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Local politicians echoed a similar sentiment about the upcoming U.S. Open golf tournament to be held at Bethpage State Park's Black Course - they don't want to repeat the same mistake this time around.

When the international golf tournament was held back in 2002, Farmingdale Village merchants geared up for diners, shoppers and visitors, but no one came. This year politicians are coming out early to "promote the village next door."

"We want to get people to come and shop and eat in downtown Farmingdale," Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi said. "Given the current economic climate, this could not have come at a more opportune time."

Suozzi said that based on figures from last year's U.S. Open held at Torrey Pines in California, the county is expecting to see $100 million injected into the local economy from the golf tournament.

"This generates sales tax in the process, as well as hotel tax and helps local businesses," he added.

Legislator Dave Mejias (D-Farmingdale) has been very aggressive in ensuring Farmingdale reaps some of the financial benefits of the U.S .Open, which will be held from June 15-21.

"Farmingdale is a great downtown," he said. "We want to get people to come to Farmingdale and stay. We're doing everything we can to secure the sales tax revenue. These outside of the box events will make sure Nassau County grows. I am excited for this opportunity for downtown businesses."

E. Christopher Murray, president of the Nassau Council Chambers of Commerce, praised Suozzi and Mejias for making the generation of money for downtown areas a priority.

"It is very important that we support local businesses," he added.

Farmingdale Village Mayor Butch Starkie said the village is doing its part to attract people to the downtown area.

"We want to make this an event in downtown Farmingdale," he said. "We're going to have live music and movie nights on the Village Green."

Starkie added they were considering shutting down the area near the Village Green to traffic to create a "party atmosphere."

"We're also partnering with the school district to create additional parking," he added.

Howitt Middle School has room for 800 cars. With a potential charge of $50, visitors would have prime parking near the Bethpage State Park as opposed to overflow parking planned at Jones Beach.

"The money would go to Howitt Middle School," Starkie added.

The village is also hiring two trolleys to shuttle attendees and LIRR riders to and from the US Open. Trolley rides will be free.

Additionally, Angela Susan Anton, publisher of Anton Newspapers, announced that the Farmingdale Observer would print a special edition of the newspaper that week highlighting local businesses, history and events.

For more information on upcoming events and parking visit www.farmingdalevillage.com. For more information on the U.S. Open, visit www.usga.org.


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