Cow Harbor Park Tree Cutting, Ball Court Expansion Roils Northport
By Rupert Deedes
A controversial plan by the Village of Northport to cut trees and expand the basketball court and walkways at Cow Harbor Park got the green light from the Village Board and environmental consultants.
Mayor Donna Koch informed the Northport Village Board that soil tests at Cow Harbor Park are "clean,” and that the project is ready to proceed.
Last October, information about the results of tests conducted at the park in November 2022, which showed that an odor of petrochemicals was detected near the basketball at the park, was conveyed to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Mayor Koch and Assistant to the Mayor Don Tesoriero had been aware of the November 2022 soil test report.
In late November, consultants for the Town of Huntington and the Village, under DEC supervision, collected soil and groundwater samples at Cow Harbor Park. DEC officials reported that “The results were received on December 18. There was no indication of a release of petroleum. DEC will not require any additional investigation and considers this matter resolved.”
The news was cheered by supporters of a plan to refurbish and expand the old basketball court at the park, and cut several old trees.
Critics of the plan said the expansion of the basketball court would reduce the village’s green spaces and increase traffic and noise. In addition, several residents took to social media to blast the Mayor and Village Board for plans to cut down several old shade trees, to make room for the expansion of paving.
A plan now includes an expanded basketball court of 66 x 50 feet (it is currently 53x40 feet); a 550-square-foot "rain garden," a black vinyl-coated chain link fence to run along the back and street-side of the court, and a hardscape walkway to run along the harbor-side of the park.
The Northport Native Garden Initiative (NNGI) last month donated two red maples to the Village, to compensate for the older trees slated to be cut-down, which were then planted in the park. The NNGI expects to donate two more native trees to Cow Harbor Park in the near future.