Floral Park residents fight pool memberships for NHP neighbors

Noah Manskar
The Floral Park pool complex was renovated in 2015. (Photo from fpvillage.org)

Floral Park residents are unhappy that they’ll have to share their village swimming pool with some people from New Hyde Park this summer.

Village officials agreed to let residents of the Clinton G. Martin Park District buy up to 40 Floral Park pool memberships while their pool undergoes a $23 million renovation over the next year. The village also decided to open memberships to local business owners.

But a petition asking the Board of Trustees to rescind those offers had gathered 797 signatures in just five days as of Tuesday night.

Nadia Holubnyczyj-Ortiz, who started the petition, said residents are upset not just that their recently renovated pool will lose its exclusivity and possibly become more crowded, but also that the board made the decision without consulting them.

“[I]t’s our tax dollars that are paying for this pool, and they unilaterally made a decision … to open it up,” said Holubnyczyj-Ortiz, who is president of the Hillcrest Civic Association.

She plans to present the petition at the board’s June 6 meeting.

The Floral Park pool is one of eight that residents of the Clinton G. Martin Park District can use this summer while the Town of North Hempstead renovates theirs.

Floral Park officials decided “several weeks ago” to offer 40 memberships to park district residents upon the town’s request, village Mayor Dominick Longobardi said in a statement.

Their passes would only be good for one year and would not provide access to other parts of the adjacent recreation center, Longobardi said.

An advisory pool committee had no objections to the plan and also suggested opening nonresident memberships to people who own businesses within the village limits, village Administrator Gerry Bambrick said.

“This decision to allow a limited number of families into our pool from New Hyde Park, while theirs is being completed, was made taking all the above into account as well as that of the good nature and neighbors helping neighbors mantra that is the hallmark of Floral Park,” Longobardi said in the statement.

Officials determined 40 extra members, a 3 percent increase over the number of total memberships in 2016, would not overwhelm the pool, which underwent a $6.7 million renovation in 2015, Bambrick said.

The pool lost some 47 members between 2015 and 2016, so additional memberships minimize the impact on taxpayers as the village continues to pay back money it borrowed to fund the renovation, Bambrick said.

But residents say admitting outsiders would exacerbate an overcrowding problem and make them feel less secure, Holubnyczyj-Ortiz said.

It also detracts from the pool’s exclusivity, which bolsters property values and attracts new families, she said.

“We feel safe leaving our kids. And now having others that we’re not familiar with, it kind of loosens up that safety net,” Holubnyczyj-Ortiz said.

Residents also think there are other ways to increase revenue, such as offering day passes or more options for seniors, she said.

While they may have consulted the committee, village officials still sought no input from the community at large and did not tell the public about it until last week’s Board of Trustees meeting, she said.

Floral Park residents pay $524 for a family pool membership. The $695 fee for a nonresident family is the most expensive alternative for Clinton G. Martin Park users.

Other options include a pass to four North Hempstead pools for $248; the Town of Hempstead’s Echo Park Pool for $250; the Village of Williston Park pool for $435; and Nassau County’s Christopher Morley Park for $250.

“The members of the CGM [Clinton G. Martin] pool needed alternatives for this 2017 summer season and we worked on getting as many as possible,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in a statement.

Bill Cutrone, president of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association in North New Hyde Park, said he thinks it’s “not very kind” of Floral Park residents to oppose offering the extra memberships, considering the Clinton G. Martin pool will only be closed one year.

But he understands where they’re coming from, he said.

“If it were in reverse, I think that the people in Clinton G. Martin would be upset that their pool was going to be overtaken with a lot of outsiders,” Cutrone said.

About the author

Noah Manskar

Noah Manskar is the assistant managing editor for Blank Slate Media and a reporter covering the Willistons, New Hyde Park and Nassau County government.
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