Suozzi pushing Lighthouse for Nassau growth

Originally published: September 23, 2009 8:23 PM
Updated: September 23, 2009 10:41 PM
By WILLIAM MURPHY  william.murphy@newsday.com

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi sketched out his vision for economic growth Wednesday, and made yet another pitch for the Lighthouse project, one of the key components of that vision.Suozzi made his presentation on what he calls “new suburbia,” on the lower level of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which would be renovated as part of the megaproject.

The event was meant to promote Suozzi’s broad plan, but the setting, the participants and the comments were all Lighthouse related. And the session came on the heels of a daylong hearing on Islanders owner Charles Wang‘s project before the Hempstead town board.

After the scripted panel discussion on the overall plan, Suozzi said the Lighthouse was “the symbol of the whole thing,” then corrected himself to call it, “one of the symbols.”

He was once again critical of the Town of Hempstead for not moving faster to approve the project, which was one of the four large projects he hopes to pull off in the next few years.

But Suozzi’s Republican opponent for county executive, Legis. Edward Mangano of Bethpage, said Suozzi’s comments about the town were “yet another installment of the Suozzi blame game, where he blames every other level of government for his own shortcomings.”

“A real leader, after eight long years in office, would be talking about his accomplishments rather than recycled Election Day sound bites,” Mangano said.

Suozzi’s other projects — much less advanced — are the redevelopment of Belmont Park and the adjacent area of Elmont, the 105-acre Grumman plot in Bethpage where he envisions an incubator for high-tech business, and the redevelopment of the Glen Cove waterfront.

The presentation formalized comments Suozzi has been making for several months about 90 percent of the county being “what people love about the suburbs” and should remain unchanged, while 10 percent should be redeveloped.

That would include the four megaprojects, proposed or existing “cool downtowns” near transportation hubs, and upgrades to existing commercial strips around the county.

Suozzi announced the formation of a “90/10 Coalition” that includes planners, educators, community groups, labor and others.

However, Lisa Tyson of the Long Island Progressive Coalition said at the presentation that she had not seen plans to make a grass-roots connection. “How do we get to my cousin, who doesn’t go to these things?” Tyson said.