The Town of North Hempstead is fixing problems on two major North New Hyde Park roads that a civic leader says have long been community eyesores.
Last Friday, the town finished uprooting dead plants in the medians on Hillside Avenue east of the Nassau County border, placing fertilizer and compost before new plants go in this fall, town spoekswoman Carole Trottere said in an email.
Another effort to repave the long-broken sidewalks along Marcus Avenue between Hillside Avenue and Meadowfarm Road started June 8 and is nearly complete, Trottere said.
Bill Cutrone, president of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association, said the sidewalks had developed cracks so large that made them dangerous for pedestrians and inaccessible to anyone using a wheelchair.
The medians also became a source of frustration after plants meant to beautify the area withered and died, despite civic leaders’ efforts to get the town to water them, Cutrone said.
“To me, it makes a difference,” Cutrone said. “I take pride and that’s all I’m trying to do in our area, is to make it as nice as, like I said, other areas of the Town of North Hempstead.”
Trottere did not give the cost of either project, saying the median plantings’ cost would be final once plants are purchased and installed.
Cutrone first approached town officials about the sidewalks roughly two years ago after hearing complaints from residents.
Tree roots caused the large cracks, creating a “dangerous situation” for anyone riding a bicycle or pushing a wheelchair, Cutrone said.
“This was something that I guess nobody was aware of or nobody really cared,” he said. “But a few people have said to me that they couldn’t even walk on that area.”
A photo Cutrone’s civic group posted to Facebook June 26 shows a freshly paved sidewalk. Cutrone praised town Highway Department officials getting all the necessary permits to make the permanent fixes.
On Hillside Avenue, the town will plant “low maintenance” plant species medians in the late summer or early fall, when temperatures start to cool and rain is more likely to fall, Trottere said.
The town horticulturist, Bonnie Klein, has been working on the medians with Highway Department workers, fertilizing existing plantings and researching what has worked in other medians throughout the northeast, Trottere said.
“There are never guarantees that any plants will survive, we can only try to choose the best plants for these inappropriate sites,” she said.
Problems with the median plantings began last summer, when little rain fell and the town did not water them regularly, Cutrone said.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and other town officials met with Cutrone and other civic leaders this spring to discuss how to best address the medians, Cutrone said.
“They have been really great as far as accommodating all of us, trying to do the right thing, and hopefully it’s going to look 100 times better than they did,” he said.
The town said last year that it would investigate the cost of overtime labor used on the medians trying to maintain the dying plants, according to a September 2016 Newsday report.
Trottere said the results of that investigation were not immediately available on Monday.