The Rye Town Park Advisory Committee and Friends of Rye Town Park (RTP) co-sponsored the 5th annual Rye Town Park community meeting May 31 at the South Pavilion.
By Melanie Cane
The Rye Town Park Advisory Committee and Friends of Rye Town Park (RTP) co-sponsored the 5th annual Rye Town Park community meeting May 31 at the South Pavilion. Rye Town Supervisor and Commission Chair Joe Carvin, Rye Mayor Joe Sack, City Council and RTP Commission member Laura Brett, and Rye Brook Mayor Paul Rosenberg led the meeting. About 40 community members, Friends of RTP members, and Park employees were in attendance.
Carvin explained that the purpose of the meeting was to give community members an opportunity to discuss their concerns/issues about the park. He noted, “In the past, these conversations have helped to improve the operation of the park.”
The first community speaker was a neighbor of the park who brought up two issues. The first was the early hour and decibel level of the DJs who start blasting music before the various fund-raising walks and runs in the park. Her other concern was the lack of adequate garbage pails to accommodate the massive amount of trash that accumulates on busy weekends, such as Memorial Day weekend. She said raccoons and crows open the garbage bags that are left outside the pails. The Commission members and park employees promised to resolve both issues.
Next up was David Rasmussen, former Friends of Rye Town Park President. He updated everyone on the status of current park projects. The new information center, located near the bathrooms, is two-thirds complete; the tree replacements and landscaping are well underway. He emphasized that all the plantings will be in accord with the original design. He also addressed ongoing issues from previous meetings: construction of a new beach ramp; new dumpsters; the sewer system; and possible independent management of the park.
Bishop Nowotnik, Secretary to Mr. Carvin, said that designs for the ramp and the beach entry booth are complete and both projects will begin later this summer. The two large dumpsters will be replaced with smaller ones once the office coordinates with Seaside Johnnies.
Nowotnik explained that there are two sewer issues of importance: the system at The Children’s Museum and a problem at Oakland Beach Avenue. They still have to figure out who has jurisdiction over the sewer system.
Supervisor Carvin said the Commission had only received one RFP response for new management of the park, so, for the time being, management of the park will remain in place.
Mark Cassata, who heads up lifeguards, expressed concern over the safety of the beach vis-à-vis the seawall, which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. The thinking is that they need to build a better structure. That will require more money from FEMA, so, for the time being, the best solution may be a fence to keep people away from the damaged areas.
Then came the inevitable dog issue: To leash, or not to leash (before 9 a.m.), that is the question, which was left unresolved. Mayor Joe Sack added it to the City Council agenda. (The next meeting is July 9.) One bright spot in the dog discussion was that Head of Security, Larry Miano, clarified the ambiguous signs regarding where dogs on leashes are permitted. He said they are allowed on the path from the Oakland Beach Avenue entrance up to, but not past, the entrance to Seaside Johnnies.
Regarding dogs off-leash, a dog owner expressed concern about certain park employees’ “abusive” style when they approach dog owners. Carvin and Miano said they have zero tolerance for abuse and to contact them immediately (JoeCarvin@gmail.com or LarryMiano@aol.com) if they have a complaint about the park rangers. A suggestion was made to have a comment board at the information center where people could share their concerns and compliments.