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OpinionEditorial

Look past the sea of asphalt at the Nassau Hub

An illustration from developers who want to build

An illustration from developers who want to build on Nassau County-owned land at the Coliseum. Photo Credit: RXR, BSE Global

When Nassau County lawmakers vote Monday on whether to allow development of 77 acres of county-owned land at the Nassau Hub to move forward, they’re not voting on proposal details or whether construction can start. In essence, they’re voting on whether they want any economic activity at the Hub, or whether they’d prefer the asphalt surrounding Nassau Coliseum to remain as is.

It’s not much of a choice. There’s no real reason why any member of the Nassau County Legislature should vote no.

By voting yes, legislators would approve a development plan agreement and Coliseum lease amendments so developers Scott Rechler and Brett Yormark can advance their plans for retail, entertainment, research and office space, along with housing.

But some lawmakers, including Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, spent the last few weeks threatening to say no, and perhaps cause another stillbirth of a much-needed centerpiece for Nassau. The Hub has gone through many political boxing rounds already. Abrahams now says he thinks he will give the project the go-ahead. Let’s hope so.

There’s a lot to do. Yes, there should be an agreement to provide the community with resources and benefits, based on what residents need and want. Yes, there should be an agreement with labor, but only if the unions can handle the workload and make a deal that’s economically viable. And whether the developers should receive tax incentives will have to be evaluated once there are site plans and financial details.

The county legislature and the Town of Hempstead will have time to hold Rechler and Yormark to their promises before granting final approvals. For now, the legislature should say yes to the possibility of something more than a parking lot at the Hub.— The editorial board

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