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Letter: Belmont Casino a Lose-Lose

As a former resident of Elmont I feel it is imperative that I speak out against the proposal to possibly build a new Nassau Coliseum or allow a casino to be built on the present site of Belmont Race Track. Many issues come to mind when discussing building any high volume venue along that section of Hempstead Turnpike, which is an already very dangerous road. Politicians seem to feel that the economic gains of a high draw venue would benefit the community and never seemed to give any consideration to traffic, crime, noise which would all increase and further add to an already decrease in the “Quality of Life” in Elmont.

Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont and Franklin Square was never designed to handle the high volume of traffic, which presently uses the road. Widening the road would be the only way to make it safer as I was told by county and state experts. More police officers might be needed to handle higher pedestrian and vehicular traffic as well as a possible rise in crime which all have occurred at the site in question.  Could Nassau County support more officers?

Traffic along the nearest major artery the Cross Island Parkway would also significantly increase, adding to existing traffic related problems. Is this fair to Queens residents?

In my opinion I find it hard to understand how the economic benefits from building either one of the two mentioned venues could outweigh the problems which will without a doubt have to be considered.

Residents need to know all of the facts before they cast a vote for either a New Coliseum or video gambling casino to be built on the site occupied by Belmont Race Track.

Jonathan Winant
Port Washington Resident