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Vandals Destroy Gazebo At Veterans’ Memorial Park

Chamber members call for its rebuilding

Calls began streaming in to the news desk at the Levittown Tribune on Wednesday, Sept. 26 as community members were outraged and saddened to see police activity surrounding the gazebo that once stood at the edge of the Veterans’ Memorial Park, near the Levittown Public Library.

“The roof is down on the ground and looks as though all of the supporting beams have been destroyed; so sad,” said Mary Lynn Borst.

As of Thursday morning, nothing but the concrete foundation and the dedication stone and plaque remains at the site. Town of Hempstead workers removed the remnants, which barely resembled a gazebo after the incident just two days earlier.

In a statement released to the Tribune, Louise Cassano of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce and Levittown Property Owners Association (LPOA) said:

“This is an embarrassment to our community in terms of the vandalism, the witnesses who don’t report such incidents and the lack of police controls in an area that is known to be troublesome.

“Years ago, the Levittown Chamber of Commerce was offered a state beautification grant initiated by Senator Kemp Hannon. It was my suggestion to have a gazebo built and gardens planted in Veterans’ Memorial Park to create an attractive central gathering place for residents. It took some persuasion, but the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce did approve use of the grant for that purpose.

“Jacklyn Nogan and Kevin Regan worked many hours on administering the grant for the chamber and when it was completed, the chamber donated it to the Town of Hempstead. There have been continuous problems with vandalism throughout the years, with which the town and the chamber have dealt to maintain the appearance of the gazebo and gardens. It saddens me that our community cannot have a place of respite and quiet beauty that isn’t plagued by selfish and uncaring vandals.”

While the Nassau County Police Department reports the investigation as ongoing, members of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce are calling for the community to rally and rebuild.

“I have mixed emotions, one being anger that those responsible are a step above savages, certainly lacking any intelligence or emotion; the other being sadness, that their peers took no action to stop those responsible and that no one saw, heard or drove past them when this was going on,” said Kevin Regan, of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce, member of the school board and other community involvement. “This was no prank; this was wanton destruction of public property and an attack on our community. I will recommend to the [Levittown Chamber of Commerce], we rebuild the gazebo. Otherwise, the morons win.”

Senator Kemp Hannon and then assembly member, Kate Murray, secured the grant money for originally building the gazebo in 2001. The Levittown Chamber of Commerce donated the gazebo to the town in 2001.

“As an assemblywoman I was proud to join with Senator Kemp Hannon to sponsor the Levittown Chamber of Commerce’s purchase of the community gazebo, which has been a local icon in front of our public library,” said Murray. “I was deeply disheartened to hear of the destruction of the attractive gazebo; the Town of Hempstead reported the vandalism of this community centerpiece to the police department and will work with the community to move forward from this disappointing episode.”

Anyone with information should call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.