Opinion

I am unable to attend your meetings but would like to offer some input after reading the April 3 issue of the Farmingdale Observer; "CCAF Discusses Stop and Shop Site."

I grew up in Farmingdale and have lived here for most of my 52+ years spanning six decades. For 43 years I have lived well within a 1/4 mile of the Liberty Site; first south of it, now northwest of it. As kids we wandered in the empty field now occupied by Allen Park. I am thrilled to see the decayed Liberty eyesore gone from our sight.

I would like to offer alternative uses to those proposed at the CCAF meeting. I believe that the land use must accomplish four primary objectives: 1) preserve home values, 2) maintain the character of the community, 3) provide tax relief and 4) meet the needs of the community. First, I would like to address each item discussed at the CCAF meeting and suggest how those proposals can already be met by existing facilities in most of the cases:

1) Community Center: Farmingdale has many public schools, a college, many churches, various halls, a huge public library, as well as the center where you hold your meetings at Allen Park. A combination of these facilities should more than satisfy the needs for a community center. By better utilizing our existing facilities we help to hold back further tax increases. The schools in particular, which are tax-funded institutions, should be considered as 16-hour facilities. They are learning institutions by day but can be revenue-generating facilities by night.

2) Olympic Pool: Our high school already has a pool and I believe Farmingdale College and Bethpage Community Park also have pools. Of course we have miles of beaches and many of our residents maintain their own backyard pools.

3) Hike/Bike Trails: We already have the greenbelt trail spanning many miles from north-to-south and running right through Farmingdale along Bethpage Parkway.

4) BBQ Picnic Area: We have many, many parks, beaches etc., all with BBQ facilities, many of which I have observed over the years as vastly under-used. Nearby Bethpage State Park has a large picnic area with BBQ facilities. Of course many of our residents have BBQ facilities within their own backyards.

5) Mini-golf course with driving range. We have 5 world class golf courses in Farmingdale at Bethpage State Park including Bethpage Black, home to the U.S. Open in 2002 and 2009; Farmingdale College has a driving range and there is another driving range on Route 110 opposite Wal-Mart. I believe there is also a mini-golf course there. Eisenhower Park also contains a mini-golf course and I believe there might be others in the area.

6) Batting Cages: There are batting cages in the area, one near the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and Hicksville Road. I believe there are others in the area but I am not certain of the exact locations.

7) Roller Hockey Rink: I believe there is a roller hockey rink located in the industrial complex east of Route 110. I would hope that an additional roller-hockey rink could be incorporated into the current Allen Park complex.

8) 8th Precinct Patrol Booth: This may help enhance community security.

9) Fire Service Training Facility: A large Fire Service Training facility already exists along the north perimeter of Bethpage State Park near the old landfill.

In general, let's not create redundant facilities at taxpayer expense that will ultimately result in higher taxes for non-essential facilities with little or no real need.

So, what can we do to accomplish the four primary objectives; 1) preserve home values, 2) maintain the character of the community, 3) provide tax relief, and 4) meet the needs of the community? Since this property borders the Village, its uses should align with and complement those of the Village. This discussion assumes that housing is not permitted on the property.

First, I would initiate discussions with the appropriate agencies (State, County, Town, MTA, LIRR, NYS DOT, etc) to create an extension of Woodward Parkway from its Motor Avenue termination point through the site extending to Fulton Street near the Daleview Nursing Home. An overpass, underpass or grade crossing would have to be constructed and traffic lights installed. This would help to alleviate traffic bottlenecks in the area. In addition, a one-way road running west bound from Main Street along the LIRR all the way to the Woodward Parkway extension would help to pull traffic off a crowded Main Street.

Second, a small LIRR train station can also be constructed and since this LIRR line connects two major rail centers with bustling communities (Hicksville and Babylon) perhaps a frequent single car rail trolley can move commuters back and forth between these communities all day long. Aside from rush hours, there currently is not much LIRR traffic on this line. In addition to stops in the heart of Farmingdale, other stops could be made in Bethpage, East Farmingdale, Lindenhurst, West Babylon, etc. These opportunities may never exist again.

Third, if recreation facilities are proposed, let's solicit bids from the private sector to build and maintain profit-based, tax-generating sports facilities. Let the market dictate what those facilities should be but I believe there is a shortage and demand for ice hockey rinks in the area. Pay-for-play facilities could be very successful.

Fourth, solicit bids for a private sector medical arts complex. The area's demographics will place an increasing demand for these facilities.

Fifth, professional office complex and/or a small technology center can bring good jobs right into the neighborhood.

Sixth, a combination of a minor expansion of Allen Park including a small passive walkable trail would complement the area.

The mixed uses suggested above done in a thoughtful and community oriented manner can enhance our property values, maintain the character of the community, provide new tax revenue, provide jobs, reduce traffic, bring a soft mass transit element into the community in a very non-intrusive manner, meet the needs of 21st-century suburbia for our young and old alike and would complement very nicely the smart-growth concepts being proposed for the village.

I would ask that your organization consider these suggestions.

Joe Mazzotta


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