While relocating a playground, creating a reflecting area with war monuments and establishing a hiking trail are the Middle Island Civic Association’s top priorities to enhance Bartlett Pond Park, residents added items to that wish list at its monthly meeting Thursday night.
Now that the Brookhaven Town Parks Department has recently rid the area of dead and dying trees choked by invasive species, the civic is reaching out to the community to seek ideas on how to utilize the portion of the park that had been plagued by unruly vines for years.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to design a park based on its needs,” said Ridge resident and landscape architect Gary Gentile, who was the civic’s guest speaker.
Over the past year and a half, Mr. Gentile has helped the civic and the Longwood Alliance, a local community group, to create a base design for the town park located on Middle Country Road.
War monuments bearing the names of local veterans have been placed in temporary locations in the park over the past couple years. Mr. Gentile said he believes the monuments should be moved to where the playground is currently located and arranged in a circular pattern around a flag pole with lights shining onto the American flag. This would create a reflecting area and make it the park’s focal point, he said.
In addition to moving the war monuments, the civic wants to relocate the playground over to the western portion of the park because residents have expressed concern about its close proximity to the lake. The civic also plans to create a pair of hiking trails on the property.
After Mr. Gentile’s presentation, residents said they would like to see swings for the disabled, seating areas, a fountain or babbling brook, and a community garden added to the park.
The civic’s vice president Gail Lynch-Bailey said the group will schedule subsequent meetings in an effort to gather more input from residents.
“We have the time to explore many options,” she said. “It’s like shopping without costing any money—yet.”
Meanwhile, the town is under investigation by the Pine Barrens Commission after it allegedly cleared more land than was permitted by state law at Bartlett Pond Park.
Peter Scully, chairman of the Pine Barrens Commission, said the town had issued its own permit to do the work.
“We’re still getting to the bottom of it,” Mr. Scully said at the commission’s monthly meeting on Tuesday. Mr. Scully said he hopes to have a “clearer picture as to what happened” by the commission’s next meeting in May.