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TR Park Committee Re-Constituted By Oyster Bay Civic Association

The Oyster Bay Civic Association has re-constituted their Theodore Roosevelt Park Committee. It was originally formed when Marie Knight was president and was created because of concerns that the park was deteriorating. Members of that original committee included Fran Leone and Charles Doering.

OBCA President Bill Von Novak announced that Charles Doering, Joan Drury and O.J. Donovan will be on the committee. Additionally, Fran Leone will serve in an advisory capacity; and Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Park Ranger Scott Guerney has been asked to join but they have not heard from him as yet.

Mr. VonNovak said the board has been talking about what to do since the Town of Oyster Bay has not re-constituted the TR Park Citizen’s Advisory Committee that is required as per the original deed when the TR Memorial Committee gave the park to the town to maintain. The TR park citizen’s advisory committee was created after the OBCA first formed their TR Park committee but it was phased out as people moved out of the area and died – in the case of TRA Executive Director John Gable.

Mr. VonNovak said issues and topics that come up will determine what the committee does. A letter will be sent to Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto informing him that the committee will be keeping their “eyes and ears to issues concerning TR Park,” as suggested by Mr. Doering.

Mr. Doering praised the work of Elizabeth Roosevelt and Norman Parsons of the TRA for stopping people from firing up cooking grills in the park. “But the deed expresses a real committee be in existence, not with members of the TRA but ‘of the people’,” he said.

Mr. Drury said the OBCA committee should work toward recognition and that they should become members of the town’s committee – “morph into it”. He added that he, as well as Mr. Doering, were members of the TRA.

Mr. Von Novak said the group would be the OBCA’s resource for what is happening at the park. “When we make decisions about the park, the committee will help inform us,” he said.

Mr. Doering, who has numerous research information about TR Park said it was important that things happening at the park not be decided in closed-door meetings, but in public. “I hope the town realizes this is being formed because the TOB isn’t forming that committee,” he added.

Joan Druray asked if the town’s plans for the park were complete.

Mr. Von Novak said, “No one knows. John Venditto wants to move ahead but no one knows what is happening.”

Rob Brusca added that they want to have more eyes and ears on what is happening in the park but that they have no jurisdiction. “We can make recommendations and we can take your (members) recommendations to the town,” he said.

Mr. Von Novak said optimistically, “Maybe the committee will never meet and the town will set up their committee.”

As the meeting ended, the committee members were setting a date for their first meeting.