Uniondale will once again be whole, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) told a packed room after a meeting with members of the U.S. Census Bureau.
"I'm proud to announce that the Census Bureau has agreed to repeal the 'East Garden City' designation and make Uniondale whole again," Rice said at the news conference in Garden City.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, a supporter of the repeal who attended the census meeting, said the official change could be 18 months away.
"In the meantime, the Town of Hempstead will refer to the disputed area as 'Uniondale' in town correspondence, statements, maps and websites," Murray said.
The census had designated the 3 square miles in northern Uniondale as East Garden City since at least 1990. There have been references to East Garden City since the 1940s, and the East Garden City Fire Protection District was created in 1941, but the Census Bureau gave the hamlet no specific boundaries until 2000.
Uniondale residents stepped up complaints after they noticed changes in area signage.
Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, who represents most of the area and had pushed for the repeal, praised Rice and community residents, as did all of the speakers, for persevering in the fight for Uniondale cohesiveness.
"The community spoke, local government listened, and that was a winning combination," she later said.
Some activists had said the designation was meant to separate it from the more heavily integrated community.
The town board had unanimously sought the repeal from the Census Bureau, which said in a statement in March that the designation could be changed through local input before the 2020 census. "Census designated places are created to help present statistics but do not serve as surveyed or legal boundaries," the statement said.
Jeff Greenfield, chairman of the Nassau County Planning Commission, said he would have that agency draw up a resolution supporting the Uniondale name for the entire area, which includes Nassau Coliseum and Hofstra University.
Rice said Greenfield's involvement was important because the bureau wanted to see an overwhelming show of support for the repeal, including from those who had backed the "East Garden City" designation, such as the commission.
The Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition, a group that included civic associations, also had pressed for the change.
"We have compiled over 2,000 signatures from residents calling for the elimination of 'East Garden City' from the 2020 census," the group said in a statement released at the news conference.