Nassau County lawmakers have signed into law a requirement to open public access to all active parkland and open space in Nassau County purchased between 2004 and 2006 under the county’s Environmental Bond Act, where appropriate. County Executive Laura Curran included funding to support the local law in the county’s 2019 capital budget.
“I support access to Nassau County’s beautiful parks and open space. We need to ensure that our residents’ rights to safely enjoy these precious county resources are protected,” said County Executive Curran. “This amended legislation affords our public access to parkland and open spaces while managing these county assets in a fiscally and environmentally responsible way.”
Nassau County has 6000 acres of open space or active parkland that are open to the public. Some areas will remain protected for environmental and public safety considerations, including critical fresh and tidal wetlands that contain ecologically sensitive vegetation. A bill originally introduced by the Majority was amended after consulting with the Curran Administration and officials from the Department of Public Works.
Through the new law, the county will conduct a 60-day assessment of open space to determine necessary accessibility and signage. Additional information will be offered online, which residents can utilize when planning to visit a park or preserve.
“Open space in Nassau County is limited and precious, and it is critically important to embrace every opportunity to preserve these natural assets,” said Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams. “This legislation strikes the right balance.”
“I am pleased to have worked with my partners in the Legislature on this local law, [which is] responsible, bipartisan government,” said Curran.
The county will move to quickly evaluate all active parkland and open space owned or operated by the county to determine where openness and accessibility to the public may be inappropriate due to the nature and characteristics of the property and parking requirements.
Local acreage purchased under the bond act and falling under the new law include Fruggie’s Farm on Merrick Avenue and Luddington Road, now used for the Cornell Cooperative Extension program for agriculture; and the Gold Property on Island Channel Road in Seaford, abutting Cedar Creek Park, which stands empty. Also for consideration is a new small parcel of unused land at the Brooklyn Water Works property on Sunrise Highway in Freeport.