Recap: The play-by-play from Patchogue's parks hearing

By Dennis Smith | The Village of Patchogue is already in its second year of its major, village-wide parks overhaul project, and has already spent — or committed funding — to upgrades at Clemente Field, news tennis courts, planning, design work, and and other costs.

At this point it’s time to take inventory of where we are, and where we’d like to go with the $5 million that was bequeathed to the village for this large undertaking.

The biggest challenge comes with crafting a plan for the village’s largest park, Shorefront.

Since it’s on the bay, any work at Shorefront Park needs a lot of planning and governmental oversight and approval, and probably won’t be started until 2018.

In addition, we are actively writing grants and seeking to leverage matching funding for Shorefront and Father Tortora Parks to help with the overall costs.

Complicated, big and expensive all are words that definitely fit the description of the Shorefront project, however, the phrase “back burner” that was used in a recent headline is definitely not a good description of how we, the village, feel about Shorefront.

What we want to do is work up a plan to improve all parks, as originally stated, and start accomplishing some achievements in this area sooner rather than later.

With that in mind, we are taking a look at the results of what will become a final plan, and going park by park to determine the best, most prudent, cost effective route to move forward with.

This all takes into great consideration what the people who use the parks want to see.

So in short, the plan hasn’t changed, but as has been the case since the beginning, it gets tweaked and modified.

We still plan on making improvements to all five village parks originally identified.

We want to start making improvements to the four aside from Shorefront as soon as we possibly can, and not have to wait for Shorefront to start the others.

That’s why the plan is prudent, takes time, and as fairly as we can, measures all facets of each park project to make the best decisions for each park weighing all of the criteria, information and options that we have for each.

 Dennis Smith is the special projects coordinator for the Village of Patchogue.