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Key Manorhaven race issue is waterfront development

A full roster of candidates is vying for two trustee seats and an open position for mayor in a heavily contested election in the village of Manorhaven, where waterfront development and infrastructure improvements are key issues.

In the mayoral race, trustee James M. Avena, on the Manorhaven Residents Party line, is running against former Mayor Gary Pagano, on the Above Board Party line.

Four candidates, including one incumbent trustee, are competing for two trustee seats. Barbara Ruemenapp, of the Above Board Party, Kenneth R. Kraft, of the Proactive Party, and Roy Smitheimer and incumbent Priscilla von Roeschlaub, both of the Manorhaven Residents Party, are running for trustee.

The village board consists of four trustees and the mayor, all of whom serve two-year terms.

Pagano, 66, a former three-term mayor from 1992 to 1998, said he wants to bring order to “dysfunctional” governance and safeguard the area’s waterfront heritage.

“I understand the dynamics of the community well enough to be able to put together some sort of unity government that would be able to go forward, instead of just butting heads,” said Pagano, a longtime village resident and entrepreneur.

Avena, 72, is running for mayor, though he has a year remaining as a trustee. If elected, he said he would scrap winter parking rules and instead implement an alert system requiring alternate side parking only during snow emergencies.

“We need to come up with a plan for what we want to do on the waterfront now and forever,” said Avena, a former president of Manhattan-based financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

In the trustee race, Ruemenapp, 74, a founding member the Manorhaven Action Committee, a village civic group, said she is seeking election as Pagano’s running mate to improve village management.

“The village at this point is at a tipping point,” said Ruemenapp, a former planning board member. “There are no controls at the moment.”

Smitheimer, 62, said the village hasn’t been run “professionally in a good way, for a long time.” He said he would focus on snow removal, road repairs, boost code enforcement and review the local waterfront revitalization plan.

Incumbent trustee von Roeschlaub, 79, is on the same party line as Smitheimer and Avena. If re-elected, she said she would work on infrastructure such as road repaving and seek a consensus on waterfront development.

Kraft, 70, is a former Nassau County police officer who supports the waterfront moratorium. He said he wants to strengthen code enforcement and address parking issues with a sticker permit program.

Voting will be June 21, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 33 Manorhaven Blvd.

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