What West Hempstead really needs

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Ambrosino said he has several initiatives in place focusing on neighborhood beautification efforts, but no details had been made available as the Herald went to press.

What residents have to say

When the Herald asked a random sampling of West Hempstead residents their opinions on what would make the hamlet a better place, it became clear that illegal rentals, overcrowded homes and the Capri Motel Inn were high on their list of concerns.

“When a sex offender checks into the neighborhood, the schools always send out a notice, and they’re always staying at the Capri,” said Theresa Walz, a West Hempstead resident for 20 years. “Usually when they stay there they don’t stay there that long. “

As of Monday, there was only one registered sex offender living at the Capri, and a total of 13 living in West Hempstead, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Systems website, www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/.

Caitlin Close, a retired New York City police officer, said that in addition to sex offenders, drug addicts and prostitutes also frequent the Capri. “I grew up in the West Hempstead area, and the Capri has always been a seedy place, but now it’s gone to the next level,” she said. “There were never hookers, drug addicts and panhandlers there. And it’s located only two blocks from a school.”

Close said that the Capri recently completed exterior renovations, and a liquor store opened up next door about six weeks ago. “Politicians know there’s this problem at the Capri, yet they approve of the renovations and a liquor store being placed right next to it?” she said. “You’re making it so easy for the derelicts to live there.”

She added that panhandlers, who frequent the 7-Eleven down the block, are often shooed away by police, only to appear again minutes later. “I want to be able to send my kids to the 7-Eleven without having to worry about this,” she said.

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