn to be open for the Fourth of July fireworks, but we will be making a major change to the fireworks show by moving it offshore to a barge in the Hudson.  This will allow for a larger viewing area, allowing people to watch the fireworks from Memorial Park waterfront picnic area, the Memorial Park parking lot, the basketball court, the skatepark, the Playground, and parts of the Marina Parking Lot.  By moving the fireworks offshore, we should also make them more visible from the upper lawn of the park, which will be open all year.  

 Q.  What about the weekly summer “Music on the Hudson” concerts by the Nyack Parks Conservancy?

The Music on the Hudson series will likely continue this summer, but only on the upper lawn of Memorial Park.  

 Q.  How’s it being paid for?

The work is being entirely funded by Rockland County’s Resilient Recreation Grant Program, which itself was funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act.  The County awarded the Village of Nyack almost $795,000 in ARPA funds to Memorial Park Improvements, which have been allocated as follows:

  • $200,000 for the Great Lawn Restoration
  • $200,000 for the ADA Access Road and Entry Gate
  • $200,000 for safety surfacing
  • $195,000 for new Playground equipment and pathway 

Note: The funds were secured by County Executive Ed Day and the County Legislature — from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.  

 Q.  Who is doing the work?

The work was subject to competitive bidding, which was won by Paladino Concrete Creations. The design work was provided by H2M Architects and Engineers.  

 Q.  Who made the decisions about the work?

The decisions about all the Memorial Park improvements were made by the Village administration, the Village Board, and the Nyack Parks Commission in coordination with the Rockland County government that funded the projects.  The work was discussed at multiple public Village Board meetings throughout 2023, where the board received significant input from members of the public that guided our decisions.  

In other local news:

Last week, we wrote about Mike Lawler’s attempt to thread a tricky political needle during his re-election campaign this year against former seat holder Mondaire Jones, who stepped aside to allow Sean Patrick Maloney to run in the 17th congressional district, which includes all of Rockland County.

Lohud’s David McKay Wilson provided some more details into both candidates’ fundraising efforts during the 1st quarter of this year in a recent article. He noted that Jones brought in $93,000, twice as much as Lawler.

Some interesting names on Jones’ list of 137 donors: “former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who served in the Barack Obama administration, as well as former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, both of whom served in the administration of Bill Clinton. Also among Jones’ top donors are Manhattan developers Dan Tishman and Jonathan Rose, as well philanthropist Laurence Rockefeller, Jr.”

Wilson pointed out a few highlights from Lawler’s donor list as well, including: “Art Favre, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the uncle of former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, and Katherine Raymond Crow, of Dallas, the wife of Texas real estate developer Harlan Crow, whose beneficence to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has come under scrutiny. Crow gave $5,000.”

ICYM NNV’s weekly features: See Andrea Swenson’s newest Photo Shoots; Bill Batson’s latest “Nyack Sketch Log”; Mike Hays’ most recent “Nyack People & Places”; and past editions of “The Villages.”

10+ Months Later: Still looking for answers in the death of Sean Harris

We continue to look into the case of Sean Harris, who died under suspicious circumstances after an hours-long standoff with police on May 30, 2023.

[Update: On October 30, 2023, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office said they were still investigating Harris’s case. There has been no update from the AG’s office as of March 8, 2024]

Watch the video from Truth 2 Power below to learn more about what activists are saying, and why family, friends and police reform advocates are demanding answers.

Here’s our breakdown of what happened.

Here’s Lohud reporter Nancy Cutler’s in-depth piece on Harris and his mother’s suspicions about her son’s death here.

Village updates

Nyack

  • Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack.
  • If you could use help paying your water bills, click here.
  • Drop off humanitarian aid for victims of the war in Ukraine (including first aid, painkillers, blankets, baby food, diapers, non-perishable food, antibiotics and more, at Village Hall, 9 N. Broadway (or at the Orangetown town hall, 26 W. Orangeburg Rd.).

Upper Nyack

South Nyack

  • Thanks to reader request, we have re-added South Nyack, which dissolved as an official village earlier this year. Please send us info about what’s going on in South Nyack at info@nyacknewsandviews.com.

Orangetown

Clarkstown

  • The Technical Advisory Committee, which “evaluates the technical adequacy of land development applications and decides their readiness for Planning Board review,” meets most Wednesdays, including this Wednesday, from 10 am to noon, in the town hall’s Historic Map Room.
  • For a calendar list of all Clarkstown meetings and events, click here.

Nyack Schools

Check out our latest Nyack Schools Report, a somewhat regular feature we will post whenever possible. (Editor’s note: if you’re interested in writing about schools for Nyack News and Views, lease send us an email at info@nyacknewsandviews.com.

Find out what else is going on in Nyack-area schools at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (nyackschools.org)

Rockland-wide

It’s now been nearly two years since polio was discovered in Rockland County wastewater, yet Rockland County has the fourth-lowest polio immunization rate in the state, according to Patch. Polio was eliminated in the U.S. starting in 1979, but it appeared again in July 2022 when a Rockland resident tested positive. The virus was subsequently found in New York wastewater, with a positive sample of concern found in Rockland last February.

. Here’s some info on how to protect yourself:

  • Pre-register for a free polio vaccination here or call 845-238-1956. Walk-ins also accepted. Local health care providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, also provide the vaccine.
  • Learn about polio, including symptoms and spread, by visiting NYSDOH’s page here.
  • Educate yourself about the vaccine at the CDC’s page here.

Musical Outro (we’re getting there!)

Connect with Nyack News and Views

Note to readers: We want to hear from you and welcome your input! What do you think we should be covering in your Rockland County village or town or hamlet? Let us know at info@nyacknewsandviews.com. Send us story ideas, issues to investigate, letters, reviews, photos, videos, feedback and news tips. And read about our vision for delivering high-quality, hyper-local journalism and how you can help us fulfill our mission going forward.




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