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Goodbye Gates, Hello Again Halls Pond

Halls Pond Park in West Hempstead reopened to the community Wednesday after being closed for construction for months.

Notice anything different at Halls Pond Park?

The garish-looking metal gates that had encompassed the park and kept residents out for months, was no longer there Wednesday. Although the makeover of Halls isn't entirely complete, Nassau County, which owns and operates the park, is letting community members inside once again.

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, the County felt pressure to bring the park to a state where it was safe for residents to step inside so they could pay tribute to the 12 local men who died that day at the memorial garden nestled inside.

In mid-August, a spokesman for the County's Department of Public Works told Patch, that  "the majority of the 'park' improvement work has been completed."

This includes the installation of new benches, trash receptacles, lighting, a water fountain, gazebo, pond irrigation, a pedestrian bridge, new bridge railings, stamped concrete sections and a new nature trail in the northern wooded area, according to Michael M. Martino Jr., press secretary for the Nassau County DPW. They have also completed repairs and refacing, and retaining of walls. Pathway repaving was the last project to be finished before the construction fence was removed, opening up the majority of the park once again. 

The Parks Department still needs to go through the park to perform a major cleanup and spruce up of landscaped areas that were outside the scope of the contractor's work.

The construction of storm water improvements upstream of the main body of the pond also remainsm which includes the installation of a storm water treatment baffle box that will reduce the amount of floating trash and debris that enters the pond from the watershed.

"This work can be carried out with the rest of the park opened," Martino added.

Already feedback is coming in from some residents on Patch's Twitter and Facebook pages, who are less than impressed with the results at Halls so far.

"Aside from new Gazebo, park still looks neglected. Where did all that Enviro Bond money go?" the Community Alliance (@CommunityAlli) posted on Twitter. Then added, "Apparently, removed fences do not good parks make!"

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