I am always amazed at the variety of topics that our students come up with when they do their Science Research projects. But there is one area that has never been researched and I have a suggestion for our ambitious students: To discover why it is that the two longest consecutive months (July and August are the only back-to-back months with 31 days) always seem to fly by the quickest? Everywhere I go I am always hearing the same disappointed refrain: Where has the summer gone? How can it already be September? I must admit I am guilty, too. I have even gone so far as to ask our administration if we could have a “do-over” of the month of July to somehow prolong the glorious lazy, crazy days of summer. But, alas, it cannot be (I tried!), so I will not look back but rather look forward to the excitement and hopeful anticipation that the beginning of a new school year brings.
Last Thursday night’s meeting of the Village of Great Neck Board of Zoning Appeals dragged along until after midnight and the ambitious agenda was still not exhausted. The two cases the Record was following were bookends for the evening.
The library board took steps at a specially called meeting to finalize a grant proposal, that if awarded, would help pay for the cost of renovating the space under construction at Station Branch in the Gardens of Great Neck shopping plaza.
Further, they also voted to apply for bond funding for the Main library’s renovation through the Town of North Hempstead’s Local Development Corporation.
Demolition has begun at the 2nd floor space that the library board has leased for an expanded Station Branch. According to Jane Marino, library executive director, the work is well ahead of schedule and she is pleased with the progress. The construction grant program is under the New York State Public Library system and in the past the library has been successful in securing funds through this grant mechanism. The application is seeking a $142,045 grant that would be matched with library funds for the renovation of Station. Nassau County has been awarded a total of $834,219 for this grant program. Ms. Marino says, “Any amount we are awarded would be greatly appreciated.” The board will know by Dec. 11 if we are to receive any funding from this source.
Last year legislation was passed that allows Local Development Corporations (LDC) under the auspices of towns or counties to issue AAA tax exempt bonds to not-for-profit groups. These LDCs do not actually loan the money directly, but rather, serve as conduits for bonding.
The Town of North Hempstead has an LDC listed on their website as the Business and Tourism Development Corporation with Ian Siegal as executive director and Louise Fishman as program director. Town council members serve as the governing board for the LDC.
Mr. Siegal and Ms. Fishman attended the library board meeting to discuss what they can offer. Also present was Noah Nadelson of Ministat Services, Port Jefferson, the bond counsel retained by the board to advise them on financial matters pertaining to the renovation.
While many municipalities can do their own bonding, under the law, the library cannot. Therefore it is necessary to go through another entity for bonding. The other option available to the library board is the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, known as DASNY, which provides financing and construction services to public and private universities and other not-for-profit institutions serving the public good.
Mr. Nadelson did a cost analysis comparing DASNY to the LDC based on a $22.5 million bond, a number which is not yet set in concrete, but is an estimate for renovation. According to his report, upfront fees to DASNY would amount to a total of $510,750. Upfront fees to the LDC would amount to $392,000. Annual fees to DASNY would be $9,000 while annual fees to LDC would be $5,500. His report also states that annual fees are incorporated into the debt service on the bonds.
Mr. Siegal told the board that if the library chooses to use the town’s LDC, it would be their first big project under the new law. He went on to add that any fees earned would be re-invested in the town to promote business and tourism and that due to the fact that he and Ms. Fishman are local, the board could expect personalized and prompt service, “more user friendly.”
The law firm of Harris Beach is counsel to the LDC in matters associated with bonding with Mr. Siegal calling them “very experienced and foremost in the state in transactions of this kind.”
Board members asked Mr. Siegal if costs associated with the renovation which have already been paid could be covered by the bond. He was unsure and said he would get back to the director who will supply him with the dates when bills were paid. The fees already paid are to the following consultants: Dattner Architects, $191,455; Park East Construction, $20,056; VHB Engineering, $30,059; Harris, Bloom & Archer, $24,042; Kevin Seaman, Esq. $16,255.
Board members voted to approve a $500 fee to utilize the LDC for bonding purposes.
It is expected that the library proposal will be heard by the town’s board of zoning appeals this fall. The BZA has declared itself the lead agency in determining the scope of the environmental issues associated with the plans.
All of this hinges on whether the public approves of the proposed plans for a renovation and expansion. It is anticipated that the referendum will come before the public for a vote in the late winter or early spring of 2011.
The 2009-2010 school year ended in a way that will long be remembered by all of Great Neck. A stupendous storm occurred at a moment almost exactly between our graduations of North High School and South High School and only shortly after our other schools had been dismissed at half day. Much of the district experienced damage beyond anything seen here before. And yet, as others have pointed out, not a single serious injury was reported. Once again, we are all reminded how an act of nature can quickly prioritize our human concerns when faced with forces beyond our control. And despite the massive inconvenience to many, lives soon resumed their normal pace as many of you and the school district began those needed repairs.
At the end of the school year, the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education once again reviewed the school district’s Adult Education Program. Adult Education Program Director Ronna Telsey noted that the program “reflects our diverse community.”
Each year 25 members of the community serve on the Adult Education Advisory Committee. Each member serves a three-year term. The committee meets several times throughout the year.
The cellphone carrier, T-Mobile, has been seeking to expand its wireless transmission coverage at the tip of the peninsula since last December. At a public hearing in the Village of Great Neck on Tuesday, August 17, attorney for T-Mobile, David Altman reviewed the efforts of his client to lease space for the antennas atop buildings at the Senior Housing at 700 Middle Neck Road and at All Saints Church. The Senior Housing was determined to be too far south to provide the coverage needed and the church declined T-Mobile’s offer.
The proposal by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to merge the administrative functions of the 6th and 2nd Police Precincts has been both a moving target and an extremely fluid plan that has undergone many critical changes since it was first leaked to the press on Aug. 6.
At a hastily convened meeting by Supervisor Jon Kaiman at the Town of North Hempstead last Tuesday, local, county and state elected officials and PBA officers and members crowded into town hall to learn the details of the plan from Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey who tried to assure skeptical mayors and county legislators that a reduction and redistribution of personnel resources would not result in a diminution of services to the public.
The newly appointed superintendent of the Great Neck Park District, Leonard Celluro, Jr., has been shadowing outgoing superintendent Neil Marrin for the last few weeks and his “early impressions are of a caring, involved community and capable, positive staff.” Mr. Celluro says that everyone has made him feel welcome and that he looks forward to getting to know the people of the community. “Park programs touch the lives of everyone, from babies to seniors....I don’t know of a more rewarding profession. There’s nothing like seeing the reactions of people as they enjoy programs and special events.”
Developer Hooshang Nemat pitched a conceptual plan for developing the vacant sloping lot on the corner of Steamboat Road and Cornelia Avenue to the Village of Great Neck’s Board of Zoning Appeals. The lot, where Evins Exterminating Company once stood, has for many residents been an eyesore to the neighborhood, strewn with litter and broken bottles, and a seedy hangout for nefarious activities.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is proposing to consolidate administrative functions of the Sixth and the Second Police Precincts and move the Sixth Precinct headquarters to the Second Precinct location in Woodbury. The county executive says that the plan would save over $20 million and would not diminish police service. However, many local public officials are firm in their view that residents would suffer. Additionally, there is still the question as to whether or not Mr. Mangano can order this consolidation without approval of the Nassau County Legislature.
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