Thursday, 29 August 2013 00:00
What We Don't Need
Like yet another mall, of any size or description, the last thing our community needs is a hotel. There are numerous, well-appointed motels, inns, lodges and other quality accommodations within 15 minutes from the Cerro site and, like most of Nassau’s enormous retail glut, hotels offer mostly lower skilled jobs, while consuming potentially large swaths of valuable acreage. Furthermore, the overabundance of retail, entertainment and hospitality space does nothing to reverse the “brain drain” exodus of well-educated professional young people.
A professional office building would be equally inappropriate, as the area has ample vacant office space. Medical/health care facilities are sufficiently extant, if not abundant, throughout Syosset, Jericho and nearby Plainview and Bethpage. With two major hospitals, hundreds of physicians practicing in dozens of medical office buildings, and an assisted living complex on South Oyster Bay Road in Bethpage, using the Cerro land for those purposes would prove another unwise and redundant choice.
Education is clearly one of Nassau County’s major economic sectors: Home to five universities, at least two colleges, numerous smaller private schools for remedial and advanced learning and nationally-renowned school districts, like Jericho and Syosset. Thus, there is obviously more than ample educational infrastructure and staff already in place locally, providing all manner of related services, making such use of the Cerro site redundant, wasteful, and, like the above options, an impediment to badly needed economic diversification.
Though more worthy than another mega-mall, hotel, learning center or office “park,” senior housing would be yet another exercise in development overkill. There are already three senior villages in Syosset-Woodbury alone, another one planned for near the Woodbury Huntington border and literally dozens and dozens more throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Additional senior and multi-family housing, hotels and retail on Robbins Lane would also add to the oppressive and hazardous traffic and population densities. If we are serious about preserving a true suburban lifestyle, then we must always endeavor to keep our community from becoming another urbanized, heavily trafficked, overpopulated borough of the metro area.
Squandering the Cerro lands on the above schemes, favored by Todd Fabricant’s Coalition and/or the three developers to whom the Town sold the adjoining 54 acres back in May, would destroy this precious opportunity to retool our local economy for building long-term prosperity. Those same, often tried and failed, ideas would only succeed in further carrying us down a one-way path to a low-grade economic future with limited career choices.
What We Do Need
Instead, operating with an expertly selected occupancy profile and supportive infrastructure, a “Cerro Tech Center” could bring to investors, career seekers and consumers the exciting and rewarding future uniquely provided by next generation technological R & D, manufacturing and marketing.
The hard science R & D teams making discoveries and brimming breakthroughs, can be selected, sponsored and assisted by the Cerro Tech Center Core Group B Managerial staff and facilities infrastructure. In turn, their perfected prototypes would be fast-tracked into mass production through Nassau County’s own industrial corridors for worldwide export.
This is the one kind of economic development capable of ripping away the stranglehold of economic globalization over Nassau County, which has wrung out its once nationally renowned quality of life. The Town of Oyster Bay, local chambers of commerce and the business and civic roundtables of the Cerro Wire Coalition should be partnering with Accelerate Long Island, LIFT, Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Lab and other proactive tech-oriented development groups and venture capitalists.
But make no mistake: It will take more than the long talked about conversion of the Bethpage Grumman complex to produce enough high-tech employment and product sales volume for Nassau to begin approaching prosperity levels Long Islanders had once enjoyed.
Years of massive overseas investment, born of Wall Street greed and government expediency, have forsaken much of our once legendary high-tech R & D and manufacturing prowess, while disenfranchising countless students from pursuing bright, rewarding careers as scientists, engineers and technicians.
Returning to those prosperous times can truly happen with the proper planning and personnel. R & D technology incubators are not taxable, money-making entities in and of themselves. And this project would require a range of experts in science, finance, education and government to donate their time.
But this is the one kind of economic development that utilizes our land and other inputs, together with the creative potential of our scientists, elected officials, investors, administrators, engineers and marketing experts to fast track our communities’ economy from the worst parasitic aspects of economic globalization.
A very substantial amount of Cerro land can be transformed into a genuine re-forested open space park. Maximizing the amount of forested open parkland can act as powerful CO2-consuming/oxygen-producing buffer zones, while also purifying air and attenuating noise levels.
As there are for rebuilding Oyster Bay’s once legendary high tech R & D and manufacturing prowess, so too are there state, federal and non-profit matching funds for maximizing our green space acquisition and re-forestation efforts.
Disclaimer: I affirm that I am a full time Syosset resident with no direct financial or professional interest in anything that I propose or oppose herein. And I represent no one or anything but my own views.