Details Emerge On Plans For Sweet Hollow Park
Fitting all the puzzle pieces together to create Sweet Hollow Park may have just become a little bit easier.
By using special materials, the town can put parking on the more than 5 acres of passive parkland, part of the 8.2 acres that were once part of Meyer’s Farm on Old Country Road. Doing so would free up about a half acre of land on the active 3-acre portion of the parkland.
“It can have a gravel – they have a very tough kind of gravel that is almost solid,” Alissa Taff, president of the Civic Association of Sweet Hollow, said during an Oct. 30 meeting. “And we can put parking there.”
The designers of Sweet Hollow Park will need every bit of space they can get. Bob Sands, co-president of the Tuxedo Hills Civic Association who lobbied with Taff to create Sweet Hollow Park, said the current plans call for walking trails, chess tables, bocce, tennis and basketball courts and plantings. Outside exercise equipment for adults is also under consideration.
The combination will “really make this a multi-generation park for our area,” Sands said.
“We looked at a rough plan, which was very good. We tweaked very little of it – just a few things,” Taff added.
The next step is to finalize the designs for Sweet Hollow Park, which will then be presented at an upcoming civic association meeting for “final tweaking,” Taff said. Once finalized, the plans will be sent out to bid. Sands said the expectation is that groundbreaking will take place within 18-24 months.
Sands added that the most active portions of the parks, such as the basketball courts, would be located near Old Country Road to reduce noise and visual impacts to residential neighbors.
The town is also pursuing a grant for a statue that would serve as a focal point of the park, Taff said. The statue would evoke the roots of the Sweet Hollow community, as well as the cultural identity of the BAPS Hindu religious organization. The BAPS sold the 8.2-acre parcel to the town as part of a three-way land swap deal that also yielded a new BAPS mandir and 261 units of affordable senior housing on 18 acres at 25 Deshon Drive in Melville.
Town officials are looking for local residents to sign up as park stewards. The new park will also give local student volunteers an opportunity earn community service credits right in their backyard.
While the town owns the 8.2 acres, Sands urged continued vigilance to ensure Sweet Hollow Park’s potential is fully realized.
“The park is not a done deal,” he said. “As far as it being called a park, it’s a done deal… if you want it to be a useful park, there has to be an allocation of funding, and the people who are currently in power at that time have to be able to support it and want it to be a park.”