Village to aid in funding for ‘Lights and Ice’ extension through Feb. 2

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The 'Lights and Ice' event at the Village Green will now run until Feb. 2 after the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees approved a motion to aid in operational funding. (Photo by Karen Rubin)

The Village of Great Neck has agreed to contribute a portion of its park funds to extend the Lights and Ice event at the Village Green until Feb. 2.

The announcement came at the end of Tuesday night’s Board of Trustees meeting. Mayor Pedram Bral was the initial board member to express his support for the extension.

The event was initially scheduled to end this Sunday.

“People who have gone there seem to really enjoy the lights and the ice skating rink,” Bral said. “The potential extension would be until Super Bowl Sunday on February Second, and I think it would be really nice to have the Super Bowl on Ice at the park.”

More than 3,000 residents attended the event’s opening night on Dec. 8, and representatives from the Great Neck Park District said at least 1,500 children have attended since.

The event features winter amenities such as an ice skating rink, heated igloos, fire pits, concession stands and more.

Admission from Monday through Thursday ranges from $7 to $10 for children and $10 to $16 for adults. On the weekend, those prices increase by $3 for each age group.

Bral said he asked village Attorney Peter Bee of Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan LLP to draft a motion to have the village kick in additional funds to aid the Great Neck Park District in the extension of the Lights and Ice event.

The motion that was ultimately agreed upon by the board was to invest up to $25,000 of its park funds, which can only be used for parks within the village and cannot be allocated toward any other municipality work, into the operational costs for the extension period of Jan. 13 to Feb. 3.

Bral made it clear to residents that this investment from the village will not go toward the salary of any park employees, rather for the renting and costs for fueling of the amenities, up to $25,000.

Additionally, residents of the Village of Great Neck would receive a 50 percent discount on all amenities such as ice skating, and igloo and fireplace rental during the extension period.

The motion was approved 4-1, with Trustee Anne Mendelson voting no. 

Mendelson was one of three in the room who did not support the donation and echoed the remarks of one resident from Brompton Lane.

“You want to take a vote, you don’t have any numbers, but you want to spend more money without any data,” the Brompton Lane resident said to the board. “People like lots of things. There are plenty of better things we can use it for.”

Bral informed the resident of the restrictions on the allocation of funds from the village’s park fund, and village Clerk Abraham Cohan said that the current amount of money in the park fund is “a little over seven hundred thousand dollars.”

Other residents began to chime in showing support for the investment to extend the event.

“That Village Green should be a destination, and that is exactly what it’s become,” resident Sam Yellis said. “I think the lights are really special, and I think it’s the first step in making the Village Green a destination.”

Yellis also mentioned the idea of incorporating seasonal events at the Village Green as well as bringing food trucks and other local vendors to the event, similar to ones that came to street fairs in the past.

“This event seemed to invite people to try out ice, and it was fascinating,” resident Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar said. “It opened up the space to people that I never thought I would see here.”

Bral also said that the maximum $25,000 that will be allocated to the park district will not burden the taxpayers.

Trustee Bart Sobel has supported an extension and said, “Offering this discounted price for residents will have them bring in other people from around the area as well.”

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