Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 15 June 2012 00:00
After months of talks, the Town of North Hempstead has negotiated an agreement to acquire 7.3 acres of open and recreational space in the Roslyn Country Club neighborhood for $2 million that will be funded through the town’s Environmental Legacy Fund.
The new park, which includes a swimming pool on Country Club grounds, would be open to all town residents, a town spokesman said. Authorization for this purchase will be on the town board calendar on the Tuesday, June 19 meeting, one to be held at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 220 Plandome Rd.
According to the town’s website, the estimated construction costs, including contingency funding, is projected to amount to $7,500,000.
The debt service, including principal and interest payment of a 15-year bond and facility operations is estimated at $1,252,650 per year.
Finally, both the pool fee and tennis fee structures hope to generate $1,255,000 per year to the town’s coffers.
Yearly pool fees are as follows:
• Family: $975 - $1,125
• Couple: $860 - $960
• Individual: $740 - $800
• Senior Couple: $600 - $750
• Senior, including those who are disabled, on Social Security, volunteer firemen, veterans, and ambulance drivers: $510 - $600
• Nanny: $160
The negotiations took place between town officials and Manny Malekan of Corona Realty, current proprietor of the Roslyn Country Club.
Now that negotiations are complete, the town hopes to send notices to residents not only in the Roslyn area, but also throughout the Town of North Hempstead. The town, the town 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.
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.
At past meetings, town residents have stated their support and opposition to the proposed town takeover. The majority of the residents who supported the 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.
Objections from other town residents have been raised on the use of taxpayer funds and whether the town could run the facility at a profit when it was not profitable under private ownership. Concerns have also been raised about the lack of specific revenue and expense projections. Such residents also stressed the need for a town-wide vote on the proposal once all the information is available. Representatives from the East Williston School District have expressed their concern about the potential loss of tax revenue. Town officials have assured them that the district would not be adversely affected.
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.
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.