East Northport, NY – Supervisor Ed Smyth and local officials, the Pabo family, the Walsh family, and members of the community on Thursday, July 21 for a ribbon-cutting at the recently replaced playground and tree planted in memory of Ann Pabo and her son Connele in 2011 at John Walsh Memorial Park in East Northport
“The renovated playground at John Walsh Memorial Park is one of many park improvements our Engineering team has delivered across our town after battling global supply shortages and other challenges over the past two years,” said Supervisor Ed Smyth. “Ann and Connele's Playground and the newly planted redbud tree will honor their memory and make sure our community never forgets these community members, whose lives were tragically cut short twelve years ago.”
Supervisor Ed Smyth was joined by local officials, including Councilman Eugene Cook, Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Councilman Dr. Dave Bennardo, Town Clerk Andrew Raia, Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, Highway Superintendent Andre Sorrentino, and Assemblyman Keith Brown. Representatives attended from the offices of Councilman Sal Ferro, Senator Mario Mattera, and District Attorney Ray Tierney.
“Today’s ribbon cutting of the new ADA-compatible playground at John Walsh Park, is extra special, as this playground will be enjoyed for many years by all of the children in the Northport / East Northport community. More importantly, it is a reminder of Ann Pabo and her son Connele, who were lost tragically as victims of domestic violence on July 21, 2010; lives lost senselessly at too young of an age.” stated Councilman Eugene Cook. “Hopefully in honor of Ann’s and Connele’s memory, many families from this community will enjoy their time spent together with family and friends and know that these are memories that will stay in their hearts forever.”
“It warms my heart to know that this state-of-the-art playground will serve as a safe and accessible recreation center for the East Northport community as well as a beautiful monument to the memory of Ann and Connele Pabo,” stated Councilwoman Joan Cergol.
“It is our hope that all who enjoy this new playground will take a moment to think about Ann and Connele Pabo,” stated Councilman Dr. Dave Bennardo.
Leonard and Allen Pabo, brothers of Ann Pabo, attended the ceremony alogn with Bill Walsh and family of John Walsh, the former Highway Superintendent for whom the park is named.
Attendees representing the community were Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce Director of Member Services Kelly Smith; East Northport Chamber of Commerce President Lori Malley; and East Northport Public Library Branch Manager Michelle Athanas.
In 2011, the previous playground was dedicated in memory of Ann Pabo and her son Connele, who were killed as victims of domestic violence on July 21, 2010. On July 21, 2011, a dogwood tree was planted at the John Walsh Memorial Park playground in their memory. The tree did not survive and the old sign had weathered.
At its January 13, 2020 meeting, the Huntington Town Board approved up to $525,000 in Environmental Open Space & Park Funds for a new playground at John Walsh Memorial Park, removing old equipment and sand-based playgrounds, and installing new ADA-accessible play structures and swing sets with safety surfacing.
The new playground opened in March 2022, a new memorial sign was fabricated by the Huntington Highway Department and installed on the new playground fence in April 2022, and a new redbud (Cercis canadensis) tree was planted by the Town in May 2022.