Developer Gerald Wolkoff, who hopes to create a mini-city on...

Developer Gerald Wolkoff, who hopes to create a mini-city on the grounds of the shuttered Pilgrim State Hospital in Brentwood says he is aghast at the problems the Lighthouse project faces in Nassau. (July 27, 2010) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

When the Pataki Administration first proposed selling Pilgrim Psychiatric Center's vast acreage to private developers more than a decade ago, I sent a letter to my county legislator suggesting that Suffolk County purchase the land or negotiate with New York State to preserve it for future parkland ["Reality time at Heartland," Editorial, Oct. 11]. Instead, the state sold the land to Gerald Wolkoff for a pittance.

The Pilgrim site is today one of the largest tracts of undeveloped land in western Suffolk County, and combined with the adjacent Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve, contains a greater acreage than Manhattan's Central Park. Preserved for the benefit of future generations, who will thank us for our foresight, this land could very well become our suburban oasis.

We cannot continue to promote mindless development on Long Island simply to provide a few fleeting jobs or some alleged tax benefit. Do we really need more retail and office space, when empty stores and "for rent" signs litter Long Island? With automobiles clogging our roads day and night, do we really need another development that is entirely dependent upon trucks and cars?

For once I would like to see local political leaders do some creative thinking, petition state government to regain the Pilgrim land for the benefit of all Long Islanders, and compensate Wolkoff fairly for his troubles.

James J. McDonald, Deer Park

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

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