Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
The demise of the Glenwood Landing (GWL) power plant and the resulting loss of tax revenue are now a reality for the greater North Shore community. In the 1980s and ‘90s, when I served on the North Shore school board, the GWL plant’s closing already loomed as a certainty.
Officials have had 20 years to plan ahead, but they have not done so. Neither the $2.5 million Albany recently provided as a kind of stopgap gesture to the North Shore schools, nor all the taxes paid by the utility over the years, can begin to make up for our community’s lost real estate values and our diminished quality of life.
Soon, National Grid will be applying to the Town of North Hempstead for demolition permits. Among other things, they plan to demolish the classic brick building—the utility’s only redeeming feature. Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the town council members must not allow National Grid to demolish something of such immense potential value to the community merely to reduce its own tax assessment. LIPA, National Grid, Albany and the town have an obligation to provide the community with compensation in the form of creating something wonderful in that building and in that location.
Let us embrace the demise of the GWL power plant as an opportunity for re-imagining the building and its site as a fabulous, revenue-generating asset and resource. Let us re-imagine the GWL plant’s magnificent waterfront building and site, for example, as a revenue generating, commercial, Chelsea Piers-like sports, arts and recreation facility that would result in a win for all concerned.
To succeed as a viable commercial undertaking, such a facility would necessitate optimal access. A western link, from Glenwood Road across to Bar Beach and beyond, would offer total access from all directions. A short bridge with multiple lanes for accommodating strollers, skaters, bicycle riders and anglers, as well as motorists, would need no more than a single support pier to span that narrow channel. It would not block the tidal exchange and hardly disturb the sea floor.
Imagine a newly revitalized and accessible stretch of natural waterfront, plus a world-class sports and recreation facility, housed completely inside a repurposed GWL plant. Imagine a waterfront hiking, jogging, skating and bicycle path, leading all the way from Sea Cliff to Port Washington, linking Sea Cliff’s tree-lined promenade, and Tappen Beach, Tappen Pool & Marina, and the North Shore Country Club and a “Chelsea Piers Long Island” facility, and the Swan Club and Engineers Country Club and continuing across a recreational bridge to Port Washington—creating Hempstead Harbor’s very own “Highline.”
In the near future, Supervisor Kaiman and town council members will be making decisions that will affect all our communities forever. We must appeal to them to not let National Grid demolish the landmark GWL building, but instead to re-imagine it and to do the right thing for Glenwood Landing and for the larger North Shore and Hempstead Harbor community.