Brief History of the Oakdale Civic Assoc.
How it all started
In 1989, the owner of 127 acres of wetlands in Oakdale wanted to develop his land. He proposed a development that included 142 houses, 142 boat slips and a sewage treatment plant known as “
Bay.” Oakdale resident Len Dricks gathered some of the residents together and they formed the Oakdale Civic Association. (OCA) which was officially established as the Oakdale Civic Association LTD on November 8, 1989 as a Domestic Not-For-Profit Corporation. At that time, Len Dricks became President, Cliff Rieser the Vice President, Hal Johansen was the Treasurer, and Ginny Fields became the Secretary. The group met monthly at the Connetquot Public Library. “Minutemen” and “Minutewomen” were designated to alert all of our neighbors when public meetings were being held, and a small group began preparing for the meeting with the Islip Town Planning Board. The group researched the impacts of such a development on taxes, schools, traffic, pollution, and zoning, and presented such a good argument at Town Hall that the Board turned down the applicant. However, the fight continued and the developer began litigation against the Town.
Five years later, Len moved to
North Carolina and Bob Vetter assumed the role of President for the next two years. The group awaited the next proposal by the developer. While the OCA worked trying to get the property acquired and on building the organization, the Board changed somewhat. From 1997-1998, Stan Feldman became the President and the meeting place moved from the Connetquot Library in
Bohemia to the
Mansion at what is now
University in Oakdale. In our 10th year in 1999, Ginny Fields was elected President. Also on the board in 1999 were John Schmitt as Vice President, Sandy Robinson as Recording Secretary, Denise Harris as Corresponding Secretary, and Stan Feldman as Treasurer.
Over the ten years between 1989 and 1999, the OCA gathered grassroots partners, government leaders and organizations who supported our proposal to have the land purchased by the State and preserved forever in its natural state. Finally on New Year’s Eve in 1998, the New York State Department of Conservation sent a letter to the owner of the property offering to purchase it. Then, on the last Earth Day of the century – April 22, 1999 - New York Governor George Pataki came to Oakdale to announce the acquisition of “
Bay” by the State, to preserve it forever. This land was subsequently designated as a protected wetland area, and is now managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Since that time, the Oakdale Civic Association has continued to evolve and to work on issues that unite the residents of the hamlet of Oakdale and that are pertinent to our quality of life. Strong lines of communication are maintained with the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, Oakdale Improvement Society, Idle Hour Civic Association,
School District, sister associations in neighboring communities, and with local government on Town, County and State levels.
Members of the Oakdale Civic Association and it's Board of Directors represent the interests of Oakdale residents at key meetings along with other organizations.
The OCA continues to serve as a forum for the discussion of topics that are important to Oakdale residents
including residential and commercial development proposals, safety, history taxes, and beautification.
The OCA regularly has guest speakers at their monthly meetings that present information on key topics relevant to the residents.
The driving factor in the strength of the OCA and its ability to drive positive change continues to lie with its residents. Recently, we initiated a web site that will ultimately make the OCA more accessible, and its mission clearer to the community. It will also provide a central location for the posting of current topics of interest. All Oakdale residents are encouraged to take an interest in the issues that affect them and come to the meetings and join in the discussions. It’s your Hamlet of Oakdale.
Have a voice in its future.