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'Levitt Park' May Be Coming to North Hempstead

The Town of North Hempstead is taking steps toward opening a facility in the Roslyn Country Club area.

During the public comment section of Tuesday night's board meeting, residents asked about the progress on the  facility following a meeting and Councilman Thomas Dwyer had with a local civic group Monday night.

Dwyer noted at the end of the approximately three-hour long meeting that the town is probably within about a week or two from reaching an agreement with the contractor regarding the facility. Once the Town comes to an agreement, if that is the case, the dollar amounts that many were clamoring for in the past will be posted on the Town's website and the board will have a public hearing to determine whether the contract will be signed.

If the acquisition of this facility happens, it will be for about $2 million, Kaiman said in an interview after the town meeting. This $2 million will come from the town's environmental legacy fund (ELF), which was the result of a bond referendum that was voted on when Kaiman was a judge, he said. When the ELF started, it had $15 million in total and was intended to be used related to acquiring and maintaining open space in the town. There is also an ELF committee that helps to regulate the fund, a town spokesman said.

The estimated cost of the pool membership is anticipated to be between $800 and $1,000. Membership of the pool will not be limited, although due to the building's capacity there will only be a certain number of people who can use the pool per day.

Kaiman said in the interview that he is relatively confident after speaking to groups in the Roslyn area that about 500 people who live near the facility have interest in joining it. The goal, if the property is acquired, is for the town to make enough through memberships and other fees to maintain the facility. There will also be a fee for people to play tennis and the town is working on determining daily rates for the facility. Kaiman noted the daily fee would "have to be high" to ensure that everyonew wouldn't simply purchase several one-day passes.

Kaiman added that tennis and paid summer programs are additional ways that the town can better guarantee that the facility will make enough to sustain itself.

During the board meeting, Kaiman noted that if there is a year when there is less interest in the pool, given the population of the town, it could potentially add another $1 or $2 to a resident's taxes and if the facility makes a lot of money, it could reduce taxes.

Membership at other town pools has increased, with Tully's membership doubling from 1,394 members in 2007 to 2,793 in 2011, and Manorhaven's membership quadrupled in one year, going from 1,278 in 2010 to 4,443 in 2011.

In the interview, Kaiman said the anticipated name for the facility is Levitt Park, referring to William Levitt.

Residents expressed concerns during the public comment period about why this area was not forming its own park district, whether there would be sufficient membership to sustain the pool, and that the facility and its fees seems exclusionary. In response, Kaiman said that for the general resident this will potentially be "virtually no cost" and that everyone who lives within the town has a right to join.

Councilman Angeloa Ferrara noted in the meeting that he is "not in favor of this project at this point" and that more needs to be learned about the project.

Jason April 19, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I think the town should go back and review the membership for Manorhaven pool. Using fabricated numbers just shows just how desparate Kaiman and Dwyer are to get this back door deal done with the RCC.
Nassau Taxpayer April 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Town should Levitt alone, Levitt to Roslyn to finance.
Nassau Taxpayer April 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM
Why would this be considered "open space" when it will be big bucks "members only" and not generally available to Town residents -- yet taxpayers backstop losses? Anyone think this is a good deal or makes sense for the Town to acquire (except those locals in Roslyn who will now pay LESS to use their former facility)?
R Miller April 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I would like to see an actual business model on how the town will make this work when it did not work under private ownership. I find it hard to believe that it will carry itself. If it does not than what is the next step to prevent this from becoming a drain to the taxpayers. Also as stated above I hardly would consider this to be considered an open space. I say it would be better to get a private entity to take it over and run it this way the property stays on the tax rolls

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