Everyone's invited to the theater Oct. 7 for $5M parks plan unveiling

Patchogue Village officials fear a massive overhaul of Shorefront Park would eat up too big a chunk of the $5 million donated to Patchogue from an anonymous benefactor for a village-wide parks overhaul.

So they’ve decided to address the needs of the village’s four smaller parks first.

Whatever’s left over would go toward, eventually, ripping out deteriorating bulkhead along the bay in Shorefront and replacing it with a passive shoreline —among other potential upgrades like a splash park or skating rink.

“We’re going to make sure that every one of our parks gets attention, because every neighborhood that has a park needs that,” Mayor Paul Pontieri said after Monday night’s Village Board meeting, at which the plans were announced. “Belzak Park, for example, is just a big pile of sand with some tennis courts and a set of swings. It needs an upgrade.”

It had previously looked as if the village would make Shorefront the priority and address the smaller parks in piecemeal moving forward.

To help map out a plan, the Village Board authorized an internal cost analysis to figure out what, exactly, the village wants to incorporate from conceptual designs unveiled to the public in October (read below), and how much it will cost to start work at the four smaller parks: Four Sisters. Father Tortura, Belzak and Waldbauer (Rider Avenue).

A committee met recently and came up with the idea of addressing the four smaller parks’ needs first said Trustee Joe Keyes, who said the group couldn’t see dumping $5 million into Shorefront alone. 

“Hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll start to see something happening with the parks,” Keyes said.

Expecting the village will need more money, the board on Monday night also authorized applying for state grants to help efforts at both Shorefront and Father Tortura.

Pontieri said the donation helps the village also because the money can go toward some large grant awards that would require matching contributions on the part of the recipients.

Photo: The bay shoreline as it appeared at Shorefront Park in October. (file photo)