New Cassel is back in the laundry business.
A self-service laundry opened recently in the hamlet's overlay district for the first time since the Town of North Hempstead formed the special area and banned them there in 2006. In 2012, the town board repealed the prohibition on laundries and arcades in the district.
Town Councilwoman Viviana Russell said the New Cassel Urban Renewal Overlay District -- consisting of residential and commercial overlay districts in a portion of the hamlet of 14,000 -- was intended "to attract a broader diversity of stores that would include retail, restaurants and other businesses."
The overlay district still bans liquor stores, and pool or billiards halls. There are two other laundries in the district, but the new one is in the heart of downtown.
New Cassel Laundromat, at 1008 Prospect Ave., is owned by Benoit Jeune of Westbury, who said the community has long desired one within walking distance. "People are tired of spending $8 for a taxi to . . . get to a Laundromat; and some ride a bicycle," he said.
Jeune said he petitioned the town to remove the restrictions and promised to work with officials to ensure it is managed safely.
"There's a lot of illegal activity that could happen," said Jeune. There are a total of 16 cameras inside and outside, and signs say, "Smile for the camera," and "no illegal activities."
A guard will be stationed outside the laundry, which is equipped with Wi-Fi and two large-screen TVs. Jeune can observe the inside wherever he has Internet access -- at home or across the street at his cellular phone shop.
Russell said, "There is definitely a need for one." For pedestrians on Prospect Avenue, "it's a long distance for them to have to walk."