Why Can't the New York Isles "Build It"?

Dee Karl@@7thWomanSenior Analyst IFebruary 3, 2009

Spotlight on the Lighthouse

It was a crisp clear day Thursday when I ventured to the EAB Plaza. I passed that lovely skating rink that was sadly closed and entered the beautiful Manhattan style office complex that is truly a wonder on this uninteresting stretch of Hempstead Turnpike. It glistens on the outside and it is captivating on the inside.
I needed help finding the elevator and the right floor. I was a tourist and they knew it. But once staring out of the 30 feet of windows in a contemporary conference room, I finally saw it. You can't really see the landscape from the ground. I drive that stretch of Hempstead Turnpike more times than I want to admit to my husband and my Dodge dealer, but I've never seen it until that Thursday.

It is empty. It is bleak. It is vast expanses of nothingness and overgrown, untended land. Oh yes, there are steam stacks from that plant that has been there since my childhood. And for miles on the horizon there is really nothing to see.
Mind you, I am a woman who marvels at the majesty of the Mount Washington Valley with its National treasure mountains rising over crystal lakes. I have been mesmerized at the Twin Cities towering over the Mississippi river and the colorful beauty of San Juan Puerto Rico from an ancient fort. There are landscapes in this country that will take your breath away.
And then there is this large, flat lot of grey nothing with what looks like a squished sugar cookie in the middle of it. This is the site of what could be THE landmark of Nassau County, or even this Island. IF only...IF only...
For nine long years Charles Wang and associates have been working on getting the Lighthouse project started. Not completed, just STARTED. Nine years is a long time to wait for anything. In those nine years much has changed, except this landscape.
Businesses on Long Island are hurting, and our population has actually DECREASED along with our standard of living. Our unemployment rate is higher than it has been in a very long time. We are losing jobs and even though Long Island's unemployment rate (5.8 percent in December) is lower than the national average, it still represents a lot of taxpayers without jobs. Every day a major employer announces more cutbacks, more jobs lost.
So answer me this: then why continue to keep people out of work when a green light for this project would generate jobs immediately? Our new President is looking for economic stimulus. Wouldn't a project of this magnitude be classified as "stimulus"?
What are the drawbacks here? Traffic? I'm sorry, this is an Island that has had traffic for years (There's even a joke in my family. As every State and County line has a "Welcome To" sign, we've always laughed that ours should actually say "Welcome To Long Island, We've got Traffic."). This is nothing new.
The Coliseum already exists and 16,000 people exit and spew out onto our roadways many days or nights during the year (Onto roadways that currently need renovation in most places should nothing else be developed at all!). Actually, patrons LEAVE all at once because there is not much to keep them in the area after the event.

If there were a few more restaurants right there, they would not be leaving en-mass. They would be staying for that night cap or that coffee and cheese cake. They would also be arriving earlier for that pre-event dinner. So, the development would actually CHANGE the traffic pattern which could minimize its impact.
Are you thinking water is the problem? Nope. Luckily Long Island does not have a water shortage and there is plenty for commercial use and a new well for protected potable water would be easy. So that's not it.
Power? It must be a power problem, right? Not quite. If you've been following our local newspapers, our little Island's thirst for energy is being met and then some (and we're already paying for it, although it wouldn't hurt to conserve a little at home).
Garbage and sewage? Being surrounded by water with very few exits out and a thirst for consumable goods, garbage and sewage are an ISLAND WIDE concern and problem (Anyone remember the garbage barge with no where to go years ago?). Again, nothing new, but there are solutions out there and engineers to explain how the solutions work, and they DO work.
It's a money problem then? This doesn't seem right to me as this project isn't looking for public funds to develop the area. And the tax revenue generated for the township and the county would have to be far higher than what they are getting now from this land in its current state of nothingness.

Attention Citizens! This is not about hockey or the Islanders. This is about working and living on Long Island. Why are we being denied this opportunity? I'd like to understand it. Not political rhetoric and finger pointing. Please no more passing the party line buck. I don't care what political party is responsible. Show me and the rest of Long Island the diagram from point "A" to point "Z" and tell me where we are—for real.
February 21 is Town Of Hempstead appreciation night at the Coliseum. Personally, I would like to see representatives from the Town Of Hempstead speak to the fans, the residents and the tax payers.

And I would like to see us, the fans from other counties, the residents of Hempstead township; it's 22 villages and 35 hamlets come together and ask why there is a delay of this project when thousands of jobs that are so desperately needed are right there—waiting.
Can you support the project by attending the game on 2/21/09?
We'll talk more as information becomes available. The spotlight is on. We're waiting for an answer. After nine years I think everyone deserves it.