First (and this shouldn’t even have to be said), leaders from both parties have to come together. Democrats blamed Republicans for killing the Lighthouse project. Republicans blamed Democrats for getting last year’s vote shot down. Neither side is entirely wrong, but the blame game has resulted in nothing, unless you consider the Islanders’ departure an accomplishment. Democrats and Republicans at all levels of government should sit down together and keep talking until meaningful progress is made. This shouldn’t be about one party ensuring that it gets all the credit.
Second, the Town of Hempstead created a zoning plan for the Coliseum property. Unfortunately, it was drafted well after the Lighthouse plan was proposed, which essentially doomed that project because there was no guidance for developers. Now there is. We know what kind of development the town is willing to accept. Any plan should meet its requirements so the process can be completed as quickly as possible.
Finally, our elected leaders should find out what the people want. Is there a need for affordable housing? What kind of shops do they want to see? What attraction should the Hub be built around? Do they want to see the existing Coliseum replaced or refurbished? The county should host numerous public hearings to gauge what residents want.
We’re glad that, despite the Islanders’ announcement that they are leaving, development of the Hub hasn’t been forgotten. But if the past is any indication, it’s hard to be optimistic that this time will be any different. Politicians must step up and prove they are serious about building a bigger, better Hub. That means working together. Imagine how great a vital Hub would be for Nassau County.