Great Neck Park District History
Great Neck Park District, as we know it
today, evolved over a long period of time.
The actual concept of a designated park
district in our area dates back more than
1916, the State of New York enacted legislation
permitting towns to establish park districts
as special districts within their borders.
Five months later, Roswell Eldridge of
Great Neck filed a petition before the
Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead
to establish a Great Neck Park District.
The petition was approved and the first
meeting of the new Park District's Board
of Commissioners was held on August 31,
GNPD set out to acquire land for parks.
As its first transaction, it purchased
property on Long Island Sound for $40,000
and this Public Bathing Beach became the
first park in the District. It was located
at the foot of Steamboat Road.
the early 1920s, land was acquired for
Memorial Field (also known as the Athletic
Field) and the Village Green. Later on
in the 20s, the Village Green was expanded
with 31/2 acres bought from the Great
Neck School District and an additional
10 acres were acquired to create Allenwood
Village of Kings Point, in 1938, proposed
that the Park District lease Kings Point
Park from them - with the condition that
the Park District develop and improve
the land. Today, Kings Point Park is a
year-round, 175-acre recreational facility
that provides residents with tennis, baseball,
soccer, picnics, barbecues, nature trails,
sledding and cross-country skiing.
1941, Cutter Mill, Grace Avenue and Wyngate
Parks were added to the District. These
easily-accessible neighborhood parks provided
resting places for adults and playground
equipment for active youngsters.
1942, the U.S. Government purchased the
old Public Bathing Beach site from the
GNPD to construct the U.S. Merchant Marine
Academy. The Park District offset that
sale to the government by buying property
from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., to build
the present Steppingstone Park and Marina.
1961, the District petitioned the Town
of North Hempstead to expand its limits
to include the Lakeville, Upland and Westmoreland
areas; and in the same year, the Village
of Thomaston was added to the District's
Parkwood Sports Complex opened in 1964
with an Olympic-size outdoor swimming
pool and ice-skating rink that served
a membership of more than 2,000 local
families. The skating rink was enclosed
to make it an all-weather rink in 1970.
Parkwood has won a number of gold medals
for excellence in recreational development.
The Parkwood Indoor Tennis Center is also
included in the Complex today.
1991, the Park District acquired the four-acre
Peninsula Club in Thomaston to protect
the last available green space on the
peninsula-and in 2001, the Park District
acquired a waterfront parcel, formerly
part of the George M. Cohan property.
Great Neck Park District includes twenty-one
parks and three commuter parking lots.
The operation of the parks is guided by
a Park Board - composed of three Commissioners
- one of whom is up for re-election every
Superintendent of Parks and a staff of
supervisors and attendants are on duty
year round to provide recreational programming
and park maintenance. To date, the Great
Neck Park District includes the Great
Neck area north of the Long Island Expressway,
with the exception of Great Neck Estates,
Saddle Rock, Harbor Hills, University
Gardens and Lake Success.