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The Great Neck Public Schools have entered into a shared municipal services incentive grant program for 2008-2009. The program was discussed and approved at the Board of Education's Dec. 15 public action meeting. Included is a "wellness" program in conjunction with the Great Neck Park District; this involves a rehabilitation of the Great Neck North Middle School's existing running track.

The New York State Department of State has available a number of grant programs that encourage inter-governmental cooperation on projects that will benefit taxpayers. An example of this is the joint wellness project involving the school district and the park district (school track rehabilitation). For this project, both the school district and the park district are anxious to cooperate to improve the health of local students and residents. Rehabilitation of the existing North Middle running track and the addition of exercise stations along the outside of the track is something that both entities feel will benefit the Great Neck community.

The cost of this endeavor, including the provision for appropriate lighting, is approximately $440,000.

The board of education voted approval that the school district submit an application to the Municipal Shared Services Incentive Grant Program for the 2009-2010 program year to apply for grant funding in the amount of $440,000 to: rehabilitate a running track, install a fitness trail, exercise station and lighting at North Middle School. The district must also request a SEQRA review (environmental review) on the planned project.

The school district recommended that the project be entitled "Great Neck Wellness Initiative 2009." The estimated cost is $440,000, with 10 percent of the project costs being shared equally between the school district ($22,000) and the park district ($22,000), and the balance funded from the grant program by an application from both the school district and the park district. The amount of 10 percent of the total cost ($44,000) of the project will come from the capital budgets of both the school district and the park district, "with the responsibilities of each entity related to the collaborative project detailed in an inter-municipal agreement which will be submitted to the New York State Department of State," according to the school district.

Expressing delight with the proposed new track, North High Principal Bernard Kaplan said that he has been with the school district for 16 years and the students have never been able to have a home track meet. The new North Middle track will allow for home track meets at last.


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