Great Neck Park District Commissioner Tina Stellato said everyone’s safety remains her and the staff’s main priority ahead of the Dec. 8 election, in which she is running unopposed for re-election.
“My main goal and the main goal of our entire staff is to provide services for residents as safely as we can,” Stellato said in a phone interview with Blank Slate Media. “It’s important for the park district to keep our parks open, something I am proud to say we accomplished this entire year despite the coronavirus pandemic.”
Stellato has worked for the Great Neck Park District for two decades, with the last three as commissioner. This year, she was named chairperson of the park district’s commissioner board, in one of the most challenging years the district has faced in recent memory, she said.
“When many thought we wouldn’t, we opened our pool and tennis courts and provided a multitude of camps safely and successfully,” Stellato said. “This success was due to careful planning, acute attention to guidelines and detail, and an experienced and committed Board of Commissioners.”
Stellato was originally slated to be challenged by Great Neck resident David Levin for a three-year term, but Levin informed Blank Slate Media that he was not running. Officials from the park district said Levin’s name will still appear on the election ballot due to his filing a withdrawal notice after the deadline.
Stellato touted the prominence of athletics in her life and the facilities that the park district has for her family to be exposed to similar recreational activities. Stellato said she was awarded a full tennis scholarship to St. John’s University. It was there, she said, where her involvement with the park district began as well.
“It was during my tenure at St. John’s where I began working for the park district, teaching tennis and scheduling, and have worked for over 17 years,” Stellato said. “Not a weekend goes by where I’m not enjoying our parks with my son Michael and daughter Gabrielle, who are both students at E.M. Baker.”
Stellato said “major park renovations” are among some of the pressing matters that she and the rest of the commissioners will continue to work on during her next three years. Stellato also touted the fact that park district taxes have not increased in her three years as commissioner.
“I look forward to field upgrades at Memorial, improvements at Allenwood, a new boat ramp, and yes, of course, actively pursuing properties for a rec center,” she said. “There have been no tax increases during my term, and in fact, we increased our cost recovery from 2018 to 2019, bringing our park district to the national average.”
Despite ongoing uncertainty due to the pandemic, especially for the Great Neck peninsula, Stellato said she is still optimistic about providing classes for park district residents while adhering to state guidelines.
“I am incredibly proud of the park district we have, the improvements we have made, and am thankful that I have been put in a position where I could be the catalyst for improvement,” she said. “With great pride, I have been accessible to residents, have governed transparently, and can undoubtedly say that I have effected positive change.”
Voting will occur on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 1 to 9 p.m. at three polling places depending on which of the four park district locations residents reside in.
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 that are west of Middle Neck Road. The polling place for District 1 is the Great Neck House at 14 Arrandale Ave.
The 2nd District encompasses an area of the Village of Great Neck 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 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 on 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.