A rainy day in Valley Stream turned out to be a ray of sunshine for long-time resident SallyAnn Esposito. The chain of events after a 2011 flood damaged the Hendrickson Park administration building eventually led to her getting her dream job.
It was a job that didn’t even exist until a few months ago. Esposito is the manager of the new Valley Stream Community Center, which re-opened last summer after about a year of renovations.
“The Community Center, exactly what it’s named, is to bring the community together,” she said.
As the administration building, it used to house offices for the village Recreation Department, and was where residents would go to sign up for park or pool memberships. That all ended on Aug. 14, 2011, when several inches of rain fell on Valley Stream in a matter of hours. The lake at Hendrickson Park overflowed and the nearby administration building filled with three feet of water.
The floors, walls, furniture and electrical system were damaged, files and supplies destroyed and mold infiltrated the building. The Recreation Department’s offices were permanently moved to the Firemen’s Field Clubhouse. Mayor Ed Fare and the village Board of Trustees decided to repurpose the administration building, and the idea for the Community Center was born.
Village officials decided they needed somebody to manage the building, and received 12 applicants for Community Center manager. Of those, eight were interviewed and Esposito, who has a background in both marketing and government, was chosen. Her first day on the job was Dec. 10.
Esposito recalls seeing the job posting at the library one afternoon. “I jumped on it,” she said.
She left her position with the Nassau County Department of Health, where she managed permits and contracts, to work for Valley Stream, her hometown. Esposito moved to the community when she was 3½ years old, and graduated from Central High School in 1980, where her fellow classmates included Fare.