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Monday, September 1, 2014
It's time to talk about the Bridge
(Page 2 of 3)
John Maher

Maybe that question is irrelevant now. But it’s time to do something. And the village has indeed made steps. Just days after the crime, much of the brush around the bridge had been cleared up and the area was being power washed under the watchful eye of Fire Chief John Thorp, and the mayor has promised to install lighting to make the area even harder to hide in. But why didn’t that happen sooner?

It’s time for Rockville Centre to take preventative measures instead of coming late to clean the scene of a crime. The cleanup is a start — both bridges should indeed remain well lit, cleaned and occasionally patrolled. And when the drinking teens inevitably scurry off to another spot — and the public inevitably learns about said spot days later — the same sort of action should be taken.

But it doesn’t stop there. It stops when the youth of this town have a place to go that isn’t some unknowing parent’s basement or a bridge by a dark park.

This, too, is an age-old problem. When I was in middle school here, we had few options for weekend evening entertainment: the movie theater, the bowling alley, and loitering by Starbucks. Now that my youngest brother is 15, he’s told me about the options he has: the movie theater, the bowling alley, and Starbucks.

Where is our bookshop — you know, the one like Huntington’s Book Revue, with events and food and lots of space? Where’s our independent coffee shop — you know, the one that has enough room to hang out in, not just to walk through? Where is the incentive for places like this to move into Rockville Centre — you know, the places that aren’t just new restaurants and bars?

I don’t know. But I do know that the mayor has been extremely successful in bringing in lots of grant money for sports complexes and parks. Those are great assets for our kids during the day. But maybe a grant to secure a place for teens to gather at night wouldn’t be such a bad thing?

This isn’t a novel idea. The Rockville Centre Youth Council and Rockville Centre Lanes have recently teamed up to create a space within the bowling alley intended to allow teens to hang out and grab a cup of coffee or a snack. It’s a big step forward.

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