Thursday, April 29, 2010

Show Us Your Papers

Fees At County Parks Proposed For Non-Residents

First Arizona. Now Nassau County?

Okay. Okay. This one may just make sense, at least on paper.

Charge non-Nassau County residents to enter and use Nassau County's parks and recreational facilities.

The County administration is considering this non-resident pay-as-you-go pilot program, and our good friend Brue Piel of PARCnassau lays it all out for us.

Thumbs up or thumbs down? We report. You decide! ;-)
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From PARCnassau:

To facilitate park usage by county residents (taxpayers), we recently made the following proposal:

"We would like to propose a pilot program for paid admittance to county parks by non-residents. Technically, the Nassau county park system is a “closed” system with admittance for residents only. The exceptions were and are museums, historic sites and preserves.

In fact, for all intents and purposes it has evolved into an “open” park system with unmanned gates and little or no screening which allows anyone to enter and enjoy the facility. Most park amenities have both resident and non-resident rates already. So the effect would be minimal on non-resident use. To facilitate and control usage of our neighborhood parks, which would be all but Eisenhower, we are suggesting all parks’ gates to be monitored with only residents' vehicles permitted in without restriction. Non-resident vehicles would be charged a fee, consider $5.00, to enter and issued a receipt.

This would have two benefits. The first is that the park directors could control and monitor access and when necessary restrict non-resident access when overcrowding or other problems exist. It would insure that tax-paying residents would have priority to use their parks. The second benefit would be the revenue generated would pay for the seasonal help used at the gates with the profit deposited in the county treasury.

Eisenhower Park presents a unique problem, in that the main road through the facility is a major commuter road in the mornings and evenings. In addition, the ethnic festivals all summer long have always permitted free access to anyone. A dual fee system at the golf courses and other amenities is in place and could be increased as an alternative. The Aquatic Center , because of the federal and state monies used in its construction must be open to everyone. It therefore has its own entrance from Merrick Avenue and its own parking lot, separate from the rest of the park. The center too has a dual fee system."

The county has indicated they will implement the pilot program. As usual the devil is in the details. The simplest solution to all the "what ifs....." is that county residents sign up for a 3 year leisure pass for $25 (works out to about $8.33 per year). Presenting that at the gate would speed up entry and most park amenities, i.e., pools, golf courses, etc require the pass anyway.

Car pooling, using a resident vehicle might be considered for family picnics, ball teams, etc. Day camps that bus their children into county parks should pay a entry (use) fee based on the size of the bus. Forty dollars for a large school type bus and $20 for a small van.

Bottom line is if non-residents wish to enjoy our parks they must help support them, financially. In all cases, residents should have priority in entering and using all Nassau County Park facilities. Monitoring the gates permits the county to deny entrance to those with a history of anti-social or illegal behavior. What do you think?

E-mail your thoughts and comments to PARCnassau at, and to The Community Alliance at

Bruce Piel
Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau
246 Twin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 783-8378

1 comment:

  1. Does NY City charge non-residents to enter its magnificent Central Park, or how about beautiful Prospect Park in Brooklyn? Even the Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays.

    How do you expect tourists to come to the area if your going to charge them when they just want to go for walk or jog in the Park. Keep it free, and get them to spend money in the local establishments thereby generating sales tax.

    Once again, we could learn a thing or two from our neighbors to the west!