The North Hempstead Town Board on Tuesday night pushed through $17 million in bonds for 18 lingering capital projects, officials said, to take advantage of expiring grants and get a jump on summer construction.
The board also approved $6.5 million in bonds for the Great Neck Park District.
The bonding for the town projects, said Supervisor Judi Bosworth, supports a capital plan she and her finance team finalized Friday. The town needed to take advantage of a June bond offering, so the projects could start this summer.
"That's why it came so suddenly," Bosworth said Wednesday. "If we hadn't done it now, we would have missed the summer."
Officials said a work session is planned within the next month to discuss the town's capital projects, which include road repaving, and the expansion of the Hempstead Harbor Trail. Some of the costs will be offset through reimbursement of $6.3 million in federal, state, and the Nassau County grants, town spokesman Ryan Mulholland said.
Some grants were expiring, and officials were worried extensions would not be granted.
Bonding approved Tuesday will allow the town to borrow up to $17 million, but the particulars of the capital plan and the costs could be adjusted at the work session, officials said.
"Now each project needs to be vetted, so we decide what we're comfortable with," Bosworth said Wednesday. "I'm hoping to be able to go forward with everything."
The separate Great Neck bonding drew heated debate among residents during the nearly three-hour hearing. A plan to construct a turf playing field at Memorial Field led longtime residents to question the expense, while others said the field was vital to attracting young families to the area.
The park district consists of 21 facilities serving about 35,000 members, much of the Great Neck Peninsula, said Dan Nachmanoff, district chairman.
The bonding will also fund replacement of the roof at the century-old Great Neck House, standby generators at Great Neck House and the Parkwood Sports Complex, construction of new administration offices, repaving of commuter parking lots, and the replacement of a playground at Jonathan L. Ielpi Firefighters' Park.to here
Longtime Great Neck resident Jean Pierce questioned the cost of several items, such as plans for replacing a roof at the Great Neck House. "We need to scale back the $6.5 million and only request money for the essentials of the repairs and the improvements," she said.
Parents hailed the synthetic turf as key for youth athletics. "It's long overdue," said Michael Ohebshalom, who also coaches area youth baseball. "Our kids should have the best things available to them."
Harry Wolf, another longtime Great Neck resident, said he did not think the town needed to purchase generators at an ice rink and at Great Neck House.
"This is a park district, there's nothing vital going on, if the park closes for a week, it's not a tragedy," Wolf said.
Nachmanoff said the house became a community hub during superstorm Sandy and a generator would prove valuable for residents across the Great Neck peninsula.
"We have to embrace technology in order to achieve our mission," he said in an interview Wednesday.
$6.5 million for the Great Neck park district:
New synthetic turf for portion of Memorial Field
New roof for Great Neck House
Ice chiller for Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink
New playground for Jonathan L. Ielpi Firefighters' Park
$17 million for North Hempstead projects
Restoration of Roslyn Pond Park
Pool renovation at Whitney Pond Park
Expansion of the Hempstead Harbor Trail
Source: Town and Park District officials