Thursday, July 17, 2008

Civic Activist Keith Scalia Speaks to Oyster Bay Town Board About Hicksville Development or lack there-of

Keith Scalia who was attacked by Town Supervisor Venditto for speaking out about wrong-headed development returns to the Town Board to point out that now is the time to revitalize Hicksville when planning a new garage... you know, after the last one crumbled from disrepair.

Below are portions of his remarks which weren't taken too kindly by the republican Town Board. Follow this link to get a .pdf of the whole thing. It is worth the read.

"When new development throughout the Town of Oyster Bay is proposed, one might be just able to hear the fear-mongering of certain town officials; mantras that we have all become accustomed to such as “We certainly don’t need to become the sixth borough of the City of New York. This town has a personality and a quality of life that we all cherish and we need strong hands at the reins of leadership in this town to protect it.” Contrary of what one is led to believe, the sixth borough is already here, and it is masquerading as Hicksville. This fact has been recognized for nearly forty years as study upon study has been commissioned and shelved as far back as 1969 and as recently as 2008. These studies highlight the need for redevelopment of what is commonly referred to as the Hicksville Triangle, all discussing the need for a coordinated, pedestrian-friendly community with apartments and retail centered around a train station that is the busiest in Nassau County. As part of the plans, it has been noted that the current location of the Town garage is not optimal as it doesn't allow for the easy flow of traffic. The condemnation of the garage provides the Town with a perfect opportunity to not only relocate the garage, but to implement the aforementioned plans and revitalize downtown Hicksville."

"Currently, Hicksville is a mish-mosh of 19th and 20th Century development. However, Hicksville should be a bustling downtown where young, upwardly mobile people who work in the City can rent a legal apartment or buy an affordable workforce co-op or condo; a community where people could walk to the train station, and stop off at the many shops and restaurants or cultural centers along the way. A community such as this would bring additional tax revenue to the Town, thus lessening the burdensome taxes already paid by Town residents by attracting non-Hicksville residents to stop and shop and/or eat in Hicksville instead of just driving through or parking at the train station as they currently do."

"The Town of Oyster Bay Democratic Committee questions the rationale of building forty million dollar garage. We ask you Councilman Delligatti - How does this forty million dollar garage balance the need for growth while ensuring the quality of life we cherish on Long Island that you assured us of? We ask you Councilman Muscarella how does a forty million dollar garage guide the Town into the 21st Century? And to you Councilman Macagnone how does a forty million dollar parking garage promote the health, safety and general welfare of Town of Oyster Bay residents?

Hicksville should be considered the “Heart of Oyster Bay,” not only for its location but also for all that it can and could offer to the Town. Certainly the Citizens of Hicksville and all residents that reside in the Town of Oyster Bay are deserving of an overhaul of this critical transportation hub. When Vision 2020 was announced, Supervisor Venditto stated nothing “is more important to the future of this Town than good planning." The Town of Oyster Bay Democratic Committee would like to ask “What is this Board's plan?” It is our contention that to just throw money after the fact is another miss-step; a forty million boondoggle that hides this current town board’s lack of foresight. Let us learn from the mistakes of Cerro Wire. This is a unique opportunity for Hicksville to rise up from the crumbling rubble, only to be reborn into vibrant 21st Century pedestrian-friendly downtown; an opportunity to create something that young people will wish to live near; an opportunity to attract new tax paying businesses which create excitement and new jobs. Most importantly, it isn't just another Town of Oyster Bay band-aid, but addresses the most pressing issues facing our community for this generation, and generations to come.

Keith Scalia"

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