Rye Mulls Site Of Old Central Avenue Park

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The parcel that used to be a small park on Central Avenue in Rye has sat unused for several months. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye officials are determining what to do with the site of a small park that used to sit at the corner of Central Avenue and Boston Post Road. 

The parcel of land used to be a small park, with a path leading to the Rye Nature Center. When construction began on the Central Avenue Bridge, the space was used for construction equipment. Since the bridge was completed in September, the space has sat as an empty gravel lot. It was roped off to prevent cars from parking there.

The city's Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee will be making a recommendation to the City Council on what to do with the space, according to City Manager Scott Pickup. Options include restoring it to its original grass condition, using it for construction equipment for work being done at 2 Central Ave., or turning it to off-site parking for businesses across the street. Pickup said that if the committee recommends parking, there are sight-distance issues that need to be addressed.

According to Doug Carey, a former chair of the Recreation Commission, the area was deliberately set aside as park space by the city back in the 1960's, and has long been a place where people will go to take lunch breaks or relax.

"It was established and used as a park for almost 50 years and now it looks like a parking lot," Carey said. He said that over the years, there have been numerous plantings and cleanups in the park, and that there used to be two benches where people could sit. He said he wants to know the plan for what will happen to the space. 

"I'm ready and I'm willing to volunteer with other people in getting this work done, and to reestablish the natural beauty of this respite to the summer heat for so many who use it.," he said.

Pickup said that if the council does decide to restore the space to its former use as a park, planting of grass would likely not take place until the spring.

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