From the County Executive:
Let's stop the litter! We have cleaned up the County's government, now let's clean up the County.
On Saturday, October 22nd, we are organizing a major cleanup in our County's largest preserves and we need your help. On that day we will be focusing on Cow Meadow Preserve in Freeport, the Massapequa Preserve in Massapequa, Mill Pond Preserve in Wantagh, Roosevelt/Rev. Mackey Park and Preserve in Roosevelt, Tackapausha Preserve in Seaford/Massapequa, Tanglewood Preserve in Lakeview, Garvies Point in Glen Cove, Welwyn Preserve in Glen Cove, Stillwell Woods in Syosset and Sands Point Preserve in Sands Point.
Phase 1 of our Nassau County Parks Come-Back Campaign has been a major success. The comprehensive renovation work of our largest park facilities is complete and the public response has been fantastic. We are now in the process of Phase 2 of our Parks Come-Back Campaign and we need your help.
The Parks Department has been hard at work all summer long fixing the trails, putting down new plantings, as well as doing much more hard work, however, we need your help in removing litter and other debris.
If you are interested in joining me, your neighbors and the Parks' staff on Saturday, October 22nd at 9:00 a.m., please call 516-572-0218, e-mail me (through the website) at www.co.nassau.ny.us/agencies/parks/cleanup.html, and let us know where you would like to be situated that day.
Thank you for your interest and I look forward to seeing you on the 22nd.
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And now, a counterpark, of sorts, from Bruce Piel of PARCnassau:
We sent out the following e-mail on August 8th concerning the politicization of volunteer cleanups in Nassau County Preserves and Passive Parks:
"County administration has directed Park Department management including individual park directors to solicit, importune, suggest and otherwise pressure Park User and Advocacy Groups to schedule volunteer cleanups of county parks for October of this year. How convenient, just before the election!
You know how this works, well meaning citizens gather for community service, the parks department drops off some rakes, shovels and plastic trash bags and like locusts, incumbent politicians flock to the scene wearing their designer jeans, hold a shovel or rake for 15 minutes and get their photo op for campaign literature. They also take credit for the cleanup with minimal acknowledgement of the taxpayers who do all the work.
While we fully support citizen volunteers and involvement in county parks, this blatant misuse of community service we find abhorrent! Our county parks do need some TLC from people who care since most of those same politicians do not. So what we are asking all PARCnassau groups to do is to schedule cleanups for county parks one or two weeks AFTER the election. Not only will this de-politicize this activity but conditions for manual labor in the parks improve.
Mosquitos, ticks and other little "nasties" have begun to die off lessening the chance for West Nile Virus, Lymes Disease and overall discomfort affecting the volunteers, though everyone should dress appropriately anyway. The weather should be cooler, foliage should be less making the locating and collecting of trash easier and more efficient.
So please, do volunteer for park cleanups, not for the politicians in October, but in November for the community those parks serve. See you then."
Well, the administration is moving ahead on this bad idea under the direction of Ian Siegel, CE Suozzi's aide de camp. It is scheduled for Saturday, October 22nd (just before the election) and involves 9 facilities. Interestingly 5 of them already have volunteer groups that have been maintaining them all along. In addition, no such coordinated effort has been used for the past 3 years, so why now? The answer is obvious. Using well meaning citizen volunteers for political gain is, we believe, wrong. We urge the county and park administration to reschedule all cleanup activity for after the General Election on November 8th.
Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau)
246 Twin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793-1963
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Editor's Note: While we hear where PARCnassau is coming from, let's not discount the good efforts of community volunteers, the real work horses who have kept our parks and public facilities up and running, particularly during the Gulotta years, where care was nonexistent, and maintenance was a four-letter word.
Though there remains much to be done in terms of the beautification and physical improvement of our County parks - and in particular, those parks categorized as "passive" - even PARCnassau must admit that the Suozzi administration has made quantum leaps, examining the situation both in light of the utter neglect of the previous administration and standing on the merit of the Nassau County Parks Come-Back Campaign.
Are the projects politicized? You bet. Long on photos and short on action? No question. That's been a way of life since the camera and the press release were invented. Put on a hard hat, pick up a shovel, smile for the camera, and move on to the next venue. Is this right? Of course not. Add it to the list of things in this life that are simply unfair.
There needs to be a balance between public relations and the public good. Unfortunately, we are not quite there just yet.As for postponing park clean-ups scheduled in the summer and fall until after Election Day, were we in Florida or the Carolinas, we might agree. To wait until winter in New York to clean-up our parks, however, would be to stand all reason on head. In fact, we're surprised no one has thought of it before! LOL
Our thanks to everyone - from County Parks workers to the park volunteers - who help keep our parks green and clean. Keep up the good work!