PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County residents could not believe their eyes as they saw their grass-lined suburban sidewalks replaced with concrete.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported exclusively, the red concrete was stamped to look like bricks along South Oyster Bay Road. But there was nothing aesthetically pleasing about it, critics said.
“Suburbia is trees. Suburbia is grass,” said Eileen Supran of Plainview.
“It now looks like a commercial industrial wasteland,” said community organizer Tanya Lukasik.
“I don’t think it’s very nice at all,” added resident Mike Grella. “It looks cheap.”
Steps from Grella’s home, the red concrete replaced grass after Nassau County cut down hundreds of trees it claimed endangered sidewalks. Residents, still reeling over the loss, said red concrete adds insult to injury.
“We are used to grass along the roads,” Supran said.
“The entire collective community here does not want this,” Lukasik said. “They want green to return. They want trees to return.”
Lukasik, founder of the group Save Trees over More Pavement, demands the county stop cementing the stretch of South Oyster Bay Road from Syosset to Plainview Hicksville and Bethpage.
She calculates grass — even factoring in maintenance — is a fraction the cost.
“We have calculated this,” Lukasik said. “The county could come and replace sod for 25 years and still come out ahead.”
But the company laying the stamped concrete said taxpayers have welcomed it elsewhere.
“You don’t have to have somebody keep reseeding every year or two; having somebody come in do maintenance,” said Peter Biamonte of Elm Transit Mix Corporation. “Aesthetically, it looks nice. Obviously we don’t have trees, but you know, you’re getting a nice product.”
But CBS2 found cracks in the concrete already. And many wondered why grass should be replaced at all.
The Nassau County Department of Public works said maintenance was not performed by property owners, which caused grass “overgrowth and litter.” They claim Business and homeowners requested the concrete.
Arborist James Caracciolo’s family business planted along the road decades ago.
“They had a vision back then – a vision of what suburbia is supposed to look like — tree lined streets,” Caracciolo said. “And now, this is what we have.”
A county representative said when the project is complete, even more trees will exist than before. But opponents said encasing them in concrete will still look urban, and wonder which suburban roads are next.
CBS2 asked a representative for Nassau Department of Public Works about which other roads will be lined with stamped red concrete. The department has not responded.