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Interest gauged for proposed Roslyn park

North Hempstead Councilman Thomas Dwyer supports the purchase

North Hempstead Councilman Thomas Dwyer supports the purchase of 7.3 acres of the Roslyn Country Club property for the creation of a park. (August 9, 2011) Credit: James Escher

A Town of North Hempstead public meeting this week on whether to create a special-improvement district to oversee a new park drew a large, mostly supportive crowd.

"We're going to bring a park back to this community," Councilman Thomas Dwyer said to several hundred people in the audience, which cheered and applauded Wednesday night at the Wheatley School.

Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman said the meeting was held in part to gauge community interest.

"I have a sense that there is sufficient support in this community to move this process along," Kaiman said.

Under the plan, the town would purchase 7.3 acres of the Roslyn Country Club property for $2 million. The property would then be turned over to a newly created district encompassing the 668 homes within the Roslyn Country Club area, plus about 57 additional homes on four nearby streets.

Kaiman and Dwyer presented two scenarios for the future park -- a basic plan for an outdoor pool, bathhouse and outdoor tennis courts, and an "all-seasons" plan that includes an indoor tennis facility and fitness center. Each home would pay an estimated $1,000 to $1,500 yearly in taxes, depending on which plan the town chooses, and families within the district would automatically become members of the new park.

The town would sell a limited number of park memberships to town residents outside the district, the proceeds from which would be used to offset the costs of operating the park, Kaiman said.

Several residents spoke during the two-hour meeting, alternating support for the idea with concerns about parking on nearby streets and the effect of the tax increase on lower-income residents within the proposed district boundaries.

The next step is for the town board to schedule a public hearing on creating the district. Kaiman said a decision on which amenities would be at the new park would come later.

Pat Gilmore, a 54-year resident of the Roslyn Country Club development, said she did not like the fact that the town board would decide whether the district is created and the plan goes forward.

"Everybody should have a right to vote on it," Gilmore said.

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