Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 24 August 2012 00:00
Last Thursday, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilman Thomas Dwyer met with an audience of up to 40 Roslyn Heights residents to introduce a new idea for getting the long-dormant pool and tennis courts open.
Kaiman told Anton Community Newspapers that the town is considering designating the Country Club neighborhood and several surrounding streets as a special improvement district. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce that idea and see what both the immediate and long-term response would be.
Kaiman said that town would then acquire the country club from its current owner through its Environmental Legacy Fund. Meanwhile, improvements that would reopen the pool and tennis courts, plus whatever other amenities local neighbors desire would be funded through the reissuing of a bond that would be paid solely by residents of that improvement district.
“[This is] the best of both worlds,” Kaiman said.
There would, he added, be automatic membership for residents of the special improvement district, plus a tax write-off for them. At the same time, a reopened pool would be available for all Town of North Hempstead residents to join. Membership fees for town residents living outside the district, Kaiman said, would be in the same $900.00 per annum range that was discussed at previous meetings. He added that the town would cap the membership at around 300-400 members.
Todd Zarin, a Roslyn Heights resident who has been active in any pool reopening, said the response of those who attended was generally positive.
“This hopefully solves the objections of [residents] outside of the area,” he said.
He said that the acquisition cost is “presumed” to be in the $2 million range. The new bond, he said, could cost between $7.5 and $15 million, depending on what kind of amenities are included.
The pool and tennis issue and what it means to town residents has been in the forefront of town news all summer.
At the June 19 meeting, the town board voted 5-2 to acquire pool and tennis grounds. The cost of acquiring the 7.2 acres of land was set at $7.5 million. That agreement came with projected memberships costs for all town residents was around $1,000 per family and $860 to $960 per couple.
Once that vote was taken, opponents to the new club went into action, compiling a petition with over 4,000 signatures, one that requested that the issue be put to a public referendum in November.
Following that, a Roslyn Heights resident filed a motion in Nassau County Supreme Court, one challenging both the validity of the signatures and the authenticators of the petition, plus the language of the document itself.
With the special improvement district idea, another option has been introduced. For now, the Roslyn Country Club Civic Association is expected to take the lead on selling the new proposal, Kaiman said. Civic association leaders plan to send out a letter to Country Club neighborhood residents to gauge community support. Kaiman said that “if the support is there,” the town would hold hearings on the new proposal in the fall.