I woke up on the morning of Jan. 26 to a text from my dad: “14 inches of new snow.” For the first time since I have been back on campus at Binghamton University, I was happy not to be in West Hempstead.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow, but seriously? This December and January, we got more snow, and more snow days, than I can ever remember.
With each snow day, the town seemed to stop; but, with all of the construction, reconstruction and demolition expected in West Hempstead in the coming months, I am worried that the snow will prevent their completion. I have high hopes for the future of West Hempstead. Here are a couple of the things I would like to see completed before I come home in May. (This list will expand as the snow starts to melt.) Dear Mother Nature, please stop snowing so they can happen!
1. Farewell Courtesy Hotel
The demolition of the has been a long time coming. I remember when I was in middle school, eight years ago, the complaints were coming at full force but nothing was being done. In just three months in 2008, 14 arrests were made at the Courtesy, not including the numerous calls for service, case reports and field investigations according to Close the Courtesy, a blog created to fight for the hotel’s closure. My parents always told me to stay away from the Courtesy, especially at night, and I have never been on the West Hempstead line of the Long Island Rail Road because of its close proximity to the hotel.
A developing company, Mill Creek, entered a purchasing agreement and the building’s owner ; but the word “temporary” that is lingering over all discussion of the closing, not to mention that it is scrawled on the boards placed outside the entrance (See photo.) makes me worry. Mill Creek is waiting on a demolition permit, which cannot come soon enough. Even if the only progress between now and May is the demolition, and the empty space is still fenced in with construction vehicles and rubble, it will be 100 percent better than passing the Courtesy on my drives down Hempstead Avenue.
2. Revamping of Hall’s Pond Park
I know the pond has only been closed since the summer, and technically reconstruction is just beginning, but it would be nice to have it open again for summer 2011! The planned renovations include a new gazebo and amphitheater, improved walkways and bridge, a drinking fountain and more.
Growing up I would spend time at __ with my friends, especially junior and senior years of high school when we had an open campus and would walk through the park as a shortcut to _'_ and __. I look forward to the day when garbage does not fill the water and graffiti does not cover the benches. The community also plans summer concerts in the park, and this improved space will allow members of West Hempstead and neighboring Malverne to spend a warm summer night by the pond.
Here's hoping that this week's __ by our nearby groundhog, Malverne Mel, of an early spring will come true so we can continue to move forward on these projects and other plans to make the community even better!