Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 04 June 2010 00:00
After undertaking a comprehensive polling of its residents, the Village of North Hills has decided to put on hold plans to construct a Culture and Exercise Center.
“If it wasn’t going to be used, we didn’t want to do it,” Mayor Marvin Natiss said of the proposed center.
Mayor Natiss said that of the 29 communities that make up the village, eight of them already had similar facilities. Twenty-one communities were without them. However, those eight communities comprise two-thirds of all village residents. Polling also found that some residents in the smaller communities would not use such a center even if it were constructed.
“We are going to put it [the center] on hold,” the mayor told The Roslyn News. “We won’t do anything now.” Mayor Natiss added that his office did receive “many letters” in favor of the plan.
The decision was made public at a recent village meeting. “The meeting was well attended, in contrast to the usual meeting with about five observers, and there was a consistent call for the Village Board to seek the views of the whole community before moving ahead with another project using the Incentive Zoning funds,” said Eli Weinberg, a North Hills resident who spearheaded the opposition to the plan.
The culture center would have been about 17,000 sq. ft. in size and would have been constructed on a two-acre site on the Long Island Expressway South Service Road, between New Hyde Park and Shelter Rock Road. The proposed facility was originally set as a one-story structure with a lower level and one that included an art gallery, media room, multipurpose room, a library with a computer area, small meeting rooms, and an exercise center.
Opponents said that the village didn’t need such a facility and that adequate facilities of that type already exist in the village. The monies for such a facility would have come from the before-mentioned Incentive Zoning Fund that currently amounts to $37 million. Opponents to the plan also suggested that the village create a community-based committee to oversee the creation of a comprehensive plan, one that would identify what public services and community amenities that North Hills residents need most.