I'm writing about the controversy concerning the development of 41 acres in Port Washington North. I'd also like to respond to some of the letters you received.
In the early 1960s I was a young salesman working on Long Island. I had occasion to go into Port Washington to make some calls. I liked what I saw. I found the people friendly, the town upbeat. I decided this is where I wanted to live.
I had an opportunity in 1968 to buy a house here. It was the second best decision I ever made. (The first was marrying my dear wife, Rita.) We raised our children here. They went through the Port Washington school system. Two of them met their future wives here. They made many friends. Our children grew and developed in the great Port Washington atmosphere and are now fully established in their chosen fields of endeavor. I consider myself very fortunate.
I believe my pleasant relationship with Port Washington was no different from others who moved here 20, 30 or even 40 years ago. We were welcomed here. We've found wonderful lives in this town.
Now what's become of us? Have we become xenophobic as a people? Are we trying to build a wall around our town? Do we say to homeseekers "We don't want you. We have too many people here. Go away?"
If we're trying to prevent change, it just won't happen. Sure there are more cars in Port Washington. Sure, traffic is tied up at times. But it is not unique here. There are more than twice the number of cars on the road in the United States than there were 30 years ago, while our population has increased less than 40 percent. If we have a traffic problem, let's control it. If we need more parking space, let's build it. Or, perhaps, work out some kind of mass transit.
Our town is growing. Accept it. We say we don't want change, but we have changed. We've got the Cineplex Odeon, Blockbuster, Burger King, Shish Kebab, Diwan, Clearview Cinema, our Sunday open market, Inspiration Walk and Pergament Express, just to name a few. People from all over come to use these facilities. Which of them do you want to give up?
My point is, I don't see a problem with developing the 41 acres. Our town will grow with or without that construction. All I ask is that we don't fall for gimmicks like "Senior Housing." I can see us building housing at the level of our present housing values or perhaps something like the condominiums on Shelter Rock Road.