As Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano warns of further layoffs and budget cuts, his administration is seeking proposals for a private developer to build two indoor skating rinks in Eisenhower Park.
A Mangano aide said the plan is for the private developer to shoulder all costs, with the county getting a piece of the profits.
"The county would spend no money on this project, but enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with the operators to generate additional revenue to help the county hold the line on property taxes," said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin.
But some questioned the timing of the request.
"It's a nice idea in good times," said Jerry Laricchiuta, president of the county's Civil Service Employees Association. "Why are we discussing ice rinks when we can't pay our bills and are laying people off?"
To fill a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, Mangano plans to cut $4 million in youth group funding this week. Also, county department heads had until last Friday to turn in layoff lists enabling them to cut 3.5 percent from their current budgets.
The ice rink proposals are due Monday.
On June 13, the county issued a request for proposals from "qualified developers for the development of a public twin indoor ice rink skating facility within the limits of Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
"The county envisions a state-of-the-art facility that will host youth recreation, amateur sports and public events," it said. "Proposers will include methods to enhance the public's recreational experience by seamlessly integrating the facility into the park." Few other details were offered in a summary posted on the county website.
Nevin said the county initiated the request after being contacted by "two private developers with interest in building such a facility." He declined to identify them.
The county currently operates an indoor ice skating rink at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.
Gary Lewi, a spokesman for the Association for a Better Long Island, a developers' group, said he expected individual members to look seriously at the proposal.
"County public-private initiatives that protect the county's quality of life while avoiding any additional tax burden should be applauded and supported," Lewi said.
However, the association's executive director, Desmond Ryan, who has been a past Mangano critic, questioned the timing. "When you take into consideration the financial condition of the county, in the words of the captain of the Titanic: 'No reason to panic, folks, we just stopped for ice,' " he quipped.