With the opening of its Clubhouse at a gala celebration held Aug. 19, the Village Club of Sands Point celebrated the completion of an important and historic project that began in December of 1994. At that time, the Village of Sands Point became the owner of 210 beautiful Sands Point acres, formerly known as the IBM Country Club, which included a fabulous mansion, other interesting buildings, tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course and a waterfront that measures a third of a mile.
Club Development Committee Chairman Dick Bernhard (right) receives a special recognition plaque from Mayor Leonard Wurzel and Chairman of the Residents' Club Commission Fred Jaroslow for the outstanding work of his and his committee's work.
After months of negotiations with IBM, the village put forth a referendum to village taxpayers for $12.6 million the purchase price of the club. The villagers gave the board a resounding vote of approval, when 86 percent of the taxpayers agreed to provide the funds for the project.
Since then, as Mayor Leonard Wurzel proudly stated at the gala completion party, "We have now finished the addition of six more tennis courts, nine more golf holes ... giving us a beautiful 18 holes with spectacular plays along the waterfront, a swimming pool---also with spectacular views, a new, modern playground, a refurbished mansion, and now, this restored proshop and a fabulous clubhouse."
The mayor was quick to note that this "jewel" did not happen by itself. "Dedicated volunteers and staff helped in all aspects," he noted.
Many are responsible for the success of the project, the Mayor said. He first thanked Bob Berens, the first chairman of the Residents Club Commission, for working "days, nights and weekends" to take the project off the ground ..."without funds in the club bank account." For the first three years of initial planning and growing stages, Mr. Berens was assisted by his co-chair Robert Bernhard. They were succeeded by Fred Jaroslaw, who along with Sandy Cardiello as deputy and a devoted commission of residents, brought the project to fruition.
Mr. Jaroslaw, along with the mayor, made a special presentation to Dick Bernhard, who chaired the Club Development Committee. It was a plaque that reads: "With gratitude and in appreciation of our resident Richard (Dick) Bernhard for his untiring dedication and success, in achieving, as a volunteer, the renovation and completion of our outstanding recreational facility and this beautifully restored clubhouse." The plaque also lists the members of Mr. Bernhard's committee, who are William Schmergel, Norman Schefer, Marie Jacaruso and Marc Silbert.
Mayor Wurzel also thanked all those who served on the commission since its inception in '94 for "their diligence and wise decision making." They are: Richard Bernhard, Anthony DeNisco, David Deutsch, Michael Elzay, Thomas Flynn, Marie Jacaruso, Lynn Najman, Annette Oestreich, Candy Rossettie, William Sherman, Harold Spielman and Donald Stein. The mayor then thanked the over 100 volunteers who chaired and staffed various specific committees (i.e. pool, golf, youth, etc.).
The mayor added that during the previous six years, the club was administered by two general managers, Carlos Duarte, who is now at a club in Florida, and current manager Edward Ronan, who along with department heads Marian McMenamin, Toney Simmons, Chip Bell, Phil Anderson, Anthony Mays, Liz Jaffe, "Blue", Jay Morales, Karl Obrmayer and Pam Cunningham, contributed to the development of the new enterprise and performed outstanding work everyday to continue the success of the club.
Finally, he thanked the members of the village government, who are responsible for the club's adherence to law and all financial matters, for their excellent job performance. They are: Deputy Mayor Eugene Luntey, and trustees Edward Adler, Daniel Sheyer and Katherine Ullman, Treasurer Warren Starr and Village Clerk Linda Mitchell.
When thanking Village Attorney Kenneth Auerbach of the Farrell, Fritz law firm, Mayor Wurzel mentioned the controversy that haunted the club's development. He said that Mr. Auerbach had been "kept busy" with all of the litigation involved with the property, alluding to the suits filed by two residents, one---now former, and one current. Updating the status of the suits, he said, "Almost all of it has been resolved, but there is still an appeal before the appellate division of the State Supreme Court."
Ending on a positive note, the mayor told the guests to enjoy themselves at the party ... and at the club for many years to come.
(Ed.'s note: Many thanks to Joan Kent for her valuable input. See sidebar Ms. Kent provided outlining the history of the property)