Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilwoman Michele Johnson and Councilwoman Vicki Walsh recently unveiled safety upgrades and other improvements at Hicksville’s John Walker Park. The improvements included replacement of an existing 120,000 square-foot multi-purpose field that hosts local football, soccer and lacrosse games. The synthetic field was beyond its useful life and worn out from years of playtime. Additionally, the park was reconfigured to include a new 60-foot baseball diamond, allowing for expanded play opportunities for Little Leaguers.
“To protect the well-being of young athletes as they return to our fields, we made upgrades to John Walker Park with an emphasis on safety and cost-efficiency,” Saladino said. “Whether you and your family enjoy bicycle, baseball, football, lacrosse or soccer, John Walker Park serves as a premier athletic destination in the Town of Oyster Bay.”
Town officials were joined by the family of John Walker, including his widow—Nassau County Legislator Rose Walker—their children and grandchildren. John Walker was a man beloved by the community, and dedicated to children and youth athletics. From coaching to involvement in CYO, PAL, the Baseball Association and many others organizations, he was the heartbeat of Hicksville athletics.
“John Walker Park is enjoyed by so many young people and is a great recreational feature of this community,” Walsh said. “These improvements 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 eight to 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.
—Submitted by the Town of Oyster Bay