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Long IslandColumnistsJoye Brown

What should be Plum Island's next gig?

Aerial view looking south at one of the

Aerial view looking south at one of the facilities on the west end of Plum Island. (July 30, 1997) Credit: Newsday / Ken Spencer

The U.S. government is trying to decide whether to sell Plum Island, a research site for hoof-and-mouth and other animal diseases for 56 years. It's even been used to study bioterrorism. After a history like that, what should go in its place? A resort? A prison? A world-class research facility?

Or is there other potential for the 840-acre island? Possibilities that would free Plum Island to embrace its celebrity? Already, the super-secure government facility's made its way into popular culture with a movie, "Silence of the Lambs," and a book, "Plum Island," by Nelson DeMille.

What else might lie ahead?

Here are 9 suggestions:

1 Make it a cultural destination.

The Plum Island Dinner Theatre presents: "When Hoof Meets Mouth, My Time in the New York State Legislature." Just about everybody in Albany could take a turn at the lead role. It's not as though they're busy doing much else.

2 Make it a challenge.

"Survivor: Plum Island." The cast ought to be able to find some really interesting things to eat.

Montauk Monster stew, anyone?

3 Make it a sports arena.

Let's strand Steve Levy and Rick Lazio behind the fence of a mixed martial arts octagon and see who makes it out first.

The winner takes on Andrew Cuomo.

4 Make it a wedding chapel.

Couples would arrive on The Love Ferry (these days, who's got time or money for a cruise). And they'd be married by Elvis, who, finally, could come out of hiding.

5 Make it a reality show.

On this version of "Big Brother," the cast lands in a black helicopter.

6 Make it a catchphrase.

Fantasy Island II: "The plague! The plague!"

7 Make it a mystery.

"What Killed Roger Rabbit?"

Wait a minute, do we really want to know?

8 Make it a movie set.

And see what kind of wonderful weirdness Tim Burton will create.

9 Make it a (your suggestion goes here).

Because I'm almost plum out of ideas.

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