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Letter: Permission

“How was your weekend?” I spent mine getting up at 6 a.m. and driving to Wantagh to fly my model helicopter as I have for the past 31 months. Why? Because helis only fly there from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., and my local Hempstead Harbor field is still closed to flyers.

The “remediation” was completed months ago. The new runway was paved – it’s gorgeous. A lovely parking area has fresh gravel. New grass has been sown and is growing and turning to weeds. Yet we still don’t have permission to resume flying. The actual work took about six months of labor, but was spread out over two years – the ground was too hard, the ground was too soft, too wet, too dry, too cold, too hot. For the past six months or more, I’ve heard every excuse from the town as to why we can’t fly yet-It needs to be on the Agenda (which never happens) – They need something from the County to tell them it’s safe (??) – They have to decide what to do with the gate (open it!) – They need to issue permits and set fees (which have already been negotiated) – but month after month, nothing is moving any of this forward. I’m beginning to suspect that the town just doesn’t want us there.

Nassau County understands the value an Aerodrome gives its residents. On June 5, there will be a wonderful celebration there culminating in naming Lufbery Aerodrome which had been called Cedar Creek. Dignitaries will be there including Supervisor Mangano. Lunch will be served, hosted by the local model flying clubs, and all are invited. Why can’t North Hempstead get behind this treasure that has given so much pleasure to so many for over 35 years?

 Summer’s here. Open the Aerodrome. All we need is your permission. We’ve been patient, respectful and cooperative. Now, open the gate. If you need to discuss it at a town hall meeting, put it on the Agenda and have your discussion. We’ll gladly attend if it will help. If you want to construct a gate, or install turnstiles or an EZ Pass Toll booth, go ahead. If you want to issue permits and collect fees, you have our blessing. We’ll gladly pay and wear little badges whenever you get around to making them up. But let us fly NOW! We don’t need greenskeepers, lifeguards, valet parking, or one dime from the town. Just Open The Gate and Let Us Back In! The State has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to satisfy the EPA and the town, and to put the facility back to its original purpose–an Aerodrome–but all in all it’s still just a God forsaken landfill you can’t do anything else with. What rationale can there possibly be to prevent us from using it for the purpose it was intended? And don’t tell me it’s noisy – we’re quieter than the cars passing on West Shore Road. We love the North Hempstead Aerodrome sign that was erected a year and nine months ago which states “No Trespassing – Use by Permit ONLY,” yet we see that you’ve left enough room to the right of the tornado fence that blocks us, for the dog walkers and dirt bikers to get through unencumbered. We deserve at least the same courtesy.

Ken Casser