After years of discussions and planning, alterations to Memorial Park are underway.
The basketball court is under construction—soon, players will have a place to shoot with night lighting, and pavement that reduces rain run-off.
The tennis courts are gone, too, but Nyack mayor Jen Laird-White said she is looking into areas in the village for new, public courts to replace the removed ones.
“We want the park to be greener,” she said. “We want to have more room for kids to play, or for people to picnic.”
Removing the tennis courts will add some more grassy areas, Laird-White added, and may bring more sports into Nyack.
“We’re hopefully going to come up with more recreation in Nyack, like football, soccer or lacrosse,” she said.
Laird-White and village administrator James Politi both said the plan is to have the baseball field ready for the start of Little League season in the fall.
Laird-White noted everything looking to be done at the park hinges on grant money. She added they have a grant worth about $10,000 secured for Nyack by assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee to build a new children’s garden at the park, which would go parallel to the butterfly garden.
The new basketball court is being paid for with a $97,000 matching state grant, with Nyack matching the grant dollar-for-dollar with in-kind services that are being used to tear up the old courts.
Politi said Nyack also has a grant for about $150,000 to fix up the fishing pier at Memorial Park. That grant expires next year, Laird-White said. Politi added the hope is that new pier will be accessible to those with disabilities by making it an easier surface to move on than the gravel that is currently there.
“That project will have a significant cost because you have to go into the water,” he added.
There are other things the village is looking into for Memorial Park—including a portable ice skating rink for winters—but there is one major change in the plans, too: getting rid of the parking spots at Memorial Park looking out into the Hudson River and at the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Laird-White said the plan would be to move the parking spots over to the marina side.
“That way people can still sit in their cars and look out at the water and the bridge,” she said. “We know that people really like doing that.”
The key component of doing that, the mayor said, is getting people back into the park.
“We need to figure out how to get people across the inlet,” she said. “We’ve talked about a foot bridge or walkway around inlet.”
She said the village is still in the planning stages of that, and hopes they’d be able to secure grant money for that project, as well.
With the parking spots gone, the plan is to then make that area all green, as well as add in some more picnic tables and benches. This would allow people to sit out in the park right near the water and Laird-White hopes bring more people to Memorial Park.
“We have an unbelievable beautiful spot on the Hudson. While it’s served us well, from a play standpoint there aren’t enough opportunities,” she said. “We want to expand our programing for local kids, and make it a more beautiful version of what it already is.”