Five candidates running for lone commissioner seat on Great Neck Park District board

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Five candidates running for lone commissioner seat on Great Neck Park District board
Candidates for the Great Neck Park District election spoke on the issues during a virtual forum last week. (Screenshot by Robert Pelaez)

Gary Aquilon, Dorothy Feng, Victoria Goodman, Grace McGirr and Vanessa Tamari are the five candidates running for Great Neck Park District commissioner.

Current Commissioner Robert Lincoln announced in September he would not run for re-election this year. The candidates touted their various professional and community backgrounds during a virtual forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset last week.

Aquilon, a park district employee for two decades with professional tax preparer and budgetary experience, said he will strive to be a “people’s commissioner” who brings transparency to residents on what is happening in the parks. His work in the financial sector, he said, will be invaluable to the district.

Aquilon said he is a frequent patron at the district’s pools, a constant attendee at the concerts and helps maintain the dog parks.

Feng, the co-president of the Parkville PTO and the Great Neck Chinese Association, touted her abilities as a “good listener” and “hands-on learner” that she believes will serve the community well, if elected.

Feng said the main roles of a park district commissioner include being involved with financial decisions and listening to residential input. She and her two children are frequent patrons of the district’s playgrounds, Parkwood pool,and ice-skating rinks.

Goodman, a Great Neck resident for 23 years who has experience working in the fashion industry, graduated from Queens College with a major in political science. A self-described “avid tennis player,” Goodman said she has used the Parkwood facilities to serve as co-captain of Long Island Women’s Interclub Tennis League.

Goodman said her goals include helping create “safe spaces for social interaction and private reflection,” improving maintenance and beautification of the parks, sharpening the budget and reducing costs while providing necessary programs to residents.

McGirr, whose professional background in the hotel group sales industry and as an associate at Goldman Sachs spans more than 20 years, said her experience working and participating in the programs throughout the park district led her to run.

McGirr, whose husband, Will, serves as senior supervisor for the park district, said there would be no conflict of interest, if she were elected. 

Tamari, a park district resident for more than 25 years, has been a volunteer throughout the community, serving as co-president of the Great Neck North Middle School PTO from 2019 to 2021 and as a parent representative on the school district’s Shared Decision Making Committee. She, her husband and two sons, she said, are also active members of the park district.

A lawyer with more than a decade of experience practicing insurance defense, she said her legal background will serve the residents of the park district in an effective manner.

Tamari said she has also managed a real estate investment portfolio with properties on the east and west coasts. She touted her ability to maintain budgetary and financial records that would also be an asset to the district, if elected.

Whoever is elected to the three-year term will join Commissioners Tina Stellato and Frank Cilluffo on the board.

The election for parks commissioner will take place with other special district elections on Dec. 14 from 1 to 9 p.m.

The district is divided into four sectors for polling purposes.

The 1st District encompasses the Village of Kings Point, Saddle Rock Estates and areas of the Village of Great Neck that are east of Middle Neck Road and north of Hicks Lane and west of Middle Neck Road. The polling place for District 1 is the Great Neck House at 14 Arrendale Ave.

The 2nd District encompasses the area of the Village of Great Neck that is east of Middle Neck Road and unincorporated areas of the Town of North Hempstead that are south of the Village of Great Neck and north of the Village of Kensington.  The polling place for District 2 is also the Great Neck House.

The 3rd District encompasses the villages of Great Neck Plaza, Thomaston, and Kensington.  The polling place is the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department Company No. 3 Firehouse at 25 Prospect St.

The 4th District encompasses the Village of Russell Gardens and other unincorporated areas within the town.  These areas are the Great Neck Terrace Apartments, Lakeville, Upland, Lake Success Hills and Manor sections of Great Neck, and all other areas bounded by Great Neck Road on the north and west, Northern Boulevard on the south, and Middle Neck Road on the east. The polling place for District 4 is the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire District’s Company No. 4 Firehouse at 97 Jayson Ave.

Residents who are 18 years of age or older and have resided in the Great Neck Park District for at least 30 days prior to the election and are registered with the Nassau County Board of Elections are eligible to vote.

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