Casino efforts need cooperation

A roulette wheel A roulette wheel Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

advertisement | advertise on newsday

It's now clear that Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy's plan for workforce housing on county land in Yaphank is dead.

On Tuesday, the county legislature declared the land surplus, clearing the way for a sale or lease. That legislation is likely to survive, despite an expected Levy veto.

Further evidence of the plan's demise: Levy's talks with the Shinnecock Indian Nation about a casino in Yaphank. He says the talks don't mean he has given up on Legacy Village, a bold idea that this page supported, for its 1,000-plus housing units. But its chances of becoming a reality, especially now that its chief backer has become a lame duck, are nearly zilch.

Now, the question at Yaphank is: What about a casino? It's a highly visible location, between the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway, within reasonable commuting distance for Shinnecocks to work there.

But Levy would have done better just to tout this site's strengths, without pointing out the obstacles facing sites at the Nassau Hub and Brookhaven Calabro Airport. The Shinnecocks want Long Island to present a united front to Albany and Washington for their plans, and are likely to include sites in both counties. So far, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano hasn't criticized any potential Suffolk site.

To build anything like a major casino or casinos in change-resistant New York, unity is a must. So both counties and the tribe must keep talking and working for the good of all Long Island.

You also may be interested in: