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Push to name facility after Olympian Sarah Hughes

A local businessman is circulating a petition to rename a Great Neck Park District facility after hometown hero and Olympic ice skating champion Sarah Hughes.

Michael Zarin, president of Wellfleet Investments LLC, is behind the move to honor the Kings Point native.

“I think it’s a good thing to do,” said Zarin, adding that he does not know the 2002 Olympic gold-medal winner or her parents.

Zarin planned to present the petition to the district Board of Commissioners at their meeting last Thursday. It asks to rename the Parkwood Sports Complex, which houses district offices, a tennis center and an ice skating rink.

Neither Hughes nor her family could be reached immediately for comment.

Park District Superintendent Leonard Celluro Jr. said he had heard about the campaign and that the district has a naming policy in place to address requests.

The ice rink inside the complex is named after Andrew Stergiopoulos, a 23-year-old Great Neck North High School graduate and football star who died Sept. 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center’s Tower One, where he worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. A foundation in his name awards scholarships at his former high school.

Hughes, 26, began skating at Parkwood.

“Ms. Hughes is a magnificent role model for the children [and adults] of the community,” the petition reads. “She has excelled in sports, in her studies in the Great Neck Public Schools, and in her demeanor.”

When the rink was renamed for Stergiopoulos, Zarin said, he spoke about Hughes at a board meeting and the then-board president said Parkwood would be renamed after her. “That action is now overdue,” the petition ends.

Photo: Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes

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