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Dilapidated park in Wading River needs face-lift, officials say


A broken swing for toddlers with metal in its seat, a rusted jungle gym and picnic tables that are covered in mold and falling apart. 

These are some of the items Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy cited when describing the poor conditions at Town of Riverhead Police Officers Memorial Park in Wading River, formerly known as Bayberry Park.

After Mr. Dunleavy raised his complaints at last Thursday’s Town Board work session, officials say they will now spend money to fix up the park.

“It’s outrageous,” Mr. Dunleavy said, holding up pictures he took of the site, located on Bayberry Road. “We want people to eat on these tables? There’s green stuff growing on that!”

A swing designed for toddlers has broken plastic on its seat and sharp metal inside, Mr. Dunleavy said.

“This is bad,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

A broken swing at the park in Wading River. (Credit: Tim Gannon)
A broken swing at the park in Wading River. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

“We don’t take care of anything and then we have to have a new park,” Mr. Dunleavy continued. “The Wading River Civic Association donated a lot of that stuff and we’re not taking care of it.”

Wading River Civic Association president Sid Bail said after the meeting that he’s also heard complaints about the park’s conditions. He agrees with Mr. Dunleavy that the town should maintain its parks better.

On Tuesday, Councilman Tim Hubbard, the Town Board liaison to the parks department, said he spoke with parks and recreation superintendent Ray Coyne and that Mr. Coyne plans to find some money to fix it up.

Mr. Coyne said the park is one of several in the town that needs work, but finding money for it its the problem.

“We don’t have that much money so we’re trying to slice up the pie into as many pieces as we can so we can get these parks repaired,” he said. “[The Wading River park] is one of them. I don’t even have that in the budget, so I’ve go to find money.”

In addition to the items mentioned by Mr. Dunleavy, Mr. Coyne said the underlying surface on the tennis courts is deteriorating, which will cost about $28,000 to fix, and the parking lot also is deteriorating.

“That’s a $200,000 job,” he said of the parking lot.

Mr. Coyne said his department has already replaced the broken toddler swing, and plans to replace two of the rotted picnic tables.

“So many parks beginning to fall apart and we’re doing our best to make them safe until the money comes,” he said.

The former Bayberry Park was renamed Town of Riverhead Police Officers Memorial Park following the death of Riverhead police officer Timothy McQueeney, who died in a 1997 traffic accident.

Mr. McQueeney is one of five officers named on the park’s entrance sign. The others are Richard Boden, Francis Bujmicki, John Seaman and John Danowski.

The picnic table area at the park was also renamed the “PO Timothy E. McQueeney Memorial Picnic Area.”

Photo caption: A look at Riverhead Town’s Police Officers Memorial Park in Wading River. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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Editor’s Note: This story was updated with additional comments from Mr. Coyne.