The Department of Public Works has begun work on the instillation of bathroom facilities at Hickey Field, which will be done sooner and for less money than first expected.
The rest rooms, which are produced locally by Long Island Precast, are made of concrete and are similar to units currently in use in the Towns of Oyster Bay, Brookhaven, and Islip. And according to Harry Weed, superintendent of the DPW, they are inexpensive to install and easy to maintain.
“We connect the water and sanitary sewer line and electric, and this is ready to go,” Weed said. “It’s delivered with urinals, toilets, the sink, even toilet paper holders.”
Weed also notes that the units are relatively low maintenance — being made almost entirely of concrete, they are slow to enter disrepair and easily painted over if defaced.
Initially, the plan for installing drain pipes involved digging a trench out into the middle of Sunrise Highway, in order to connect new pipes to the sewage lines running under the road. This would have forced Weed and his team to work at night, shut down the road to traffic and obliged the village to pay the workers on the project overtime wages.
But during the digging process, the construction crew found an abandoned pipeline running just under the blacktop around Hickey’s perimeter. The pipes, laid years ago, were rusted with age and filled with roots. But after removing the roots, the pipes proved salvageable, saving a good deal of time and money.
“For the cost of what we’re doing this for, it’s amazing,” said Weed. “It’s going to work out to be very close to, if not a little cheaper than, if you had one actually built.”
The bathroom installation has been a pet project of Mayor Francis S. Murray for some time — he and his campaign team dreamed up the idea more than two years ago — and is finally beginning to come to fruition.
“I played baseball [at Hickey] in 1962 and 1963, as a little boy. We used to have to go across the highway to go to the bathroom,” said Murray. “We were 11 and 12 years old.”
Murray’s attention to safety is well founded. Currently, Rockville Centre Little League players and their families must walk around or hop the fence adjacent to the field in order to use the nearest rest room, at Anton’s Car Care Center next door. But if all goes according to plan, that will end shortly — the mayor hopes that the rest room should be installed within the next two or three weeks, with Weed optimistically estimating finishing the job by the end of the third week in June.
Although the project is pricey, totaling almost $85,000 — $70,000 for the actual bathroom, plus labor-related fees — the bulk of the funding is coming from private donations, many of which were secured personally by Murray. So far, the mayor said, the village has raised more than $40,000 for the project.
“And I hope to raise the rest,” he added.