The approved a measure during Tuesday night's board meeting at to start an appraisal of the parcel of land known as near Harbor Homes in Port Washington.
"The point is to determine a fair market value of the parcel so that the Town can begin negotiations with the NHHA [North Hempstead Housing Authority] to acquire the land," said Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio.
Two years ago a six-foot fence was erected, surrounding the parcel, when the North Hempstead Housing Authority intended to turn this area into a 55+ senior moderate income housing development. While that project was voted down, the fence remains, and the parkland was never reopened. Activists have been trying to restore the park ever since.
Supervisor Jon Kaiman explained at the meeting that the appraisal process takes about 30 days. De Giorgio said that she would provide the results of this appraisal as quickly as possible.
The move means residents and activists may be one step closer to seeing the park restored.
"I am cautiously optimistic that the board and supervisor in particular have listened and heard the community loud and clear," said Hank Ratner. "I believe that Jon Kaiman is a good and decent person who sincerely wants to do the 'right thing,' understanding that it is a process which will take some time."
"I am pleased that Supervisor Kaiman along with the TONH board has finally decided to do the right thing and move forward in a positive direction to re-open the Alvan O. Petrus Park," said Wandell Thomas, Hands of Change president, a civic group that has been working to restore the park.
The town, she said, "along with other entities, county, state, civic associations, and private donors have come together for the betterment of the community in Port Washington in other areas of the town. I would like to see the same effort put forth for The Alvan O. Petrus Park."
She added, "I hope NHHA doesn't continue to hold the property hostage for it's own selfish reasons."
Adina Genn contributed to the reporting.