The Great Neck Park District has taken a page from Rockefeller Center by incorporating an ice rink at the Village Green beginning on Dec. 8 for their “Lights and Ice” kickoff event.
“Our goal was to collectively figure out ways to energize the Village Green during the holiday season,” Park District Superintendent Jason Marra said. “We think that this year is going to accomplish that.”
Last year, the park district lit up the Village Green for the holiday season.
Marra said the public response from illuminating the park was so positive, he and his committee decided to take the next step into rejuvenating winter in Great Neck.
“After the extremely positive responses from the public, we sent out a survey that asked the public what other improvements could be made to create a more interactive environment for residents,” Marra explained. “We got roughly 800 responses from people and around 85% of people said they were in favor of what we are implementing.”
Great Neck’s 2019 holiday season will feature other winter amenities such as heated igloos, fire pits, concession stands, activities with Santa, and more. Marra said that he believes residents will thoroughly enjoy themselves throughout the winter with the “rejuvenated” Village Green but should have Dec. 8 specifically marked down on their calendars.
“All of December will have activities to attract people to the green,” he said. “But we believe our kickoff event that Sunday will give residents many reasons to keep coming back throughout the month.”
According to Marra, the collective price for rentals on the ice rink, fire pits, igloos, concession stands, and other amenities, is estimated from $225-250,000. He also said that these expenses will not burden the taxpayers in any way.
“The estimated funds will be coming out of the park district’s operating budget for 2019,” Marra explained. “There are not going to be any additional costs for residents, nor will there be any funds taken from other areas of the budget.”
The park district’s operating budget, according to Marra, was a collection of unused funds from projects that were attempted to be completed this past year but did not end up being implemented in the parks. Marra also said the district will be collecting revenue for some of the amenities of the park, in hopes of subsidizing costs and planning for future events.
“We haven’t really nailed down any final costs for skating, concessions, and use of other activities,” he explained. “We believe our final costs for the amenities will be at a reasonable fee, and our hope is to subsidize at least 50 percent of what we are spending on the creation of these events.”
Marra said that he and the commissioners have worked tirelessly on making the holiday season more interactive for the public, and even hinted at some surprises that will be put in place for the public.
“I don’t want to give away everything, I think people should want to come to see what we have in store for them,” Marra said. “But I will say that everything that we have done for our kickoff event, and for the entire holiday season, is to have the public come and enjoy our beautiful parks all year-round.”