• Choice for All

Restore St. Francis Street Park: Community Coming Together to Improve Open Spaces

by KENDRA HOGAN



It has been over twenty years since children played in the grass and senior citizens enjoyed a game of chess in their beloved Saint Francis Street Park. There were some challenges when it was closed officially by the Town of Hempstead to ensure the safety and well-being of our children – drug trafficking, littering, homelessness, and an unsafe environment. With a lack of people-power to manage the day to day operations of this beautiful space, the park has transitioned into now a large, open green space. Residents are now eager to see a new start in restoring this local staple in the neighborhood.


During a focus group at Choice for All in 2013, parents from the Student Success Center raised concerns about the park’s vacancy. It was then that in partnership with parents and local residents, restoration of Saint Francis Street Park became of the organization’s top organizing campaigns.


We diligently researched what it would take to see that the park is reopened. We found that Saint Francis Street Park was a part of the Nassau County Environmental Bond Act since 2004. The act is dedicated to parks, open and green spaces designated for improvement. St. Francis Street Park is one of the selected spaces with $1.69 million earmarked. For the bond to be enforced, it requires a match from the town and the county for its reopening. It was then that Choice For All knew that their next move would be to reach out to both Nassau County and Town of Hempstead to understand what was preventing the progression of the park’s opening. Unfortunately, we were met with hesitation and responses which included that the money wasn’t readily available for the park from the Town of Hempstead and that the community wasn’t interested in seeing the parks reopened.


After canvassing around the perimeter of the park, we canvassed across the neighborhood – block to block and engaged in living room conversations with a few. As a result, we are proud to announce we collected over 1,000 petitions of Roosevelt residents agreeing that they would like to see the park reopened. Although this is a huge accomplishment, Choice knows that there is more work to be done.


The result of the petition led to two community forums held at the Roosevelt Public Library and Roosevelt/ Freeport EOC. In both events, residents expressed concerns of the delayed timeline to begin the process, as well as, providing feedback to potential components to include in the park. This community-led process formed ARCC – Advocates for the Roosevelt Community Coalition. Newly formed, ARCC is becoming a safe haven where residents can come to identify key issues impacting the neighborhood and receive support in becoming successful advocates in the community.


The result of the petition led to two community forums held at the Roosevelt Public Library and Roosevelt/ Freeport EOC. In both events, residents expressed concerns about the delayed timeline to begin the process, as well as, providing feedback to potential components to include in the park. This community-led process formed ARCC – Advocates for the Roosevelt Community Coalition. Newly formed, ARCC is becoming a safe haven where residents can come to identify key issues impacting the neighborhood and receive support in becoming successful advocates in the community.

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Choice for All

Roosevelt

59 Babylon Tpke, Roosevelt, NY 11575

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358 N Main Street, Freeport, NY 11520

Email: info@choiceforall.org

Phone: 516-544-2955

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