2014-03-14 / Editorial/Opinion

A Tale Of Two Wastelands

Last week The Wave presented an update on the Neponsit Home Care Center which sits vacant and decaying on the oceanfront. Millions of dollars are being wasted by leaving it unused.

Some people prefer to leave things as they are. Sorry, after 16 years it’s time to do something with a hulking, graffiti-strewn structure that is both an eyesore and a money pit. It casts an ugly shadow over the otherwise beautiful west end.

We urge City Councilman Eric Ulrich to kick-start an effort to engage city officials on developing this property. If state legislation is required to change the deed limitations (the grounds must be used for park land or health care) then State Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder should get right to work.

Sixteen years. Enough already.

Meanwhile on the east end, there is renewed talk of what will happen on 81 acres of oceanfront in the area called Arverne East. City Councilman Donovan Richards has been pushing a Community Benefits Agreement, which essentially calls upon the developers to commit to agreements with locals regarding jobs, building use, open spaces and the like. That’s fine.

Here’s the real issue, however. The current developers were awarded the rights to the property in 2006. What’s been done? Nothing. Eight years. Enough already.

The Bluestone Organization, L&M Equity Participants and Triangle Equities are the developers. Last year they held a design competition inviting groups from around the world to submit ideas about how to develop the area. Very clever but not convincing. A winning entry was selected but it’s non-binding. The competition was essentially a stall tactic. The developers could tell the city and HPD (the agency in charge) that they’re hard at work in this post-Sandy era.

We’re told more substantial plans will be revealed in the spring. We know infrastructure needs are critical and expensive. Edgemere Avenue from Beach 60th to Seagirt Boulevard needs to be widened, for instance. But if these developers can’t get started, if they can’t get funding, they shouldn’t be able to tie up the property indefinitely.

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