Plan: Roslyn Country Club to be own district

The Town of North Hempstead has just finalized The Town of North Hempstead has just finalized a deal to buy the former Roslyn Country Club from its private owner and will turn it into a town park with completely renovated swimming and tennis facilities. (June 7, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Danielle Finkelstein

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North Hempstead town officials unveiled a new plan Thursday for the future of the Roslyn Country Club, proposing the town purchase most of the property, then turn it over to a new special park district to pay for the improvements, while the town would maintain the park.

Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilman Thomas Dwyer presented the idea to about 40 people at an informal, private meeting at the Roslyn Heights club on Thursday night.

The town would, as before, purchase 7.385 acres of the Roslyn Country Club property from owner Manouchehr "Manny" Malekan using $2 million from the town's Environmental Legacy Fund, then create a special park district encompassing the 668 homes in the Roslyn Country Club development. The district would issue bonds to pay for improving the pool, tennis court and grounds, taxing only homeowners in the district to pay for the debt service.

The town would then step in and maintain it as a town park, with free memberships for those 668 homeowners. A limited number of paid memberships would be available to town residents, with proceeds paying the bulk of the park's operating costs, Kaiman said. He could not estimate the cost of the memberships.

As before, the catering facility on the property -- the rest of the club closed in 2007 -- would not be part of the deal, remaining under Malekan's ownership.

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The town would go to court to modify the easements property owners hold giving them exclusive rights to the club, carving out the catering-hall land but maintaining their rights to the rest of the property, Kaiman said.

"That will resolve a lot of our issues," Kaiman told the gathering, mostly Roslyn Country Club homeowners. He added later: "If this is the way to go, this ends a lot of the other aggravation and vitriol going on in the rest of the town, because they're no longer obligated and that relieves them of this burden as well."

The plan received a positive reception from most property owners in attendance. "I think it's an excellent plan," said Burton Roslyn, a board member of the Roslyn Country Club Civic Association. "I think this plan will be very successful."

Previously, the town planned to purchase the property, then issue $7.5 million in bonds to improve the park before selling annual memberships to town residents at about $1,000 per family. Four civic associations collected more than 4,000 signatures on a petition to demand the bonding be subject to a public referendum. That petition has been challenged in court by a Roslyn Country Club homeowner.

Ed Scott, president of the Albertson Square Civic Association and one of the leaders behind the petition, said he liked what he heard about the new plan.

"It's what I've always said -- the Roslyn Country Club should be its own special district," Scott said, adding he was still waiting for details. "I'm happy about the direction it's going."

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