Preliminary construction of the Belmont Park redevelopment project is just around the corner with a brand-new New York Islanders arena and 435,000-square-foot megamall thrown into the mix. Additionally, the project will include a movie theater, restaurants and a 24-story 250-room hotel, among other amenities. As previously reported in the New Hyde Park Illustrated News, construction was supposed to start last month, but got pushed back to August, which is toward the end of the second quarter of this year.
While residents in local villages, such as Floral Park and Elmont, prepare for the project and its impacts, Senator Anna Kaplan has been meeting regularly with constituents and community groups from Elmont and Floral Park to ensure she’s hearing the concerns of all residents, who will be impacted by the Belmont redevelopment project.
Last Thursday, Kaplan provided an update to Floral Park’s West End Civic Association at the village’s recreation center about her efforts to advocate on behalf of residents, who had raised specific concerns, including fencing, tailgating and pollution, traffic concerns, among others.
When it comes to fencing, Floral Park residents, along with the superintendent of the Floral Park-Bellerose School District Dr. Michael Dantona, requested construction of a fence between Belmont’s north parking lot and Floral Park’s West End, which borders the lot along with Floral Park-Bellerose Elementary School.
Kaplan is advocating for a fence to be built as part of the project to help protect the village from suffering from additional traffic, which might drive through the residential area as a cut-through.
Additionally, Kaplan has been advocating for additional security to enforce tailgating restrictions that might come along from the various Islander games and potential concerts that will be held at the arena. Kaplan also told all parties involved in the redevelopment project that every effort must be made to mitigate light pollution off Belmont’s property by following industry best-practices to meet dark-sky standards.
With an influx of people visiting the area due to the arena, Kaplan has advocated for increased funding that is necessary to address traffic and security concerns that might arise from the project. Belmont Park also has its own Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station and is open only when Belmont Park is open. When it comes to LIRR service at Belmont Park, Kaplan has told Empire State Development that the redevelopment couldn’t go forward without the addition of a full-time, east/west train station to serve the project and the surrounding community.
Kaplan is also sponsoring a bill in Senate to create a 15-member community advisory board, which would appoint representatives from the Elmont and Floral Park communities, so that the voice of the community can continue to be heard with regard to Belmont Racetrack and its redevelopment. In terms of the bill, Kaplan has designated it as one of her end-of-session priorities and expects its passage very soon.
To read more about the potential bill, visit www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/S5481.