BY JOHN NUGENT
New Hyde Park Mayor Christopher Devane expressed concern about behavior problems on the basketball court at Memorial Park at the village board meeting on Thursday.
The mayor said that he drives by Memorial Park every day and has observed, on numerous occasions, activity and behavior on the basketball court that he considers unacceptable.
Upon entering the park last Wednesday Devane saw basketball players cursing, littering the park with empty water bottles and playing in a way that involved overly aggressive physical contact.
The mayor said, “It’s unfortunate, the activity that goes on,” but vowed that it will stop. He described the behavior of some people on the basketball court as “disgusting, pathetic,” adding, “These young men should be ashamed of themselves.”
In a recent encounter with a group of basketball players at Memorial Park, Devane announced that he was the mayor and told them to curb their unruly behavior or leave the facility. He said they responded in a very disrespectful manner.
Devane added that he did not know whether the people involved were village residents but described them as 16 to 20 years old. He said he has seen them drive cars around the park in a dangerous manner and behave in a way that is “not conducive to a family atmosphere.”
Accordingly, the mayor declared that starting in the new year, residency requirements will be enforced at all park facilities. IDs will be checked when people enter village-owned parks.
The village code states, “All parks, fields and playgrounds owned by the Village are for the exclusive use of Village residents and their guests.”
“I want the village residents to be proud of our park system,” Devane said. He added that he “wants mothers and fathers to know that they send their kids to a safe, clean facility.”
The board also reported that work continues on improvements to Memorial Park. Upgrades to the fields, fencing and installation of a new bocce court are underway.
Also, plans are being made for a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Pending coordination with the Police and Fire departments, Saturday, March 12, is the proposed date, the mayor said.