At the northern most tip of the Port Washington peninsula sits the bucolic village of Sands Point. Once home to industrial and financial titans living on large estates, today the village is comprised of one, two and five acre building lots, golf courses and landmark architecture that remind residents and visitors of its storied past.
A mayor and board of trustees govern the village, which was incorporated in 1910 and is surrounded by water on three sides.
Mayor Edward A.K. Adler, who is serving his second term as mayor and intends to stand for re-election, sat down with Port News to talk about his life in public service, the changes in the village since he first arrived and his vision for the future of the village. Adler’s civic pride is evident and is representative of the strong thread that runs through village life in Sands Point.
Adler and his young wife Karen came to Sands Point in 1976. Adler had grown up in nearby Great Neck and so was familiar with the North Shore. Drawn to the village by its beauty and the great commute to Manhattan, where both he and his wife worked at the time, they settled in to the community and have remained in their original home, raising two children along the way.
Adler came to public service almost as an accident of time and place. Since he was an early adopter of the computer in the late 1970’s, a neighbor asked if he might use his computer skills to create a database of village residents so that the Sands Point Civic Association and village officials would have the ability to create mailing labels. Adler completed the assignment, joined the civic association and has never looked back.
He eventually served as president of the civic association and was appointed to the board of trustees when a seat became open. He was then elected to the board and served for 24 years. After the retirement of long time village mayor Leonard Wurzel, Adler was elected mayor in 2011 and is currently serving his second two year term.
When asked to reflect on more than 40 years in the village, Adler said, “Sands Point has a unique character. Bounded by coastline on three sides, residents are never more than a few blocks from the water. Although we are certainly more densely populated than 50 years ago, current five acre zoning limits will protect the village from overpopulation.”
On the other hand, continued Adler, “We have some unique challenges as a village. We have our own police force with approximately 20 employees. This means we have contractual obligations with the PBA and New York State mandated public employee retirement benefit requirements that are to some degree out of our direct control.”
“We have 21 miles of roads that require constant maintenance,” Adler continued. In the past, we were committed to a 20-year cycle during which most roads were replaced according to a schedule. But we are noticing that with increased population density, increased building and severe weather, roads are not lasting as long and more frequent repaving is necessary.”
Adler pointed out that the village budget has consistently come in below the state mandated 2% tax cap. This year, the village paid off the bond which provided the funding to purchase the Village Club in 1984, providing additional cash for the village. But Adler cautioned that this won’t always be the case.
The board is committed to maintaining the unique character of the village. “We are service oriented and quality of life for our residents is first and foremost. We are responsive to our residents. This level of service takes money.”
When asked to reflect on the changing nature of life in the village during the last 50 years, Adler said the Village Club has become a meeting place for residents and the site of many social functions. We also have an influx of young families drawn to the community by good schools, a good commute and the impressive natural beauty and privacy of the village.
Some tasks that the Civic Association once performed, such as newsletters and social functions have been shifted because of modern communication and the existence of the Village Club.
“However, many things remain the same and we value these things. We still have an active civic association. It maintains plantings, is responsible for the recycling shed and helps to acclimate new residents.”
The village, according to Adler, is still dependent upon volunteers to help it run efficiently. “We have approximately 76 volunteers working in all aspects of village life. These volunteers have always been and will continue to be a significant part of life in Sands Point,” he said.
Adler is a lawyer and works in a family real estate business. He is also a board member of the Port Washington Library Foundation.