What’s next?, is always the question when things change. So after the Cedarhurst sewage treatment plant was decommissioned in 2016, what’s next has been a discussion that is now nearly six years old.
Cedarhurst Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said discussions on the site have taken place with the Lawrence School District for a “couple of years.” The former plant property is 3.2 acres. It is located on a site that in total is 6.25 acres and houses the village’s Department of Public Works and assorted trucks and equipment. Previously, Weinstock said with the plant facing Peninsula Boulevard, the village was unsure how the land could be used.
There was talk that the school district wanted the land for a new middle school. Weinstock said that talk focused on a venue that would benefit the community such as a community center.
As Lawrence village’s sewage treatment plant was decommissioned at the same time, then village Trustee Uri Kaufman, who had previously served on the Lawrence School District’s Board of Education, floated the idea of a community center on Lawrence village land.
The Lawrence School District was looking to purchase the property for a community center, not a school, Weinstock said. “The interest is true,” he said. “They told us many times for many years that they would like that property from the village,” he said. “The use that they told us was a community center. Not a school, but they were very vague.” The property is at the northwest corner of Peninsula Boulevard, and adjacent to Lawrence High School.
Weinstock said he had spoken with members of the Lawrence school board inquiring about the property, which included Board of Education President Murray Forman. Weinstock confirmed the talks took place, however Forman denied the reports of any recent discussions on the land. “There are no active discussions,” Forman said. “They were the most preliminary of exploratory of discussions.”
Cedarhurst village officials said they were open to hearing from potential developers on what ideas they may have had on the use of the property. “Quite honestly, we didn’t have a use in mind,” Weinstock said. “We wanted to put out a request of proposals where we asked developers to propose both a use and price.”
In 2009, Cedarhurst and Lawrence and Nassau agreed to a plan that now has the sewage generated by the villages sent to a pumping station in Inwood then to the Bay Park Sewage Treatment in East Rockaway.
Cedarhurst and Lawrence applied for loans from New York State’s Environmental Facility Corp. to reimburse the county for the work required to divert the sewage from their plants to Bay Park. The county took ownership of both plants in January 2012. Then in October of 2015 the switch was flipped and the sewage began heading to East Rockaway.