Incumbent, challenger to face off in Great Neck Park District race

The Island Now

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide if Great Neck Park District Commissioner Frank Cilluffo will be re-elected or if challenger Neil Leiberman will win his first term on the Board of Commissioners.
Cilluffo said voters should vote for him because of his “proven track record” of commitment to improving operations at the park district.
“I will continue to be, as I have been over the past two years, responsive to our district residents in order to meet the needs of our community,” he said. “During my two-year tenure as commissioner we have not raised park district taxes while making numerous improvements.”
“It has been a pleasure serving this community and I will be dedicated to all Great Neck Park District residents for the next three years and beyond,” Cilluffo added.
He is a retired New York City police officer and a police academy graduate with a degree in information technology.
Cilluffo currently coaches in the Great Neck Hockey program and PAL soccer program.
He said he is proud of his achievements during his first term as commissioner, including improvement projects such as the Memorial baseball field and playground renovation, paving of commuter parking lots and the current construction of the district’s new administrative building at 5 Beach Road.
“In addition to our recent capital improvements, I was most enthusiastic about our extended summer at the Parkwood Pool complex,” Cilluffo said. “For the first time, after many years of requests from residents we kept the pool facility open for an additional two weeks after Labor Day at no additional cost to our patrons.”
He serves on the park district’s Parkwood Rink Advisory Committee, as well as on the Board of Safe Sports.
Cilluffo is seeking his second term on the Board of Commissioners after first winning election in December 2014, defeating three opponents to serve out the remaining two years of  Ruth Tamarin’s three-year term.
Leiberman, a former New York City guidance counselor and physical education teacher, said he is making his fourth attempt to be elected to the board because he is passionate about the park district.
“I want to preserve what we have, which is precious and irreplaceable,” he said. “Our parks contribute to our health, well-being, quality of life and spirit of our community.”
Leiberman said for more than two decades he has been actively involved in the park district by attending meetings and serving on various advisory committees, and it is the only elected office he has sought because he is “so committed to keeping our parks and park programs the best they can be and being the strongest representative for constituents to insure fiscal responsibility.”
“The biggest challenge is to maximize what we do with limited tax dollars, constantly finding that crucial balance between user fees and nontax revenues in a way that preserves our most important mission of making available facilities and programs to the community and responding to changing needs of a changing community,” he said.
Leiberman added that another challenge was to expand parking on the peninsula because of the Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access Project, which will bring the LIRR  into Grand Central Station. Park district officials have said the project would increase ridership by 20 percent at the Great Neck train station upon its completion.
If elected, he said he would work to continue improving programs offered to the Great Neck community, which would include more wellness and fitness programs like “sunrise yoga” at Steppingstone Park and tai chi on the Village Green.
Leiberman also said that if elected, he wants to work “more collaboratively” with the school district, Great Neck Library and Gold Coast Arts Center by offering programs like art shows and “giving young performers and creators more opportunities to showcase their work” at park district facilities.
The park district election will take place on Tuesday and polls will be open between 1 and 9 p.m.
The polling sites are Great Neck House,  at 14 Arrandale Ave., Great Neck Social Center,  at 80 Grace Ave., and the Manhasset-Lakeville Firehouse,  at 97 Jayson Ave.
The Great Neck Park District includes all Great Neck villages and unincorporated areas with the exception of Great Neck Estates, Harbor Hills, Lake Success, Saddle Rock and University Gardens.
Neil Leiberman

By Joe Nikic

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