Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Lou Imbroto announce that safety upgrades and other improvements are coming this summer to John Walker Park in Hicksville. The project includes replacement of an existing 120,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose field that hosts local football, soccer and lacrosse games. The synthetic field is beyond its useful life and worn out from years of playtime. Additionally, the park will be reconfigured to include a new 60-foot baseball diamond, allowing for expanded play opportunities for little leaguers.
“To protect the wellbeing of young athletes as they return to our fields, the Town has been making upgrades with an emphasis on safety and cost-efficiency,” said Supervisor Saladino. “Upgrades to John Walker Park will proceed this summer so that athletes can retake the fields by October. Whether you and your family enjoy bicycle baseball, football, lacrosse or soccer, John Walker Park will serve as a premier athletic destination.”
The athletic area at John Walker Park consists of a multi-purpose turf field at one end and a large baseball diamond at the other. The new configuration of the area will include an additional baseball diamond. The artificial turf throughout the park is beyond its life capacity and therefore has worn out areas which could pose dangerous to players on the field. The Town Board recently authorized the project and the Town’s Department of Public Works will soon begin accepting bids for construction, with work anticipated to be completed this fall.
“John Walker Park is enjoyed by so many young people and is a great recreational feature of this community,” said Councilman Imbroto. “These necessary improvements will bring a facelift to this wonderful park in Hicksville while protecting the young athletes that use them as well as our taxpayer’s wallets.”
Artificial turf fields have a useful life of approximately 8-10 years, however, they are less expensive than the long-term cost of maintaining natural grass and a dirt surface. Turf fields also provide the potential for fewer cancellations as the field us able to absorb rain storms in a manner that is not possible on a dirt infield. Turf replacement must be considered when loose inlays pose tripping hazards, fibers split and shred, and when inlays are worn out. When fields experience these issues, less cushion between the athlete and stone base underneath the turf. As players fall on the field, they are at a higher risk of injury and even concussion.