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Altadonna: Massapequa Park Needs Emergency Room Center

Village is working with North Shore-LIJ to build ER center on Sunrise Highway

Progress continues to be made in a plan to bring an emergency room facility to Massapequa Park. Mayor James Altadonna spoke with the Massapequan Observer, and said that the village, along with North Shore-LIJ, is continuing to pursue building an emergency room center on Sunrise Highway near the Long Island Rail Road station.

According to Altadonna, a request for proposal has already been issued. Currently, the village and the hospital system are in the process of trying to secure property where the facility would be constructed. The mayor said that negotiations are currently taking place regarding a number of properties on Sunrise Highway. Altadonna, who served as an EMT in Deer Park, believes that an emergency center is needed in the village so that residents can be treated as quickly as possible when emergencies arise.

“It came about because of the closure of Massapequa General and Brunswick and the length of time it takes to get to an area hospital,” said Altadonna about the decision to pursue building an emergency center. With the closure of those facilities, the nearest hospital is St. Joseph’s on Hempstead Turnpike in Bethpage. Other possible destinations for Massapequa Park residents seeking emergency care are Good Samaritan Hospital on Montauk Highway in West Islip and the Nassau County Medical Center on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow. Altadonna said that he is concerned that it takes too long to transport people to these facilities in an emergency, when every second is critical.

“People were always concerned about the lack of a hospital,” the mayor said. “I realized that there was a real critical need for a facility that could handle heart attacks and car accidents.”

Altadonna added that the planned emergency care center would have approximately 26 beds. Those in need of emergency care would be brought there, and after being stabilized, would then be brought to a hospital of their choice. The mayor said that the opening of such a facility is about two years away. That timeframe is dependent on securing property for the construction. He added that the only cost to the village would be the taxes not received from the property where the center is eventually located.

“It would cost about $6,000 per year because hospitals are nonprofit, but it’s $6,000 compared to someone’s life,” he commented. He also added that a hospital would be an “economic engine” for Massapequa Park and would bring more business to the downtown area of the village.

Altadonna also is trying to increase police presence in the village. He called it “a constant struggle,” referring to the increase in quality of life crimes in the village and the lack of manpower at the Seventh Precinct. He referred to the loss of certain functions in the police department such as traffic control, and the problems that have been occurring at the mall, which are demanding more attention from police.

“These take away officers from Massapequa Park,” he explained. “It’s very difficult to enforce quality of life issues without dedicated patrols.”

Altadonna said he has had conversations with the inspector from the Seventh Precinct, who has told the mayor that there will be more flexibility within the precinct after its consolidation with another precinct, and that more officers would be available to patrol the village.

“The only alternative is considering our own police force,” Altadonna stated. “That’s not a reflection on the men and women of the Seventh Precinct. That may be something in the future.”

However, while the mayor said it might be something to consider in the future, his immediate goal is the building of the emergency center.

Altadonna also said that the village will be redoing the pavilion at Brady Park, as a memorial to Trustee Harry Jacobson. He said that a new bocce court would be added, as well as some smaller playground equipment. Altadonna said that an appointment to fill Jacobson’s position on the board could be announced in November or December.

“We’re waiting for the proper time to announce a replacement,” he said. “It’s very difficult to replace someone of Harry’s stature so I think we need more time to recognize his contributions.”

Altadonna also said that the village is continuing to pursue the building of a cell tower on Sunrise Highway near the LIRR station. He said the village is working with New York City to get regulatory requirements and Nassau Towers, which owns the current tower in front of Village Hall. The mayor said that his goal is to move the equipment from the tower in front of Village Hall to a new tower, but if that is not accomplished, then he would seek to have everything moved to the current tower.

“Either way, we will end up with one tower,” Altadonna stated.