The Town of Oyster Bay recently announced that it has started a new program entitled “Adopt-A-Spot,” which was set up to allow volunteer organizations that wish to help the parks and parklets in the area plan and execute taking care of one over a two-year period.
“Volunteer organizations regularly approach our town with ideas to enrich local parks in their neighborhood and leave their mark on our society,” said Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino in a release. “From the planting of flowers and trees to rock gardens and dedication benches, this program provides volunteer organizations an opportunity to get involved, give back and help enhance our community through improvements and cleanups.”
The brainchild of the project is Town Councilman Steve Labriola of Massapequa, who decided it would be great to start the program after hearing from the town’s parks department that various community organizations had already contacted the town to help out specific parks in the area. Labriola wanted to set it up so that anyone can participate, from local businesses to church groups. Even if it’s just you or your family, you can send in an application for approval.
“[These] organizations were reaching out to find a way in which they can leave their personal touch on a local parklet or other town property,” said Labriola. “We wanted to ensure this program was open to anybody interested in participating.”
There are a total of 200 different parklets located throughout the town that are up for ‘“adoption.” Groups are asked to pick a park or let the town help decide what park would be appropriate. When applying, groups are committing to visiting their adopted park regularly—the town asks that you specify how often you will go. In addition, they ask that groups pick up litter, maintain plantings, monitor park signs for visibility, keep track of trees for signs of illness or hanging branches and report any major issues in the park to the Office of Parks and Recreation at 516-797-7876.
Most importantly, the town wants applicants to have some sort of plan for the park they are taking care of, which will include input from the parks department. The town has a right to refuse proposed adoption spots for any reason.
“Sometimes, groups have a very specific project in mind, whether it be planting flowers or donating a bench,” said Labriola. “Other times a group, such as Girl Scouts or a civic organization, want to help enrich their community, but are unsure where to begin. Our parks personnel will assist them in finding the right location and choosing the project that fits best for them.”
While the occasional check-up of the park can be done on your own time, the town asks groups that, when they start executing their plan, they must give them two weeks notice before they begin. After going through with the main phase of the plan, the town will reward the group with a sign at their adopted area to recognize the work that they have done to help beautify the park.
“In addition to instilling pride to the group involved in ‘adopting’ a particular spot, other community members can see how these groups are involved in their hometowns,” said Labriola.
Minors are able to take part in this project as well, but they must be supervised. Labriola thinks this can be an especially rewarding experience for them, as it helps them learn about taking care of the area around them.
“Teaching our young people the importance of community involvement and caring for their neighborhoods is a very important lesson,” said Labriola. “I am hopeful that involvement in this program will give our next generation a great sense of community and pride in their local neighborhoods.”
For those interested in applying, you must fill out an application that is available at www.oysterbaytown.com/wp-content/uploads/2019-Adopt-A-Spot.pdf. Once filled, the form can be returned, either by mail or in-person, to the Town Department of Parks at 977 Hicksville Rd. in Massapequa. You can also submit it via email to Adopt-A-Spot Coordinator Christopher Sabellico at email@example.com or fax the application to 516-797-4145.
“This is a positive, feel-good project for local communities,” said Labriola. “It’s wonderful to see the great sense of community found in neighborhoods throughout our town and this project will help showcase that sentiment.”