Written by Jill Nossa Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:00
Sea Cliff resident Karin Barnaby, who has been active for months in her mission to preserve the Glenwood Landing Power Plant, recently took her concerns straight to the Town of North Hempstead. She presented Supervisor Judi Bosworth with a petition calling on the town to take action to delay the demolition of the nearly 100-year-old plant at the North Hempstead Town Council meeting on Jan. 28. During the public comment period, Barnaby spoke about the plant’s historical importance and the benefits re-purposing the structure would bring to both the community and property owners.
“The Glenwood Landing plant is historically and architecturally unique on Long Island. Such plants were designed as civic monuments with the best architectural features of their day; preserving older buildings has become a standard component of urban renewal projects and is an aspect of green building,” says Barnaby.
Barnaby’s petition calls on National Grid to hold off demolition of “Power Station 2”—which is slated for next month—until “full consideration can be given to ways this landmark building might be most advantageously and profitably repurposed as a commercial, tax-paying enterprise as quickly as possible, and its prime waterfront revitalized and made accessible to the public for the benefit of the greater Glenwood Landing-North Shore-Hempstead Harbor community, now and for future generations.”
To date, Barnaby has collected nearly 800 signatures, after launching her petition drive last summer on change.org. Last month, she delivered the statement to officials at National Grid during a meeting with residents of the North Shore community at the company’s Hicksville administrative offices. At that meeting, company representatives stated that demolition of the structure would begin in March, and be completed by December. After the land is remediated, National Grid intends to black top it with asphalt.
Glenwood Landing and North Shore residents are slated to shoulder a 19 percent tax increase in the coming years due to the loss of tax revenues in the amount of $14 million annually from the utility.
Barnaby has written extensively to local newspapers, including the Record Pilot, and posted updates on the Facebook page “Save the Glenwood Landing Power Plant” listing her reasons for saving the power plant. She maintains that National Grid will leave behind minimally remediated lands, unsightly substations, turbines, oil tanks and high voltage overhead cables and transmission towers that will render the site permanently unsuitable for residential use, as well as for most other commercial uses that are neighborhood-friendly and waterfront-accessible for area residents, and that in other parts of the country and world, power plants and industrial sites are being repurposed for both the public good and corporate profit.
“It’s really a no brainer,” she says. “There’s not a single reason why it can’t be repurposed.”
Barnaby, who used to sit on the North Shore Board of Education, says they knew of the plans to decommission the plant back in the 1980s, and she always thought it would be best to replace it with “another taxpayer.” Obviously, it is not suitable for a residential property, though she fully believes it would be ideal as a recreation center and has a vision of the building becoming an indoor sports facility. She has grandkids in Stamford, CT, and when she first went into a rec center there that had been an old Clairol plant, the idea for the Glenwood Landing plant, she says, “hit me like lightning...It would be wildly popular, and pay the tax bill.”
Her idea is to repurpose the GWL plant’s waterfront building and site, as a revenue-generating, commercial Chelsea Piers-like sports, recreation and arts facility, which she says would result in a “win-win for everyone—for tax-payers, for LIPA/PSE&G, for National
Grid, for political leaders and, most importantly: for area team-sports families and enthusiasts, whose demand for playing fields and sports facilities has long exceeded supply.”
She notes that, to succeed as a viable commercial undertaking, such a facility in Glenwood Landing would require optimal access.
“A western access, linking Glenwood Road with Bar Beach, West Shore Road, 25A and beyond, would offer total access from all directions,” says Barnaby. “A short bridge, attractively designed with multiple lanes for accommodating strollers, skaters, bicycle riders and anglers, as well as motorists, would need no more than a single support pier (if that) to span that narrow channel. It would not block the tidal exchange and hardly disturb the sea floor.”
She says the direct link between Hempstead Harbor’s east and west shores and beyond, would also allow commuters to bypass the narrow back roads through Roslyn Harbor and Roslyn, while easing the traffic congestion in those communities.
“Imagine a revitalized and accessible visitor-and-user-friendly waterfront with hiking, jogging, skating and bicycle paths, leading all the way from Sea Cliff to Port Washington—creating Hempstead Harbor’s very own Highline,” she says.
She says she’s sent letters of her vision to everyone from “Chuck Schumer on down” adding, “I’ve gotten no response.”
With demolition of the Power Station 2 set to begin in March, there is not much time left to get the political support needed. Still, Barnaby says, “I won’t give up until they start using the wrecking ball.”