Copley Pond is the go-to destination for Munsey Park residents looking to take a walk, feed ducks or ice skate when temperatures drop. While the area surrounding the water became increasingly unsafe in recent years, village officials and activists are rewarding loyal visitors with a renovation project aimed at addressing that.
Deputy Mayor Sean Haggerty said work is currently underway to grade the edges of the pond so they present gradual inclines to those wandering alongside.
“Through rain and use, the walls have deteriorated. The pond keeps getting bigger and bigger, and the walls keep getting steeper through deterioration,” he said, noting that tree roots also became exposed during the process.
Munsey Park officials initially created a plan that garnered bids ranging from $175,000 to $350,000, Haggerty said. While Nassau County Legislator Rich Nicolello helped secure a $30,000 grant toward pond renovations in 2009, followed this year by New York State Senator Jack Martin’s help in securing a $50,000 grant, the village still did not have enough money to begin the project.
Erin Cunningham, co-president of the Munsey Park Women’s Club, stepped in to gather additional funds for the project this past spring. She spearheaded the Buy-A-Brick campaign through which residents donated $150 for a personalized brick or $2,500 for a personalized stone bench. Through this effort, the organization raised more than $40,000.
Haggerty said the village is currently working with the grant and fundraiser monies totaling approximately $120,000 to first recreate the edges of Copley Pond, and then to replace its surrounding walkway that currently contains about 6,000 square feet of crumbling asphalt. Plantings and other aesthetic improvements “can happen down the road,” he said.
Memorial Day was initially eyed as the culmination date for this project, however Haggerty now has his sights set on Labor Day, which will allow residents to enjoy the fall weather at the pond.
Jim McGivney is eager to take advantage of the renovations. He has appreciated the pond’s beauty for the past 31 years as a resident of Abbey Road, which is situated perpendicular to Copley Pond, and recently became a witness to its erosion.
“That’s one of the main entrances to the village,” McGivney said. “And in fact, when my wife was showing me the ‘only house’ she told me was for sale in Manhasset, as I was coming down the hill, I said, ‘Gee, I hope this house is near the pond.’ It’s a great thing in our village.”
McGivney has fond memories of an annual picnic at Copley Pond, an event that he and Haggerty hope to reinstate, as well as impromptu visits from former New York Islanders player Bryan Trottier during the 1980s.
“[The skating] will be much better when the pond is repaired,” McGivney said.