Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Remember The Nassau Hub?

Town Of Hempstead: Where Visionary Plans Have Gone To Die!

If it seems like eons ago when the Nassau County Legislature handed off the revitalization plans for the Nassau Hub -- the area encompassing the Coliseum -- to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Hempstead, well, not quite.

In reality, the so-called Lighthouse project has only been floundering about the catacombs of Hempstead Town Hall since last November, and, just days ago, on April 8th, the Town Board voted unanimously to begin the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, issuing a positive declaration, and taking the first step in what is often a long and tortured road toward redevelopment.

Even assuming that everything goes smoothly before both Town Board and Zoning Board, at best, it is unlikely that ground could be broken at the Nassau Hub before July, of 2009, more than a year from now (and, perhaps not coincidentally, at a time when Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray, hopes to be campaigning for Nassau County Executive -- perhaps one of the few things the Nassau Hub plan has in its favor in the hope of moving the project along at more than a snail's pace).

The Town of Hempstead, through outside consultants and on its own initiative, will now begin to "study" the impact of the Nassau Hub plan. [And we know how much the Town "enjoys" the studious life, its myriad "Blight Studies" as cases histories in how to avoid the inevitable by studying the issue to death, adopting the study's findings, and then neatly shelving all plans, perhaps for further study at some undetermined, later date -- as in "never."]

Yes, we need to know the impact of a project the magnitude of the Lighthouse will have upon the likes of water, sewage, and, of course, traffic, but there has to be a way to streamline the process, so that the studies, to be followed by public hearings, to be followed by who-knows-what, do not drag out the Lighthouse project into the next decade, or beyond.

"We have seen the foot-dragging by the Town, on revitalization projects of a much smaller scale," said one Elmont civic leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity (so you know it wasn't Pat Nicolosi -- LOL). "Plans labor on the drawing board for a generation or more, artist renderings abound, and, but for the talk, few of the projects actually come to fruition."

Indeed. Elmont had its Blight Study -- as did neighboring West Hempstead -- and other than lofty plans, dozens of hearings at Town Hall, and promises of a bright future filled with renewal and Victorian-style street lamps, what have they got to show for it?


And so, with a project such as the Nassau Hub, perhaps of as great a moment for America's first suburb since the groundbreaking of Levittown, there needs to be the resolve -- a cautious resolve, but a resolve, nonetheless -- to move forward with all deliberate speed.

Toward that end, a group of concerned citizens known as the Long Island Lighthouse Political & Economic Alliance, is asking residents to sign an i-Petition urging the Town of Hempstead Supervisor to move the project along in its entirety (no piecemeal dissection need be applied here), in favor of (among other benefits), job growth, and increased tax base, a new home for our beloved (*&^%$@!) Islanders, and housing (at long last) for Generation Next.

We need to expedite the Lighthouse project, and not permit what too often becomes the habitual stall at Hempstead Town Hall, where even the best laid plans of community lay in repose and, ultimately, whither on the vine.

Redevelopment of the Nassau Hub -- on the global scale as envisioned by the Lighthouse plan -- is good for Long Island. After all, we are all Islanders -- even Kate Murray -- and to be sure, every island needs a lighthouse! :-)
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Click HERE to sign the i-Petition

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