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Negotiations Continue Over Pool Status

Town seeking ownership of country club facility

The long-simmering status of the Roslyn Country Club pool may be coming to a resolution in the months ahead.

Last week, both Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilman Thomas Dwyer met with members of the Greater Roslyn Civic Association to update them on the status of the negotiations with the club’s proprietor, Manny Malekan of Corona Realty.

According to a town spokesman, town officials and Malekan are finalizing a deal that would transfer ownership of the pool to the town. That process is expected to be completed within weeks. At the Tuesday, May 8 public town board meeting, town officials may set a date for a public hearing on the entire issue.

When negotiations are complete, the town will send notices to residents not only in the Roslyn area, but also throughout the Town of North Hempstead, the town spokesman said. The town, the spokesman added, will also have a direct link to the Roslyn Country Club on its website with details of the agreement, including finances.

In the summer of 2011, the town board announced that it had entered into talks with Corona Realty to reach a compromise, one that would prevent condemnation of the site. At a July 2011 meeting, the town was set to consider invoking an Eminent Domain Procedure Law, one designed to lead to condemnation of the country club. But agreed-upon negotiations prevented that from happening. Town officials and the owner have also floated a compromise in which the owner could keep his catering business at the country club, and the town would reopen the pool, making it accessible, for a fee, to all town residents. The status of that compromise will be known when the negotiations are finalized.

In the past, Kaiman has speculated that the fee for using such a pool would come to around $1,000 a year. Kaiman has also said that the town subsidy for operation would be a nominal sum of one or two dollars a year.

Also at past meetings, the majority of the residents who support the town proposal, especially those in the Roslyn area, cited the need for the pool to be reopened. Such residents have also stated that the proposal would represent an investment in the community and enhance surrounding property values as well as preserve open space.

Opposition has come largely from residents from Sands Point, New Hyde Park, Port Washington and Manhasset who objected to the use of taxpayer funds and questioned the town’s ability to run the facility at a profit when it was not profitable under private ownership. Concerns have been raised about the lack of specific revenue and expense projections available at this time. Such residents also stressed the need for a town wide vote on the proposal once all the information is available.

Other town residents have suggested that one solution would be to create a special tax district similar to the one created for Clinton G. Martin Park. Also, representatives from the East Williston School District expressed their concern about the potential loss of tax revenue. Town officials have assured them that the district would not be adversely affected.

An Ongoing History

The current debate is not the first time the town has gotten involved in the ongoing saga over the future of the Roslyn Country Club. In 2004, the town extended historic landmark designation to the establishment, a move that was contested by its current owners. Landmark designation was subsequently rejected by a unanimous decision of a division of a New York State Appellate Court.

In the meantime, litigation over the usage of the facility between the Roslyn Country Club Civic Association and Corona Realty, which owns the club, has dragged on with the most recent court ruling allowing for catering operations at the club.

The country club goes back to the late 1940s as the Roslyn area was being transformed. During that time, the Roslyn Country Club, along with up to 600 residential homes, was constructed by the famed developer Levitt & Sons, on 10.5 acres of land, one complete with pools, tennis and basketball courts, a playground and a clubhouse. For an annual fee, residents in the country club neighborhood were able to use the club.

The Malachit Group of Mineola, later renamed Corona Realty, purchased the club in 2003. The group made its acquisition after the previous owner, CCR of Roslyn, lost a legal battle with the civic association to raise fees; a move they claimed was necessary to meet increased operating expenses.