TOBAY Residents Want Allen Park's Future to Include Pool

The park on Motor Avenue and the new park land sits on and near a WWII-era Superfund site.

The future of  a triangular Long Island parcel of fine playing fields, a supermarket and a Superfund site, became the focus of the Town of Oyster Bay this week.

With rumors swirling in the community about its future, members of Farmingdale Aquatics cancelled their Tuesday practice to descend on the board en masse. What resulted was a lively discussion about the various options for the undeveloped portion of the town land, located adjacent to the popular community playground.

Bill Manton, head coach of the swim club, argued for the town to build an Olympic-size, indoor pool facility on the undeveloped portion of the town's land. The team has developed many top-notch swimmers over the years from the community, Manton said, by working 11 months a year, six days a week and attending 8-10 competitions a year.

Manton and others expressed concern about an unsubstantiated report that the town was considering a plan to help renovate the Farmingdale High School pool. Manton's team now practices there, and any long-term renovations at the high school would "probably put us out of business for good," Manton said.

Swim team members need nearly year-round conditioning to remain competitive, he said, and other Long Island facilities aren't an option. A parade of swim team members followed Manton to the podium to plead their case for a new, town-owned state-of-the-art pool. 

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto responded that there are no specific plans for the Allen Park property: "It’s purely speculative," he said. "Everything is on the table. When we acquired the land adjacent to Allen Park the land belongs to the residents. There has been a hue and cry to put a pool there and we're inclined to consider that."

Later, Manton estimated such a facility would cost $20 million.

The triangular site defined by Motor Avenue, Fulton Street and Heisser Lane, now home to a football field, softball fields and handball courts, has had a checkered history:

In 1940, Liberty Aircraft Products Company occupied the site, producing aircraft parts and metal finishing work during World War II and the Korean War. During WWII, federal wartime agencies took ownership of some of the facilities there, according to a report on the site issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

After the war, the site was converted to an industrial park and, later, to light industrial and warehouse uses, according to the EPA report.

Liberty and other companies left behind a toxic legacy: a groundwater plume contaminated with organic and inorganic substances lies beneath the 30-acre industrial area and extends about a mile to the south, according to the EPA. Portions of the Massapequa Preserve, a nature preserve located about one-half mile to the south, are also contaminated from the old plant, according to the EPA.

The property was deemed a federal "Superfund" site, a designation that provides federal money to clean-up or contain the contaminated area and prevent it's further spread. Two decades ago the area was designated a national priority for the EPA, which assumed the role of lead agency in documenting the extent of the contamination and determining the best remediation plan.

Ultimately, the EPA was developing a remedial plan which would clean up the property only to commercial/industrial standards, limiting cleanup efforts to full removal of only some areas of contamination and capping others. This changed when the town announced its intention of acquiring portions of the property, the report says.

Today, the eastern-most parcel of the property is home to a  and the remaining 22 acres are town property. An extensive cleanup is nearing completion at an estimated cost of $32 million. An additional phase of cleanup and monitoring will continue for some time, the report states.

Officials said the Town of Oyster Bay, which is protected from any future litigation by the EPA agreements, will host community meetings later this year about the park's future expansion.

Leigh-Mary Kearney April 14, 2011 at 12:20 PM
I was so glad to see this article. Every day I drive by the site and wonder what they are going to put there. I would love to see an outdoor community pool (similar to Bethpage) and perhaps some kind of indoor sports facility. How fabulous would that be for Farmingdale?! Whatever they decide, I feel it needs to be something that the whole community can enjoy -- not another business. I am very glad Stop & Shop is there too...but we could use more recreational space for our children and families. Thank you for a very well-written story. I look forward to updates.
melanie beshears April 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Town of Hempstead has there own community pools......as well as an indoor pool at Eisenhower park.....Town of Oyster Bay has outside pools at Burns park......I think adding an indoor pool for the Farmingdale residents would be a great asset. My kids enjoy the high school pool, and are saddened that it is not open longer, and when school is not in session. I look forward to hearing more about this proposal, and what other Farmingdale residents think.
Rosemarie Stauber April 14, 2011 at 01:27 PM
I would love to have an indoor pool in Fdale. However, how safe is it to be in the add'l space acquired for Allen Park since it was declared a Superfund site? The TOB has already told me that it is doing one more level of cleanup there than the EPA requires. But this is a pool that we put our bodies in - not a park we walk around in. What can be done to insure that no harmful chemicals will seep into the pool water , despite the extra cleanup? I don't know - but the TOB needs to look into this and present accurate information to the community. What I don't understand is why no one else is including something like this in their comments - does anyone expect to see the town board officials in this pool with their families? Please don't forget that the EPA said that the air around Ground Zero was safe for those who worked one the pile - many of those people are seriously ill and some have died from their work there.
melanie beshears April 14, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Rosemarie...I was thinking the same thing, just didnt write it. I mean isnt that one of the reasons the outdoor pool in Bethpage Park closed? I mean years ago that pool was open, then it was shut down for many many years, till they figured out what to do with the land. I know at one time it had the outdoor ice rink, and now it has the indoor one.
Rosemarie Stauber April 14, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Melanie and everyone else - the outdoor pool at Bethpage Park was closed for some time due to a situation with ground contamination. Many extra precautions need to be taken at Allen Park before a pool is put there - for everyone's long term safety. Does the TOB want a lawsuit down the road from someone getting seriously ill - we do live in a litigious world. Do we want our tax dollars used and then wasted down the road if what happened at the Bethpage pool is to happen at an Allen Park pool ??? Even though I reallywant a pool nearby - I know I don't want it to be a safety hazard at any point now or in years to come and I don't want my tax dollars used wthout proper complete precautions taken !!!
melanie beshears April 14, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Rosemarie~AGREED.......they need to learn from the mistakes that were made with the Bethpage Pool
Mel April 14, 2011 at 03:34 PM
I agree that we should have a pool as does many other people.In fact a heated pool would extend the season by about four weeks.This might be a more viable idea if an indoor pool would be too expensive.
Tanii April 15, 2011 at 11:38 AM
I think a pool would be nice(probably super costly with the amount of clean up needed), but I really like the idea of an indoor sports facilities maybe with some ice and definitely some weekend/evening sporting activities for the little kids(3-7). I think it's pretty amazing though how that stretch of land went from a ratty fence dust bowl to a tree lined freshly sodded walkway.
Grifhunter April 15, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Then join the multitude of private health clubs and YMCA's that have indoor swimming. Even the Hilton hotel on 110 has a membership to use their indoor pool. When public money is involved taxes should be spent on absolute needs not "wants" or "it would be nice to haves".
Rosemarie Stauber April 16, 2011 at 11:33 AM
I hear what you are saying Grifhunter -what do you think this comunnity 'needs' that our tax dollars would be used for ??? This additional land at Allen Park is so precious and it needs to be used appropriately, for the greater good and use for the majority of the community. Please everyone - share your constructive ideas what you think the land should be used for.
Phil Healey April 19, 2011 at 12:05 AM
A competitve class enclosed pool is excellent use of the area. The demand is there for the pool to generate rental revenue. The pool at SUNY farmingdale is closed for good and with its closure approximately 14 teams are now with out a facility. We are extimating that approximately 1000 competitve and recreational swimmers ranging in the age of 6 thru 18 will not have a place to swim. The pool while it is expensive to build , if constructed correctly will last easy 40 years before a major renv0ation and be able to acquire the monies that the teams have given to SUNY as rental income. I personally know of teams in both Levittown and Plainedge that had to dissolve due to lack of access to a facility. There are teams waiting to be formed from many areas if a facility is built. The Aqautic center is filled to rental capacity as is Hofstra . Hopefully the Town will build it an market it properly so to captuer the vast amount of rental dollars that the swimming community offers. Locally if a pool is built in farmingdale then the Farmingdale school district would be able to cut cost. The only joint sharing idea would be to reduce cost at the Town pool by minimizing the depth and delete any divig tank from the plan, then farmingdale school district would maintain thier dividg tank for deep water and diving competitons and captue the rental for that end of the programs in this section of the county.
Joe June 08, 2011 at 03:02 PM
F'dale H.S. pool is not longer adequate for competition. It's too shallow and the locker and shower facilities are incredibly poor. The building is poorely designed and maintained.
Lauren Foschino June 09, 2011 at 02:03 PM
swimming in Farmingdale's pool for almost 10 years, its about time for a change even if they did half a community pool and half an olympic size pool that would be great for all the neighborhood kids who have no where to go cool off during the summer if you do not own a pool. I hope they would consider it pleaseeee!
asavri June 12, 2011 at 02:32 PM
We recently moved to Bethpage and recently heard about the environmental concerns about Bethpage Park. How long was the Park closed for? Is the community pool safe? Many families from my son's school are signing up for summer swimming and I feel very weary of signing up my family there. I cant seem to find any information online. Any input is appreciated!
Rosemarie Stauber June 12, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Why is it that few comments speak about the potential long term danger of building a pool, with our tax dollars, on land that was a Superfund site???? Did the TOB, or it's residents, not learn from the mistakes made with the Bethpage pool? If you don't remember, there was a chemical issue at the Bethpage pool, and our tax dollars were used to repair the situation. I believe that the pool was closed for a period of time as well. Please understand, I am an avid swimmer and we join the TOB pool at Marjorie Post every year. A pool at Allen Park would be closer to home. However - is a former Superfund site the best location for a pool??? I don't think so.... Please TOB - find another place for a pool - and put something else at Allen Park - for everyone's long term saftey.
asavri June 12, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Rosemarie - Can you elaborate on what happened at TOB Bethpage Pool? Online I see that there was a chemical issue in 2002. Did they clear that up? Is it safe now or rather would you and your family swim in? We are new to Bethpage and cant seem to find anyone local that has anything bad to say about it though I am very skeptical.
Phil Healey June 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM
The concerns of the former super fund site are valid , however, the best use for the cleaned up land is to devise an use that utilizes an impermable material such as concrete to cap the area. The concrete that is used for development ,along with other materils that do not allow any ground water leaching and, which move storm water off the site are the best materils to bring this property back into a benefcial use. The construction techniques that essentially cap the site and provide the final closure to this decades old wound in the community. A thought out design and construction plan can remove any potential issues on this former polluted site.. Unfortunately in Nassau County we are , what is termed a built out community, meaning that new open space is almost non existent. We see that everyday as homes are razed and rebuilt and former gas stations are now medical offices, and the Allen park extension is no different. The Town leaders have the ability to hire the best and brighhtest engineers on Long Island, to provide a great community asset , a pool.
Helen March 31, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Everyone seems to be jumping on board for a community pool - I'm hesitant for several reasons. 1. cost. 2. safety and 3. The HS swim team needs a better pool for many reasons - they would be there - then there is SUNY FDALE - they could be there - then there were two other towns mentioned that needed swimming facilities - THEN you'd have CYO or some other organization coming in. When, exactly, would plain ol' residents get to use the pool? Just tossing that in the mix. I'm not stirring the pot - but this pool could be the equivalent of the turf field they put in - just try and get time on that field.....being TOBAY facilities you can't say no to TOBAY towns....
AA December 02, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Just called town of Oyster Bay and they say they have NO indoor pools, just outdoor ones. Other state have this, why can't we?


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