This spring forward, residents five and older will be required to present a Park ID to enter the parks. As of April 19, residents are invited go to Marcus Christ Hall between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to get their pictures taken. All family members have to register, even their dogs.
“This policy is not new. The policy was adopted three mayors ago in 2012,” said Mayor Christopher Devane. “There’s a sign at each of the parks that says it’s for village residents only… We’re just enforcing it.”
Park attendants will be enforcing the policy at the park entrance. They will be stationed at the park entrance, which will become the only way in and out of the park. The park attendant will be asking to see the park ID.
Memorial Park, Nuzzi Field and related recreational areas will now require the Park ID. Devane noted that during last summer, he and fellow members of the administration would visit the village parks almost every day to observe, noticing that the parks would quickly fill up with people; many of whom weren’t residents.
“The problem with that is twofold: one, non-residents do not pay for the upkeep of the park, our residents do,” Devane said. “And two: my feeling is that if somebody passed by the park and saw that it was crowded, and it did get crowded, say there was a village resident and they saw the swings were being used or the basketball court, the baseball field or the children’s playground was being used and they decided, ‘you know what, I’m not going to go to the park because it’s too crowded.’ That is just fundamentally unfair.”
Devane expressed that this policy should not be a surprise for all residents, as it’s been announced repeatedly at Village Board meetings and as Devane has made an effort to communicate with residents and non-residents visiting the parks.
“Our main priority is village residents,” Devane said. “Because there’s going to be a substantial tax increase this year paid for by our village residents. And they’re the ones paying for the park. So, my message to everyone who is non-village residents, who we like and who are our neighbors as well… is that you’ve had a decade long of usage of the park without contributing to the cost of the park, the upkeep of the park, the maintenance of the park.”
The enforcement of the policy comes at a time that the village is in the process of renovating Memorial Park by installing new backboards for the rims at the basketball court, a new dog park, a new bocce ball court, new children’s playground, among other renovations.
Residents and those local to New Hyde Park did express some concerns about this new policy. For example: what if a child living in New Hyde Park wanted to bring their cousin or friend to Memorial Park or Nuzzy Field? Devane said he and the Village Board are working to address that concern by drafting up a guest policy.
“It certainly won’t be an open door policy as it has been in the past,” Devane said. “We’ll have a guest policy but as for what that policy is, I say potentially a happy medium is for every village resident to be afforded one guest.”
Some were also concerned about neighbors of New Hyde Park who live in walking distance from the parks but will no longer be able to use them.
To that concern, Devane said that the Village Board had to show residents the benefit of living in a village: access to private, clean and safe amenities.
And finally, some residents were scratching their heads as to why they had to register their dogs. Devane said it gives the village a chance to make sure all the dogs entering the dog park will be up to date on their vaccinations.
For more information, visit vnhp.org.