The Mattituck Park District has a new commissioner on its board.
In a two-way race, Mattituck resident George Lomaga defeated incumbent Nicholas Deegan in a 199-169 vote held last Thursday.
Mr. Deegan has served on and off on the board since 2008.
Mr. Lomaga will serve a three-year term starting Jan. 1.
“It’s in my blood to try and serve the community and be active,” Mr. Lomaga, 75, said in an interview Monday.
The Mattituck native has served on the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education and is a retired professor of astronomy and geology from Suffolk County Community College.
He says he’d like to bring some new and creative ideas to the park district, which was established by the state legislature in 1941. The three-member board oversees 63 acres of beaches, parks, wetlands, lakes and athletic fields for use by district residents.
Last year, the district operated on an annual budget of $784,000.
“I’d like to see the parks used by as many people as possible,” Mr. Lomaga said, pointing out that dozens of acres of land have been preserved in the area thanks to town and county efforts. “It’s gotten overgrown with vegetation and no one can use it,” he said.
Instead, Mr. Lomaga said he’d like to see preserved land be utilized by residents, possibly through the creation of a bike path. “It’s dangerous, all the bikers we get on the road,” he said, noting the increase in cyclists especially in the summer months.
He also hopes to create more spaces to get children and teens involved in outdoor activities. “I wish we could’ve had an indoor facility,” he said, where children could swim year round, for example.
A favorite spot of his is the Mattituck Inlet Park, which he says has seen a surge in visitors over several years. “We’ve got a really large stream of boats coming down there and using the ramp,” he said. “It’d be nice to have something down there for families, where kids could play.”
He looks forward to joining the board of commissioners. “I don’t know what to expect, but I hope we can maintain our parks and get people using them as much as possible,” Mr. Lomaga said.