Sunday marked the dedication of the Bay Walk Park, Port North Pier, and Bay Walk Outdoor Nautical Art Museum in .
These projects were made possible by more than $4 million in grants, and a collaboration of community members, and numerous elected officials and government agencies.
Here are some excerpts from the speech by Port Washington North Mayor Bob Weitzner:
“So my story begins some 15 years ago. Shore Road was saddled with shoreline blight and visual pollution. Oil tanks on one side of the road along with vacant retail space, and dilapidated piers and marinas on the waterfront side. Businesses were closing on a regular basis. It was during this time that Tom Imperatore, then Chairman of Port North’s Planning Board, along with his fellow board members, came up with a concept of the Bay Walk. Taken from the success of other streetscapes improvements in Nassau County, the plan was to create a wide path with old style lighting where people could walk along Shore Road and take in the breathtaking sights of Manhasset Bay. Tom Imperatore passed away a few months ago, but his vision lives on….
"The story continues with the accomplishments of then Mayor Thomas Pellegrino. Under his watch, the oil tanks were removed, much of this waterfront parkland was acquired by the Village, and the first grant was submitted for the Bay Walk....
"It was the town who provided us with the guidance and resources to endure. More remarkably, Supervisor Kaiman allowed the village to spearhead the design of this park, some of it on priceless Town waterfront property….
"We had a Bay Walk Park Committee with at least 30 members coming together and sharing ideas and concerns. We [invited] the entire community to express … views of what they wanted the Bay Walk Park to become. We also had the Town’s Port Washington Shared Visioning project, which brought out hundreds of residents from the Port Peninsula to weigh in on the Bay Walk Park project….
"And with the park came our wonderful Port North Pier. What was once an oil transfer pier, broken and gated off with chain link fence, has now been turned into a full service pier, complete with sightseeing amenities, a fishing dock, and a float and gangway, making Port North a nautical destination and a part of the Town’s Blue Trail. This pier is used constantly, from the Coast Guard, to sailors from all over the world.…
"So look around, see the beauty that has been created, the economic vibrancy that exists. It’s hard to believe that now, restaurants are demanding to have outdoor seating, right on Shore Road. Why? To take in the breathtaking sights of this park and Manhasset Bay….
"So we are at the tail end of our story, and to me it’s the best part. I had the pleasure of taking a visit to Greenport about 5 years ago to visit then Mayor David Kapell, to see the work they did on their waterfront….But what really caught my eye was a single piece of sidewalk. Laid in it were bronze fish made by local school children…. I came back to Port, and assembled a team that is now known as the Bay Walk Nautical Art Committee. Its member’s mission was to explore ways of populating the Bay Walk with art that would tie into the history of Manhasset Bay and Port Washington…. What eventually emerged were works of art of all types, all designed and created from artists from the Port Washington Community. Friends, what we have today is the Bay Walk Nautical Art Museum."