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Letters: Belmont Park and environs need vision

American Pharoah, ridden by Victor Espinoza, comes down

American Pharoah, ridden by Victor Espinoza, comes down the final stretch ahead of the field on his way to winning the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 6, 2015 in Elmont. Credit: Getty Images

As a community leader living in Elmont since 1967, I would like to thank Newsday's editorial board for an insightful view of the New York Racing Association and the Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont ["NYRA cashes winning ticket," June 9].

We agree that a minor league soccer stadium, a few restaurants and some retail are unlikely solutions for economic development and improvements for Elmont. What NYRA, Belmont Park and Elmont need is a strong vision of what we would like Belmont to become, year-round, for Elmont.

If there's going to be racing year-round, shouldn't the track be a resort where all ages can attend and enjoy? I could imagine a racetrack similar to the Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Florida, with an indoor water park and rides for the kids, hotel with spa, shopping and entertainment for all. But that plan needs a developer who understands that any plan must also include Hempstead Turnpike and possible use of eminent domain powers, as well as the removal of blight.

We can create a better future for the community and Belmont with a developer who can envision what others are too blind or closed-minded to see.

We need the governor and other state officials to reopen the request-for-proposals process. Let's not do the same-old, same-old for the sake of the few who will get rich, and leave the rest of us living in the shadows of wealth on the other side of the street.

Patrick Nicolosi, Elmont

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Elmont East End Civic Association.

The Belmont railroad spur was obviously added to increase access. Years ago, Belmont had large crowds more frequently.

The problem is the timing of trains. I have waited as long as 45 minutes for a train to get to the Main Line.

Yankee Stadium and Citi Field have thousands of people leaving the venues at the same time, but the subways run more frequently to take this into account.

Ray Hackinson, Ozone Park