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From The Desk Of NY State Senator Jack Martins

Is Belmont Cosmos Country?

Do you recall being in one room and hearing the theme music for your favorite television show emanating from the living room?  I liken it to a trumpet call as we scrambled to take our places in front of the old boob tube. 

For me, and maybe many of you, I can still recall the distinctive beat that summoned me weekly to WOR (we knew it simply as channel 9) to watch the bad boys of soccer – the New York Cosmos.  

This was the team that broke New York and really, North America, onto the world soccer scene; a team that imported world-class athletes like Georgio Cinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, and of course, the immortal, Pele.  Until that time, soccer was virtually non-existent in the United States, a game our parents tried to dial in on the fuzzy UHF in vain.  

Then along came the green and yellow shirts who fired our imaginations and launched America’s love affair with “the beautiful game.”  Today, soccer is one of the most played sports among young people in the United States and many say it started with the Cosmos.     

Over the past two years, I have been working with the greater Belmont community regarding redevelopment of the Hempstead Turnpike corridor and, specifically, the south lot of Belmont Park.  There have been many suggestions, some good, some not so good.

I guess that’s why I’m so eager to let you know that through our efforts, the new, reincarnated New York Cosmos have officially proposed building a $400 million professional soccer arena right here in Nassau County.  It’s a dazzling state-of-the art venue and the ambitious plan includes shops, a community park, several restaurants and a hotel, all to be built on that very same, underutilized, south parking lot at Belmont.

Having just lost our beloved Islanders to Brooklyn, this plan comes as great news, not just for Long Island sports fans, but for anyone concerned about our local economy.  According to Long Island Business News, the Islanders’ 41 home games drew about 13,000 fans per game and generated more than $60 million in local spending.  Since they announced their move earlier this year, the best minds on Long Island have been busy trying to figure out just how to replace what they brought to the Long Island economy.  It’s a daunting task because in actuality, there’s virtually nothing that offers the predictable and recurring financial impact that an anchor sports franchise does. 

In that light, the Cosmos and the private investment they bring will create thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, from the construction phase right through the creation of permanent jobs that come with running a world-class arena.  The project will also generate much-needed tax revenue for our communities and schools and it’s the kind of project that can jumpstart economic development along the Hempstead Turnpike corridor.

Besides the undeniable economic benefits, I believe that Long Island, which is home to 3 million people, needs a team it can call its own.  Teams tend to become integral parts of the landscape, partnering with schools, nonprofits, and local business to create opportunities for young people and to galvanize communities with regional pride.  Soccer’s immense popularity on Long Island makes it a perfect fit and who knows - we may even become a hotbed for local talent development.         

It’s a win-win for everyone.   Belmont was designed to accommodate over 100,000 people for the Belmont Stakes.  Ample parking and infrastructure already exist, so the proposal to construct a 25,000 seat stadium is an easy fit.  Belmont Park also has the benefit of an existing Long Island Railroad station and sits along the Cross Island Parkway with its own entrance and exit ramps already in place – making it incredibly convenient for anyone this side of the Hudson.  Just think my fellow sports fan, a day out without traveling to the Meadowlands!  I invite you to learn more about this proposal by visiting www.cosmosstadium.com.

We‘ve all heard the talk about economic development and job creation for decades.  Today, we’re seeing action.  I am proud to have secured the funding for the Empire State Development Corp. to conduct the study to explore development of the site because I’m tired of hearing that Nassau County, America’s first suburb, has had its day.  I don’t believe that for a minute.  Nothing is impossible.  This Cosmos stadium project is a perfect example and I truly believe it’s just the start of many good things to come.   

Success in these types of endeavors has a lot to do with our perspective going in.  Remember the old saying, “Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re absolutely right.”

News

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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