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The Elmont community has been patiently waiting

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The Elmont community has been patiently waiting. Year after year we wonder what, if anything, will come of the requests for proposals for the redevelopment of the south parking lot of Belmont Racetrack. With no other large area of land available to build anything of any significance, this area has become the one that, depending on what goes there, can make or break our town.
 
The proposals have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. On one end, we have the plan put forth by the Engle Burman Group. They clearly listened to the community and developed a plan that includes a full size supermarket (which presently does not exist in Elmont), three restaurants, a bank, a large box store, a business Costco, an athletic field, a playground for children and a community center with the entire area patrolled by on-site security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their commitment to incorporating green technology and making sure there will be no negative impact on our water and sewer systems, along with addressing the potential impact on traffic within a ten-mile radius further reinforces their commitment to not only giving the town what it so desperately needs but doing so in a way that enhances our community both practically and aesthetically. Recognizing that residential homes line the perimeter of the current parking lot, they have made sure those homeowners will see nothing but full, lovely trees. If brought to reality, this plan would not only bring our area solid, well-paying jobs with growth potential but would be a huge selling point to home buyers.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the proposal put forth by the New York Cosmos. They would like to build a 25,000 seat stadium, a hotel, 9 restaurants, a movie theater, retail shopping, a youth soccer field and underground parking. There have been no revised drawings showing how they expect to cram all this into the south lot area. Obviously this is an overkill proposal designed to win the bid by pretending this will be a huge economic boon to Elmont and will become a “destination site” attracting throngs of people who will trickle over to other businesses in the area.   In reality, movie theaters are struggling to stay open with rising ticket prices and competition from cable tv, streaming services, giant tv’s and mega home entertainment systems. The likelihood of 9 restaurants to stay open long term is slim. Most jobs would be menial and low paying. Thinking that underground parking would not be a magnet for crime is naïve. The impact on area roads and highways is severe and we have all read of the increase in fighting at soccer matches (championship matches have been banned at their current “home’, Hofstra University, due to fighting among spectators). The New York Cosmos are clearly preoccupied with their own hopes and dreams regardless of those who will suffer because of this plan. Unable to average more than 3,800 spectators at home games, they are willing to sacrifice the town and local property values with their “if we build it, they will come” pipe dreams. It is of no consequence to them that homeowners next to the stadium will look out their windows and front doors and gaze upon a 30-foot concrete wall.
 
Contrary to the Cosmos’ COO Erik Stover, Elmont is not a dilapidated neighborhood. It is a neighborhood made up of hardworking people who take great pride in their homes and families. We have wonderful schools filled with great teachers who have made sure our children are well equipped to follow their dreams.   We are a great example of a cooperative, supportive multi-cultural neighborhood that welcomes all with open arms.
 
The Empire State Development Corporation issued the statement that they would make their decision based on what’s “best for the State”. The residents of Elmont ask that they make the decision based on what is best for Elmont’s future. Choosing a proposal that enhances the area, reinforces the positives of it being a neighborhood with nice homes, solid successful schools and the kinds of businesses that support that, can only lead to growth in our town. That, in turn, will add revenue to the local economy, the schools, the County and the State. We know what is good and what is a gamble. We are counting on Governor Cuomo and the Empire State Development Corporation to be Elmont’s champion, to do the right thing and value this community as we do.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:05 )  

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