Over 2019, the Town of Islip has finished, moved forward, and just planted its feet in a slew of different projects, including infrastructure and flooding maintenance, construction and event creation for recreational purposes, and continuing to address the opioid epidemic. Each of these areas are of primary focus for supervisor Angie Carpenter and the town.
Beginning with Roberto Clemente Park, Carpenter said that cleaning up the park and returning it to a recreational attraction for the community has sat as a top priority since taking office in 2015.
“In 2020, we are going to pick up where we left off and focus on more improvements for Clemente. We are hopefully on target to get the spray park opened,” she said. “That spray park is going to be even bigger and better than the one that is in Bay Shore.”
Carpenter said that the implementation of a ground-level spray pad will be useful for handicapped individuals who may have difficulty maneuvering in a pool. Also in regards to the park, Carpenter said the town will continue to work with the community to incorporate a skate park.
The town’s park inventory tops 100. Over 20 pocket parks were revamped in 2019, and Carpenter said more parks of such kind will be redone in the new year.
Transitioning to infrastructure, Carpenter emphasized the importance of not only maintaining roads but tending to town structures and parking situations, particularly mentioning senior centers in Brentwood and Central Islip. Carpenter pointed out that roofing on a lot of town structures, including Town Hall, are in serious need of maintenance.
“We have tremendous flooding issues, so we are working on that as a real goal,” she said.
In terms of roads, Carpenter referenced that the paving budget has been tripled during her almost five-year tenure as supervisor. Though, she emphasized that improving roads for motorists is a constant effort.
“Generally, if the road warrants paving, then it gets paved,” Carpenter said. “Tens of thousands of pot holes get filled every year. There is nothing like driving on a newly paved road. It gives the people who live in the area a sense that ‘I should be taking care of my house more because my street looks nice.’”
Carpenter also made note of the increased concern for flooding in the town, pointing out that areas not previously vulnerable do not have the same luxury anymore. She said the town will be purchasing two super pumpers.
“It is sort of an aftereffect of Superstorm Sandy,” she said. “We are seeing areas in the town flood that have never flooded before, not just the low-lying areas in our waterfront communities. But in other areas of the town, we are seeing flooding, so it will be helpful to have these new pumpers.”
Carpenter remembered at least two significant instances this calendar year in which people were forced to evacuate from restaurants on Maple Avenue in Bay Shore.
“The tide cycle was such that the water was coming over, and there is just no place for the water to go,” Carpenter said. “That has been a bit of a challenge that we haven’t had in the past.”
She added that, although there has been significant savings from the lack of snow plowing, those expected expenditures made their way to help with flood emergencies.
Lastly, Carpenter mentioned the emphasis put forth by the town and all the community groups involved in raising awareness of the opioid crisis. She said that the town’s heroin and opioid task force created in recent years has served as an avenue for these community groups and the town to work in harmony.
In comparison from 2019’s one-day recognition of Islip Goes Purple, next year’s efforts towards raising awareness of the opioid crisis will span the entirety of September.
“But we were able to really kick it off to a point where people are really looking to build upon it,” Carpenter said. “We have all these groups that are doing so many wonderful things, volunteering, that I feel it is an obligation for us to work with them, and we are getting that much more done than we would if we didn’t have them all partnering with us.”