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Residents Oppose Taubman Development

Richard Turkisher, Director of the Birchwood Civic Association, has plenty of reasons to vote “yes” in the upcoming August 20 referendum on the sale of the large Department of Public Works (DPW) property on Robbins Lane, adjacent to the former Cerro Wire site. The Merry Lane resident is concerned about Taubman Centers Inc. developers’ plan to erect a 750,000 square-foot mall on the former Cerro Wire site near his residence.  A “yes” vote will secure the sale of the DPW property to Simon Property Group, the Albanese Organization and Castagna Properties, thereby preventing Taubman from expanding its development plans.

“A shopping mall is very unnecessary in our community,” said Turkisher. “It will create a horrible traffic situation in a residential area and there are too many malls as it is. Just fifteen minutes from here is the Walt Whitman Mall and Roosevelt Field.”

Turkisher said the Birchwood Civic Association is one of the leading groups in Nassau County fighting to prevent the building of the new mall.

He added that one of his biggest fears is the safety of children who attend a school a couple of hundred feet from the proposed mall.

Robin Weissbratten, a long-time Nassau County resident who lives on Merry Lane, said that Long Island is “overmalled” and that there is no reason to have another mall here.

“The jobs they’d offer people once the mall was built would be minimum wage jobs that wouldn’t afford people the necessary income to live on Long Island,” Weissbratten said. “We’d be better off with new affordable senior housing or houses that are affordable for young adults on Long Island.”

Barbara Krieger, who lives on Birchwood Park Drive, is also a director of the Birchwood Civic Association. She is concerned about traffic that would result from the building of the new mall.

“We have too much traffic in the area and that situation would be made much worse with the building of a new mall,” Krieger said. “Why do they need another mall? There are much better uses for that property.”  Krieger echoed sentiments made by Turkisher on the close proximity of other malls.

She suggested that she would prefer to see a computer company incubator, which would offer support and resources for businesses, or something comparable.

Stewart Lieman of Birchwood Park Drive said he doesn’t want a mall built because it will, “create traffic and bring down the property values in the neighborhood, as well as raise the crime rate.”

Lieman, who works in the real estate business, doesn’t see how a mall will make money with numerous companies on Long Island going out of business.  If the mall fails, the remaining structure would become a blight on the community.

“I see a lot of local stores and businesses with “for sale” signs on them in the area,” he said. “I don’t get how they’ll make money here.”