The New Hyde Park Board of Trustees reviewed plans for the coming year, including the establishment of new committees and renovations to the Department of Public Works, at its annual reorganization meeting on April 5.

This was the first meeting with Mayor Christopher Devane, Deputy Mayor Madhvi Nijjar and Trustee Arthur Savarese in their respective positions. Nijjar expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to serve on the board.

“I want to start with saying thank you to everyone who supported us,” Njjar said. “I do want to start with saying thank you to Mayor Devane for giving us the opportunity. I think without him and his passion, we would not be here. I think we make an awesome team, and we’re going to show you how working together is going to make this place the place that we all want it to be.”

The mayor spoke at length about how village residents can get involved, explaining that various committees have positions available.

“There is a golden opportunity for different members of our village to come and volunteer and partake in both committees and in boards. What do I mean by that? Well, pretty much everyone who is up for appointment as far as a committee, for the most part, and everybody who is up for appointment as far as a board is concerned, is not automatically being appointed back to their position,” Devane said.

“Even if you’re not a name on a committee, you certainly can come down and volunteer at any point in time on any committee you so desire.”

Devane said that there are positions open for the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Cultural Committee, the Tree Committee and the Revitalization Committee (formerly known as the Beautification Committee).

He also mentioned that there are positions available on a new committee, the Citizens Council. “It will meet and act as a constructive advisory committee that will assist this board and the village in furthering the improvement of the village,” Devane said.

There are also two positions available on the zoning board and one position available on the Planning Board. Those who are interested can apply for any board or committee positions on the village’s website. Devane emphasized the bipartisan goals of village government as he urged members of the community to consider applying.

“In this toxic political culture that we have in our society, there is no litmus test. I don’t care who you voted for for the president of the United States. I don’t care who you voted for in the last election. All I care about is if you’re pro-New Hyde Park,” the mayor said. “If you’re pro-New Hyde Park and want to be constructive and do something good for the community, here’s your opportunity. It’s an opportunity that’s available to everyone.”

Plans to potentially renovate the DPW and Village Hall, which Devane said are both “in desperate need of a makeover,” were also discussed. The mayor explained that although the board will still need to look into funding for both projects, he sees them as necessary to eventually implement.

“If it can be a quick makeover, I’m going to be reaching out to the community and making [the DPW] a real community center and asking the community to come forward. I know plenty of electricians, contractors, plumbers. Let’s if we can all do this together and make it an actual community center. Those are things that the board is going to discuss, as far as that’s concerned, but it is in desperate need of a makeover.”

Devane ended his report by further encouraging residents to take action

“If, in fact, you feel that something’s not right in the village, I urge you to come down and volunteer and make that change,” he said. “I urge you – before you get on your computer or before you call the village clerk or the court clerk and unload on them – to ask yourselves the question: are you doing everything you possibly can to make this village a great place to live?

“Before you push send [on a complaint], ask yourself that question. That’s all I’m asking you to do, because we have a ton of people here that are giving their heart and soul to the job. We have a ton of open positions available to you.

“If you’re that bent out of shape that you feel you need to push send, and you don’t want to come and volunteer, I’m going to probably say one of two things to you: take a deep breath, and if that doesn’t work, seek professional help. Because at the end of the day, we’re all here pulling in the same direction to make New Hyde Park a great place to live. Pull in the same direction with us.”

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