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Westbury, NY- Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Councilman Robert Troiano, and School Superintendent Constance Clark, attended five schools of the Westbury School District last week to find out what students want for a new community center to be located in New Cassel. Students from the Park Avenue School, Drexel Avenue School, Powells Lane School, Dryden Street School, and the Middle School took part in a one day visioning project sponsored by the Town to brainstorm and help design a Westbury/New Cassel community center.

The visioning process is a community based planning initiative of the Town that has become a model that other municipalities are now using to solicit input from local residents about plans which impact their community. Typically community groups, civic organizations and adult residents of the area come together to create a shared vision for their community. This time the Town expanded the visioning process to include children, since they will be the primary users of the community center.

The visioning concept has been effective in other areas in the Town including Carle Place, Roslyn Heights, and Port Washington as way to implement community planning from the ground up.

"The community center will be a hub for life-long learning, recreation, sports, fitness, and training for our youth, the leaders of tomorrow," commented Supervisor Kaiman. "Giving students the freedom to design will help provide the Town with valuable information regarding their wants and needs."

Music, dance, and Town officials filled the school hallways as excitement about the community center began to build. "I think that it is very important for there to be a community center in Westbury," said Middle School student Gabriela Cuellar. "I think that there should be a swimming pool, a basketball court, and a club for children."

Round table discussions were held for students to share their thoughts and ideas in a creative fashion. The students also wrote letters, drew pictures, did presentations, put on plays, and created a physical model as well as a video incorporating their ideas for a community center. The students’ ideas will be formally presented to the Town at the Westbury School Board meeting on June 15 at 7:30 in the High School Library.

"The students are extremely excited to be a part of this process and even more excited about the community center," added Councilman Troiano. "Some of their ideas include a multi-purpose gymnasium, a children’s theater, a recording studio, a technology center and, even a library. The Town is taking these ideas seriously and will incorporate many of them into the design for the new community center."

For more information on the community center visioning process please contact Councilman Troiano’s office by calling at (516) 869-7799 or e-mailing troianor@northhempsteadny.gov.

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