A Long Island town council has passed a controversial plan to renovate a pool and tennis courts on a seven-acre parcel of land after listening to hours of testimony from both sides.
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman wants to buy the land near Roslyn Country Club for $2 million, then spend $7 million to update its pool and tennis courts. Membership would be open to all town residents, but it will cost a family up to $1,000 a year to join.
"When you're putting a $1,000 fee, is that really open to everybody?" asked Ed Scott of Albertson. "I know I can't afford that. In my area, a lot of people can't afford that."
For some families, the cost is worth it because there are no public pools near their homes.
"It's certainly going to increase the quality of life of people throughout the town," said Jared Shapiro.
Kaiman said the plan preserves open space in North Hempstead.
"We're building a new facility, it improves the quality of life for the larger community," he said. "People have the option of joining. The benefits outweigh the minimal risk."
He doesn't expect to raise taxes to pay for the project, but skeptics wonder if that will be the case if the club doesn't generate enough revenue.
Katherine Manzella of the East Williston Civic Association brought a petition with 300 signatures of people opposed to building the pool.
"You're voting tonight, and yet the people who are against this plan are being given very sketchy information," she told the council. "We've had no private meetings."
After hours of testimony, the town council voted 5-2 to approve the plan. They are still months away from starting any kind of construction.
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