Monday, September 14, 2009

2.4 Million Dollars For The Fence. . .

. . .Or Is It For Brick Pavers, Decorative Benches, Stylized Trash Receptacles, And Victorian-Style Street Lamps?

Governor Paterson recently handed the Town of Hempstead a check for $2.4 mil, via a State grant, fought for by Senator Dean Skelos and Assemblyman Tom Alfano, intended to revitalize an underutilized commercial strip along Hempstead Turnpike -- that twenty miles of ugly -- in Elmont.

So, what exactly is Town Supervisor Kate Murray's "vision" for Elmont's revitalization, and her intent for spending those millions of taxpayer dollars?

Not the vision of the good people of Elmont, that much we know. More like a return to 1950 Levittown, where the white picket fence was but a metaphor.

And those great, innovative plans for re-energizing Elmont's business district? Surprise, surprise. The old Town of Hempstead streetscape passing for Smart Growth, "brick paved walkways, Victorian street lighting, decorative benches, new trees and plantings, stylized trash receptacles and informative directory kiosks". [Directing us to where or what, we wonder...]

Even the Supervisor's press release regurgitates the same old, same old -- "I am excited about the future of downtown Elmont and we are starting to see the fruits of our labors," said Murray. "Elmont's future is bright, and we will continue to work with Elmont neighbors and business owners to ensure that this great community realizes its fullest potential."

Substitute any other community -- Baldwin, Uniondale, West Hempstead -- for Elmont, and you have the sum and substance of the Murray Plan for bringing Hempstead Town back from the brownfields and into 21st Century suburbia. Brick pavers and Victorian-style street lamps.

Don't get us wrong. Streetscaping is a good start. We could all use an upgrade of our Main Streets and Downtowns. And those Victorian-style street lamps (perhaps harkening back to a time in which the Supervisor still lives), add a quaint touch.

Still, we choke and gag when a smiling Kate Murray declares that she will "continue to work with Elmont neighbors and business owners..."

True, suppressing the will of the people of Elmont could be considered "work," but it hardly qualifies to "ensure that this great community realizes its fullest potential."

The potential is there, Madam Supervisor. If only you would stop standing in the way -- a roadblock at every turn -- of the significant work that needs to be done, not only in Elmont, but throughout the Town of Hempstead!


  1. I think Kate's spent $2.3 million out of the total $2.4 million on holding press conferences. Enough with the press conferences Kate. A few street lamps and bricks are not going to revitalize Elmont. Elmont has much bigger problems than that.

  2. The Town of Babylon is busy installing wi-fi networks in selected locations. Meanwhile in the Town of Hempstead, what do we get? Tacky street lamps.