Russell Gardens talks tennis, safety and elections

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Residents and trustees discussed tennis, safety and Mayor Steven Kirschner's pending retirement from village government. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Residents and trustees discussed tennis, safety and Mayor Steven Kirschner's pending retirement from village government. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Russell Gardens Mayor Steven Kirschner said he will likely resign in January before his term expires in March at a board meeting on Thursday night, setting the stage for Deputy Mayor David Miller to be acting mayor and likely run for mayor.

Kirschner said he made the decision because he’s moving.

“After 40 years, we’re leaving the village… It’s going to be quite strange,” Kirschner said.

This means Kirschner will be unlikely to see the completion of the village’s tennis courts, as trustees officially approved a $134,681 contract with Century Tennis to redo the courts with a start date of April 1, 2019, deviating from previous statements that work would hopefully start “around Labor Day” this year.

Kirschner said this was due to unexpected delays with preparation and submission of bid documents. While the work could’ve technically been done, Kirschner said, the stakeholders agreed starting this late could put the project at risk due to “erratic” weather.

“Government being as fast as it is, things got delayed,” Kirschner said.

Kirschner said the renovations would involve completely redoing the courts with clay, making one of them usable for pickle ball, and hopefully spurring greater use by residents in the long term.

In unrelated business, village residents also filled Village Hall to express concern over a string of burglaries and burglary attempts.

Jeff Shi, one of those residents, raised the idea of forming a neighborhood watch and asked about potentially getting signs to try deterring crime. Others also asked about the possibility of installing cameras at the village’s main entrances or even a gate.

Kirschner, noting that there were about four burglaries and one attempt in the last nine months, said he wouldn’t “have a problem” with getting signs installed if a watch group is formed. But only eight cameras, he said, would likely cost more than $50,000 just to get – in a village with a budget barely over $1 million.

Trustees recommended residents keeping their alarms and lights on, as well as notifying neighbors if they will be going away. They also said there will likely be an unmarked Nassau County Police Department car patrolling more frequently to try stopping what they suspect to be a single offender.

“They’re looking to catch him,” Kirschner said.

Village officials said they will try to get the commanding officer of the 3rd Police Precinct into Russell Gardens to speak with residents and give advice.

 

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