By Lindsay Christ
Gov. David Paterson made his first public statement about the Lighthouse Project on Monday in front of the box office at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He joined Islanders owner Charles Wang, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) and local politicians as he urged the agencies tasked with reviewing the plans to keep the proposal moving forward.
“The Lighthouse Project has the potential to be one of the most important economic development initiatives we have ever seen on Long Island and is precisely the kind of economic stimulus that we need here,” Paterson said. “That’s why I am directing our state agencies to expedite their review of this project. Our government agencies need to work diligently and swiftly to ensure that this project can move forward as quickly as possible so that we can begin to put people back to work right here on Long Island.”
The project aims to redevelop the 150-acre Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site into a mixed residential and commercial center, featuring a variety of housing, retail, shopping, athletic and entertainment venues—not to mention renovating the area itself. The $3.74-billion privately funded project has been proposed by the Lighthouse Development Group, a joint venture between Wang and RXR, LI’s largest commercial property owner, manager and developer. The project is estimated to create 75,000 construction and 19,000 permanent jobs.
“Long Island needs the Lighthouse project and I am proud to stand with the Governor and call for the development of the project to be expedited so we can help rebuild Long Island,” McCarthy said after Wang thanked the politicians for their support.
Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, called the project “a symbol of what new suburbia must be” as he talked about how Nassau has for the most part stopped growing and as a result many young people are leaving. “The Lighthouse Project is the key to long term sustainability for Long Island,” he said.
Suozzi then thanked Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray for her help, who he has had a tense relationship with in the past regarding the Lighthouse. Paterson made a point to commend Murray as well, stating that “We’re going to need all kinds of assistance from all facets of the government.”
Murray focused on the public forum that will be held at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse at Hofstra University on Aug. 4. The forum will allow any members of the community to voice concerns or comments regarding the project.
“After all is said and done our decisions made here will affect our children and grandchildren for many years to come,” Murray said as she stressed the importance of making sure everyone has a chance to comment before the plans are finalized.
Those who can’t make the meeting but wish to have their comments considered by the Town Board and included in the official record write a letter to: Town of Hempstead, Lighthouse Project Public Comment, One Washington Street, Hempstead NY 11550. Comments can be sent via e-mail to: Lighthousecomment@tohmail.org