Memorial Park is a Mineola jewel, known for its tennis courts, playground, veterans memorial and 9/11 memorial. However, the park will soon gain recognition as a community music venue, with the grand opening of the new bandshell/amphitheater.
The village will celebrate the newly constructed bandshell/amphitheater as well as the park’s recent renovations on Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m. with a ceremony and concert from the Cold Spring Harbor Band, a Billy Joel Tribute band. The concert will kick-off what Mayor Scott Strauss hopes is a season of events in the venue. “The goal for the amphitheater is to have local Mineola talent performing in front of their friends, family, neighbors,” Strauss said. “If you’re a high school kid in a garage band playing in this venue, how awesome is that?”
The Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra plays two shows at the park every July, typically in a showmobile the village rented from the Town of North Hempstead or Nassau County. The orchestra would usually have to cut down on members for the show to fit into the smaller, cramped space. This summer, when they perform on July 8 and 29, it’ll be with a bigger band of 65 members inside the new bandshell, something Nassau Pops music director and conductor Maestro Louis Panacciulli couldn’t be happier about.
“The bandshell is magnificent. I only know of one other facility in Nassau County that comes close, and that’s the large theater at Eisenhower Park. Aside from that this is going to be the best bandshell in Nassau County,” Panacciulli said. “We’re just thrilled, we can’t wait. We’re so grateful to the village and mayor for bringing this bandshell to the park.”
The village will also be working with other organizations, such as the library which abuts the property, to plan events at the park. Strauss noted that they would keep the residential community in mind, not overloading the venue with events that would disturb its neighbors.
The mayor added that while the village has received several requests for the bandshell to be named in honor of various community members, they have not yet decided on who it will be. For now, it will be called the Memorial Park bandshell.
“It’s a good problem to have, that there’s a long list of people in Mineola who should have something named after them,” Strauss said.
In addition to the bandshell, visitors to the park will see new brick paver walking paths, which replaced the asphalt trails being uprooted by trees, renovated tennis courts, additional bathrooms and new LED lights. The $2 million project was funded by development incentive bonus funds—money allocated to the village for public amenities from downtown development projects.
“Not one resident or business owner is getting negatively impacted by this,” Strauss said. “It was a sorely needed facelift.”
Also slated for the park is the addition of a gazebo, as the prior one, which stood by the tennis courts, was razed in 2012 after damages it sustained the previous year during Hurricane Irene. The new gazebo, which has no estimated build date yet, will sit on the northeast corner of the park near the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Marcellus Road. The village is also planning to redo the wooden benches and children’s area.
“This park needed a facelift and we had the ability to do it and we did it,” Strauss said. “And we’re not done.”