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Vote Tuesday on buying Roslyn Country Club

A proposal that the Town of North Hempstead purchase a shuttered country club in Roslyn Heights and turn it into a town park with a steep annual fee has some town residents steamed.

The town board is scheduled to vote on an agreement to buy 7.385 acres of the Roslyn Country Club for $2 million from owner Manouchehr "Manny" Malekan and authorize the issuance of $7.5 million in bonds for improvements to the pool, tennis courts and other parts of the property.

The town would sell family memberships to the club for between $975 and $1,125 per year. An annual family membership at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park, by comparison, is $522. The town has said memberships and other fees would offset the debt service on the bonds.

Malekan would continue to own the site's functioning catering facility.

Edward Scott, president of the Albertson Square Civic Association, said it doesn't make sense to purchase a new town park that only a portion of residents could afford to use.

"It's all this unnecessary borrowing for something a great majority of the people don't want," he said. "There are a lot of people who are concerned."

Jim McHugh, president of the New Hyde Park Civic Association, which covers 900 homes, said he didn't believe the town would be able to sell the 1,000 memberships it is projecting, and predicted the park would become a financial burden on taxpayers.

"The only people who want it are the Roslyn Country Club Civic Association and the Roslyn Country Club people," McHugh said. "We know we're going to be subsidizing this."

Homeowners in the 668-home Roslyn Country Club development, which was built around the club, hold exclusive rights to access to the club in their deeds -- rights the town would seek to extinguish if the proposal goes through. Those rights are the subject of numerous lawsuits individual owners brought against Malekan after he shut down the club several years ago. Many of the homeowners support the town's proposal.

Todd Zarin, president of the Roslyn Country Club Civic Association, said the new park would benefit all residents by enhancing the appeal of the town, even if not every resident decides to use it.

"I don't have a boat at the town dock, yet if it fails, there's some cost to me," Zarin said. "Nobody's articulated to me why this is different from any other club."

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