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OpinionEditorial

Newly elected officials can shape Long Island's future

A conceptual illustrative rendering of the Nassau Hub

A conceptual illustrative rendering of the Nassau Hub project is pictured here. Credit: RXR, BSE Global

There's an important thread that connects many of the winners on Election Day, one that can be woven into a forward path for Long Island.

Smart economic development of the region's largest available parcels should be paramount to every Long Islander. It's time for  our newly elected officials  and political veterans to take action that could improve the region's landscape.

That's most true for the Nassau Hub. Republicans have a tumultuous history  with the largest parcel with the most potential on the Island. Assuming Don Clavin becomes Hempstead Town's next supervisor, as appears likely, there's an opportunity to turn the page. Clavin told the Newsday editorial board last month that he supports the Hub plans, and is willing to consider more housing than what's proposed.

That bodes well for the $1.5 billion project, which now includes 500 units of housing and an innovation and research facility, along with entertainment, retail and hotel space.  But making it happen requires strong leadership from both Clavin and the Hempstead Town Board. A conceptual master plan will be submitted in the next few weeks. The approval process likely will carry into Clavin's term. The town will have input, and Clavin must not shy away from plans that include more height or additional housing. The town and Nassau County must be partners.

Those with long Hub memories recall that Clavin's running mate, incoming Town Clerk Kate Murray, was in part responsible for the rejection of the Lighthouse project  there a decade ago. But the key to the Hub puzzle now is Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, a Democrat who often votes with Republicans and had her own concerns about Lighthouse. Goosby is the co-chair of the Hub community benefits advisory group and should lead  in securing the needed approvals.

Clavin's other priority lies in Baldwin. The absence of two of the community's biggest proponents, outgoing Supervisor Laura Gillen and former town board member Erin King Sweeney, will leave a hole. Clavin said of new housing and commercial development in Baldwin, "If you build it, they will stay." He's right, and now he must get it built.

In Oyster Bay,  re-elected Supervisor Joseph Saladino must get Hicksville's redevelopment underway downtown and at the former Sears property, with the height necessary to create housing with prices that meet local needs.

Riverhead's new choice for supervisor, Yvette Aguiar, can push Calverton's Enterprise Park project out of the mud. In Glen Cove, reelected Mayor Tim Tenke should give Garvies Point and other developments the support they need, while addressing community concerns.

Then there's Suffolk County Supervisor Steve Bellone, long a proponent of big development ideas. He has to see the Ronkonkoma Hub to fruition, especially south of the train tracks. A convention center there, adjacent to a regional airport, makes sense. It will be up to Bellone to make sure a well-financed, well-thought-out project is executed, with plenty of public outreach. 

There always will be roadblocks to navigate with these projects. The election's over; the hedging and petty arguments can stop. It's time to get to work. — The editorial board

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