Long Island Cares’ Chief Executive Officer, Paule T. Pachter was one of several community leaders providing testimony in support of a proposal by RXR Realty and BSE Global to redevelop the Nassau Coliseum property during a public hearing in front of the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola on Monday, November 27, 2018. The following is Mr. Pachter’s testimony:
Thank you for this opportunity to address the members of the legislature in support of the proposal presented by RXR developers and BSE global, to reimagine the property surrounding the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, more commonly referred to as the hub.
I’m sure that some of you are wondering why the regional food bank is taking a position on a development project. It’s actually the type of issue that those of us working with people in need should be concerned about. Our work at Long Island Cares is much more diverse than the provision of emergency food to feed the 272,000 of our neighbors in need. Our work has always been about what we can do as a humanitarian organization, and as a region to lift people up and improve their opportunities to become more self-sufficient.
I believe that the current proposal by RXR and BSE global can achieve the objective of lifting our region and many of its residents up both culturally and economically. As part of the proposal, the developers have committed to creating good paying jobs for many Long Islanders who remain underemployed. They’ve identified core groups of Veterans, minorities and other populations that will benefit from jobs in the construction trades, entertainment, healthcare, retail industry and other areas that are an integral part of this major project. The creation of good paying jobs is an important part of our mission because it allows people to move out of poverty, and improve the quality of life for themselves and their families.
The RXR and BSE global project also touches upon a major obstacle for young people and families in Nassau County, and that is the limited availability of affordable housing. There are too many young people between the ages of 21-34 who can’t afford to move out of their family home, and are living in basement apartments. Young people who are working and attending college are buried under debt for their foreseeable futures in Nassau County. To be asked to spend upwards of 50% of their income on housing is unrealistic and unconscionable. The housing component within this proposal I believe recognizes this reality, and takes a significant first step in developing real workforce housing for our young residents.
For decades, the Nassau hub has served as a political albatross, dividing local government, civic organizations and catering to the nimbyism that often defines our region. Our region has changed. Our residents have changed. Our economics have changed, and our politics have changed. It’s time we look towards our future and the needs of our changing demographics. I encourage you to support the RXR and BSE global proposal to develop the property surrounding the coliseum through a bold vision of not who we are but, what we can be.