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Freeport Village News

June 2001

June 28, 2001

The Heat Is On As Legislator Tells Residents
"Your Position Is My Position"


President of Freeport's Northeast Civic Association, Bernie Smith (standing), introduces Nassau County Legislator, Patrick Williams (seated in red shirt), to residents and members of the association. Williams spent over an hour with the group, most of it listening to the concerns of the residents.


BY Stewart Lilker

With the heightening of the summer's temperatures, the impending demolition of Freeportís free public swimming pools is also rising high on everybodyís agenda. Nassau County Legislator, Patrick Williams, made time to meet with Freeportís Northeast Civic Association and residents from Freeport on Thursday evening, June 28th.

Williams told the attendees that he met with Mayor Glacken earlier in the day "to gather the facts." He explained that Glacken told him that the pool at Martin Luther King Park (MLK) was built in 1966 and was built as a result of people trying to keep blacks "out of the Recreation (Rec) Center." One of the few light moments of the evening occurred, when to everybodyís amusement, it was pointed out to Legis. Williams, that the Rec Center wasnít built until the seventies.

Williams said, Glacken explained that the pool was only built with a useful life of six or seven years and that the "Health Department imposes certain standards on pools." Williams said Glacken claimed that it would "cost a million dollars" to repair the pools and that it was not cost effective to repair them. Williams concluded the findings of his meeting with Glacken, with Glackenís explanation that "the number of people using the pools had declined," explaining further that Glacken claimed to have only received four calls about the closing of the pools and that his decision was an administrative one.

Williams explained, "As a county legislator, I have no power to stop what he is doing. I am here to listen to you. I have no position."

Williams, referring to MLK Park, told the gathering, "The condition of the pool is deplorable. I wouldnít want it in front of my house."

When Williams said he would try and set up a meeting for Friday between the group and Glacken, Bernie Smith, the president of the Northeast Civic Association, said emphatically, "We will meet with the Mayor on Monday night at Village Hall. The disrespect that he has paid the community is not acceptable."

Resident George Coward told Williams, "It doesnít need to be destroyed."

Claudina Bilbo said, "That pool is the heart of the park. We are not going to settle for anything less."

Smith told Williams and the group, "This is nothing more than total neglect."

Jim Taylor, frustrated with the busing of the neighborhood's children said, "Iím tired of seeing our children being bused from here to there."

Former Village Trustee candidate, Anna Muhammed, explained that the park was built in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, after his assassination. She said that as far as she could remember, "Federal funds were used to construct the pools." Then she told the Williams and the group, "They were against the park from the beginning. This Mayor doesnít care about his constituents."

Another resident told Williams, "A lot of folks canít afford the fees at the Rec Center."

Long time resident Rosland Reese, resignedly told Williams, "We have a whole summer with children sitting around doing nothing."

Williams sat patiently, listening to the community. When it was brought up that legal action might be necessary to stop the demolition, Williams said, "Iíll have my attorneys research this. Iíll find you someone."

Everyone at the meeting was in favor of opening the pools and saving them from the wreckerís ball.

Williams, apparently referring to Glacken, explained to the group, "Iím nobodyís messenger."

The meeting concluded with Williams telling the group, "Now that Iíve spoken to you -- My position is your position."

 

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June 18, 2001 

Glackenites Vote To Bulldoze Neighborhood Pools

By Stewart Lilker
The children's wading pool at Freeport's Randall Park in South Freeport, sits locked up and waiting for the bulldozer. Without notifying the public, Mayor William F. Glacken Jr. and his Republican Board of Trustees voted to demolish all of Freeport's neighborhood pools only days before the summer vacation. The pools in Martin Luther King Park, in Northeast Freeport, are going to suffer the same fate.

Mayor Glacken and the rest of his Republican Board had good reason not to make Monday nightís abbreviated Board meeting agenda public until the very last minute. In the eveningís agenda, unknown and unannounced to the public, was a request for "authorization to advertise for ĎDemolition of Park Pools.í"


Ken Bagatelle, President of the Northwest Civic Association, asked Mayor Glacken the location of the pools. Glacken explained that the pools were located in Randall Park and Martin Luther King Park (MLK). Randall Park is located at the foot of Freeportís famous newly renovated Nautical Mile, while MLK is located in northeast Freeport.

Glacken said there will be a service that will transport people from the village parks to the Freeport Recreation Center "at least three or four times a day and back." Glacken  added, "Transportation will be a free service."   Later, Glacken explained that anyone using the Recreation Center "would have to pay to use it." There are swimming pools at the Recreation Center.


The big pool at Martin Luther King Park. The Glackenites have decided that the children of Northeast Freeport won't be swimming here this summer.


Bagatelle told the Mayor, "When people used Randall park it was free."

Bagatelle then asked, "What will happen at Randall Park where the pool was?"

Glacken responded, "It probably will be a ---. Due to the continuing poor acoustics in village hall, it was impossible to understand the Mayor.

Your reporter, who is also a resident, was next to the microphone.

LILKER: I would like to state that I am against the demolition of those two neighborhood pools, at this time. Could you tell me when the demolition of those two pools was discussed by the Village Board of Trustees.

GLACKEN: In a memo to the Board from Mr. DiGrazia [Superintendent of Public Works] summarizing what Mr. Jefferies had recommended.

LILKER: Did the Board ever discuss publicly the demolition of those two pools?

GLACKEN: No.

LILKER: Has the Village done anything to notify the area residents of the demolition of those two community pools?

GLACKEN: Yes. Mr. Jefferies [Director of Recreation] has been in contact with groups that use those pools as well as several people in the neighborhood and reaction so far has been very positive.

Glacken continued, explaining that it was a net benefit because "they" could use the other facilities at the Recreation Center, that are not available at the parks.

LILKER: I donít know if I agree that all the organizations have been apprised of the situation.

GLACKEN: Whether you agree with it or not, Mr. Jefferies has made the notification.

LILKER: I was at the Northeast Civic Association meeting this past Saturday. I told the group that the pool at Martin Luther King park was going to be demolished. [A confidential source informed FNYN about the demolition]. Mr. Bernard Smith, the president and the folks attending the meeting, said that this was the first time that they ever heard about it. Could you tell me, if Mr. Jefferies advised all the important groups, why the Northeast Civic Association wasnít advised.

GLACKEN: I assume that he had, but if he did not, Iím sure he will.

LILKER: Isnít that after the fact? I respectfully request that you notify the folks in Northeast Freeport and that they have an opportunity (Glacken interrupts).

GLACKEN: I know that the neighborhood has been notified extensively and we have had feedback and it is generally very positive.

LILKER: I donít know what member of the Board of Trustees discussed this in the northeast or south of Sunrise Highway. Maybe they might want to volunteer who they discussed it with.

As usual, the Glackenite Trustees sat as if cast in stone.

Astonishingly, Glacken then said, "We made the decision two weeks ago and we are advertising right now for bids."

An examination of the agenda and the minutes of June 4, 2001, clearly indicate that there was not one word spoken or any decision made regarding the demolition of any pools in Freeport.

Your reporter then asked the Mayor to delay the demolition of the pools until the Board heard from the residents of the neighborhoods, telling the Mayor, "I have spoken to the people in those neighborhoods and I havenít found one person in favor of demolishing those pools."

Community activist and civil rights leader, Eileen Weaver, was furious as she approached the microphone to address the Board. "I sit here in surprise. I have never heard that there was a possibility of the demolition of these pools. I am concerned about the services that we give our citizens north of Sunrise [Highway]."

Glacken explained his jitney service to the Recreation Center. The poor acoustics, which the Mayor has refused to repair in three years, and his refusal to speak clearly and use the microphone, made it impossible to understand what he was saying.

Weaver, frustrated, pleaded with Mayor and the Board, "Excuse me, sir. How often? I canít hear. We canít hear. I am asking that you adjourn this vote.

Glacken ignored Weaverís request. Turning to the clerk he said, "Poll the Board please."

The Board voted unanimously to demolish Freeportís neighborhood pools.

Editors note: [] bracketed words are for clarity.

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June 3, 2001

Nautical Festival A Success


The Freeport Nautical Festival, held along the revitalized Nautical mile, was a huge success once the weekend's weather cleared up. In the photo at right, one of Freeport's finest keeps things in order on Sunday afternoon.
 

 

 

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