On Sept. 28, the South Merrick Community Civic Association hosted its first in-person meeting in nearly two years because of limitations created by Covid. Attendees included the association’s board, Town of Hempstead Councilman Chris Carini, Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads, and South Merrick residents.
On the meeting’s agenda were past and future road repairs — under the jurisdictions of the town and the county — as well as upcoming events and projects taking place in the Merrick area.
Also in attendance was Town of Hempstead Deputy Commissioner of Engineering Jeff Tierney, who mapped out the roadways that have experienced changes and where to expect roadwork in the future.
“What we’ve gone through in the last three years is actually an evaluation system,” Tierney told South Merrick residents. “We’ve actually had an outside consultant come into the town using a Google [Maps] type van and infrared scanning to scan every road in the Town of Hempstead.
“It gives us an idea about the structural condition of the road,” he added, and is how and why the town picks which roads are replaced.
“We are trying to bring the total score of highway systems up,” Tierney said. “We’ve taken a look at the roads — the majority of them are in fair shape. The cost benefit to resurface the road is about $100 per foot, far less expensive than rebuilding.
“Down here, we did about 10,000 feet of road — over 2 miles of resurfacing,” he added of Merrick and surrounding areas.
Roads the town is looking to repair in the future included South Hewlett Avenue, which is about 8,000 feet. Overall, the town has a roughly three-year plan in place to preserve roadways through resurfacing. Curbing projects are the responsibility of the homeowner, unless the town has to reconstruct the road in a way that would affect the curb.
In terms of drainage and piping, the town is also looking to make some improvements — however, due to Covid and a supply shortage in Texas, there has been a delay in plastic piping needed to complete planned projects.
In South Merrick, no resurfacing will be taking place until the spring, and anyone is welcome to contact Councilman Carini’s office about which roads will be done, he said.
Rhoads was in attendance to further discuss road projects under the jurisdiction of the county, such as Merrick Avenue.
“You all should have received a flyer to your home a couple weeks ago, about some county construction projects,” Rhoads said. “For those of you who have driven from Sunrise Highway all the way up to the [Southern State] parkway — the National Grid has done a number on that roadway.
“They have started the concrete and handicap ramps,” he added of the road repairs. “But, by the time the Merrick Street Fair happens, they have promised you will have a brand new, paved roadway.”
Rhoads also discussed recent income tax increases that many residents in the area have experienced, with some households jumping from $10,000 to $35,000 a year in taxes.
“There is a problem with this reassessment that took place,” Rhoads said, referring to the county-wide reassessing of property values that began in 2019. He urged all attendees to continue to grieve their property taxes, even if they agree with their assessment. According to Rhoads, 50 percent of all grievances are won.
“If you don’t grieve, you wind up playing more,” he said.
With any questions regarding the county, Rhoads said residents are welcome to contact his office directly or attend legislative meetings where everyone is allowed to make public comments.
In addition to what was discussed by the local municipalities, the Civic Association reminded residents that the upcoming Merrick Fall Festval will take place from Oct. 22 - 24. The fair generates money to fund the holiday lights and the Merrick Chamber of Commerce’s many other community endeavors.
Merrick’s signage on the Long Island Rail Road station will also be refurbished, with the help of two sponsors.
Though this was the first meeting back in person following the hiatus due to Covid, the crowds were smaller than normal, and some people watched through Zoom. Civic Association President Joe Baker urged everyone from the Merricks to come out in the future to voice their opinions, ask questions and continue to stay informed about the hamlet.
For additional information, residents can visit the association’s website, southmerrickcivic.org, or visit their Facebook page, @southmerrickcivic.