The board voted Tuesday 5-2 in favor of controversial plan to purchase and refurbish 7.385 acres of the Roslyn Country Club, which will become .
The town will spend $2 million, through its environmental legacy fund, which preserves open space, to purchase the property from Manny Malekan, and to issue $7.5 million in bonds to renovate the facility. The property includes a pool and tennis courts.
The vote came after a nearly two-and-a-half hour discussion, with dozens of people waiting their turn to speak at the podium in the standing-room only boardroom, with spillover into the hallway.
One side of the room was occupied mostly by people sporting a "ToNH Vote Yes" sticker on their clothing.
And while supporters saw the facility as a benefit to North Hempstead, pointing to the and Tully facilities, as well as the chance to preserve open space, opponents worried about the economic strain the purchase would impose on taxpayers.
Take New Hyde Park resident Jim McHugh, who said he does not anticipate that the town will get the membership required to break even or be profitable.
"There's no way in God's little green acre that this will pay for itself," McHugh said.
The Williston Park Civic Group presented a petition to the town with 300 signatures of people against the purchase.
Addressing concerns about increased taxes, said that if the town's estimations are wrong, the taxpayer may pay an additional $1 or $2 as a result of Levitt Park. He added that if the property makes more money than it needs for maintenance, that money would used to better the town.
As part of the agreement, Malekan will maintain his ownership of the catering facility. Kaiman said that the details of the agreement were being finalized with the understanding that the local school district's taxes would not be impacted.
Board Members Angelo Ferrara, R-New Hyde Park, and Dina DeGiorgio, R-Port Washington, were the only two voting against the plan.
Ferrara said he feels everyone on the board aims to do what is right for the town. He said he voted against the plan because he does not want to leave debt for future generations.
He would have supported the measure, he added, had it been designed so that the town gives area residents the $2 million from the environmental legacy fund, with the provision that those residents then maintain the property.
Still, before voting, Ferrara said that his decision is not based on politics. He said he worries about the "Pandora's box" opened by the measure because now other pools in disprepair can potentially take the same route.
Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, D-Great Neck, said before she voted that she is looking at the overall picture for the town and voted yes.
After being implored by one resident to table this vote and to represent the people from her district, Councilwoman Lee Seeman, D-Great Neck Estates, said, "I want my grandchildren to remember how I voted. I voted to preserve 7.5 acres of open land."