Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"Pave Paradise, Put Up A Parking Lot..."

Beauty Is In The Eyes Of... The Town?

Okay. So a municipal parking field is a heck of a lot better than an eyesore no-tell motel. Still, when was the last time you heard anyone refer to a parking lot as, "beautiful?"

The Town of Hempstead, which rightfully condemned and demolished the Oceanside Motel, found a "higher use" for the property in the form of more parking -- this in a part of Oceanside that lacks much in the way of anything anybody would need to park for.

Truly, a parking lot -- replete with Victorian style lampposts, brick pavers, etc., etc. -- is nice, but does it make Oceanside, as the Town proudly proclaims, "a better place to live?"

Surely, such a valuable parcel, situated along a busy commercial thoroghfare, could have been put to an even "higher," if not much more aesthetically pleasing and commercially inducive use. And perhaps it would have been, had not political expediency and the urge to place "stylized benches" and "distinctive fencing" not trumped practical considerations, such as creating a vialble business environment in this part of the Oceanside community as may warrant the plentiful parking as is now afforded.

On the other hand, if the Town of Hempstead subscribes to the "Build it and they will come" philosophy, could be that, in Oceanside at least, prosperity is just around the corner -- at the former Foodtown that burned to the ground, or, perhaps, at the now defunct (and always funky) Oceanside Twin movie theatre.

Anyway, with nearly half a million dollars in taxpayer money going toward the "improvements" now officially known as parking lot O-14 (at least it wasn't a bridge to nowhere), we can only hope. . .

The following press release was issued by the Town of Hempstead on July 25, 2006:

From Blight to Beautiful:Hempstead Town Completes New Oceanside Parking Lot

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Senior Councilman Anthony Santino are proud to announce the completion of parking lot O-14 on the site of the former Oceanside Motel.

"The town moved aggressively to shut down the Oceanside Motel, and it's very gratifying to be able to open this parking lot in its place," said Murray. "Councilman Santino and I worked hand-in-hand with neighbors to make Oceanside an even better place to live, and this parking field is a useful and attractive community addition for residents and local businesses."

Murray and Santino spearheaded condemnation action against the motel and demolished it in October 2005. The building was the location of frequent police activity, including drug related arrests. In April of 2004, the officials directed the town attorney's office to move forward with a plan to seize the property under eminent domain law and convert the site to a public benefit use. In May of 2005 the court signed an order clearing the last major hurdle in the condemnation process.

The public use that the town found to be most needed was a new parking area. The lot, which was completed this summer, includes a decorative "Welcome to Oceanside" sign, brick-paved walkways, Victorian lampposts, attractive plantings, stylized benches, distinctive fencing and accent lighting. The construction of parking lot O-14 was done by Stasi Brothers Asphalt and the improvements cost $440,000.

"We worked forcefully to beautify streets and storefronts along Long Beach Road," stated Santino. "This new parking area is attractive, useful and continues the town's efforts to make Oceanside's downtown even more inviting and vibrant."Murray concluded, "We have come a long way in Oceanside in the last few years and the future looks bright for this community."
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Reports out of Oceanside forsee redevelopment of the former Foodtown site as a health food supermarket. [SEE Oceanside Herald, Oceanside Gone 'Wild'.] Geez. Now the Town will have to build ANOTHER parking lot!

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