After months of campaigning and study, a bond was approved this week for improvements at the Alfred J. Walker Memorial Park on West 11th Street.
Residents say the Huntington Station park is in poor condition. Loose sand and no safety surfacing are just a few of the concerns parents have when taking their children out to play.
The park will include new improvements such as a new playground, renovated basketball court, adult exercise equipment, a gazebo, a new parking lot, and a preserved grove of English Yew trees.
An “Alfred J. Walker Art Walk” featuring a permanent display of Walker’s cartoons and artwork will be designed, which was originally created in a home adjacent to the park.
“The family conveyed this was the most important aspect of the proposed improvements,” said town spokeswoman Lauren Lembo.
While the Town Board approved up to $1.2 million for bonding, the town said it would not need to bond the full amount because funds from EOSPA (Environmental Open Space & Park Fund Advisory Committee) will cover about half the cost. That portion of funding is on the agenda for the next Town Board meeting in April.
The campaign for revitalizing the park originates from Leaders of the New School’s Amaru Jones, who has gathered support on social media in hopes to gain enough momentum toward construction.
With the help of local businesses such as Johnny D’s Pizza, Dough & Co. Pizza, Ivy Kitchen and Bar, Brothers Barbershop, Shrimpy’s Burrito Bar, 8Well, and many others, Jones was able to show the town board how dedicated residents were to improving the Alfred J. Walker Memorial Park.
“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of places I could go to, but one place I did go to was Alfred J. Walker Memorial Park,” Jones said. “At one time this park was one of the best places the kids at Huntington Station community could go to, but as of recent, the park became a past thought.”
Saying that other nearby parks have been becoming more popular due to better maintenance, Jones said that, for the Huntington Station community to be revitalized, it must also keep the essence of what the community is.
“We must make sure that this park is being built, so the next generation can experience what Huntington is and what were about which is inclusiveness and equity for all people,” he said.Alfred J. Walker Memorial Park Improvement Concept Plan