Thursday, October 25, 2007

Save EPCAL for industry

Indoor snow mountain mega-theme park or NASCAR race track? Which one?
How about neither?
The whole EPCAL site should be reserved for industrial development. The town should put in improvements, such as roads, and subdivide it so that it’s selling industrial lots and not 700-plus acre tracts. There’s no need to unload the land there all at once. They’re not making any more land, you know. Why have a fire sale? The land is money in the bank for the next generation.
When the town sells huge chunks of undeveloped land at EPCAL to private developers, it puts the fate of its economic development zone into the hands of private businesses that only have their own financial interests at heart. Look what happened with the sale of the so-called industrial core to a private developer. He flipped title to the buildings to eager purchasers before the ink on his deed from the town was dry, before he even had an approved subdivision. He did little to improve the site. And so it remains, dubbed “the Wild West,” a truly unappealing excuse for an industrial park.
The town should revisit the reuse plan developed for the site in 1997. It’s obsolete and unworkable and so is the zoning adopted to implement it. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think it was devised in a back room specifically to make sure nothing ever happened there. It’s been one of the most effective preservation plans ever adopted.
Eliminate the recreational zoning at EPCAL and develop the former Grumman site as the cohesive, high tech, light industrial center it should be. That’s what will fulfill the purpose behind the transfer of the property to the town: to reclaim the jobs and property taxes we lost when Grumman left. No theme park or hotel or race track or any of the other silly uses will do that.
The planned recreational district, if you look at the events of the past decade, is the source of most of the EPCAL fiascos that have made Riverhead the laughingstock of Long Island — and beyond. Over the years we’ve seen every cockamamie scheme for the site imaginable. The film studio plans. The failed Field Day rock concert, which resulted in Riverhead becoming a synonym for stupidity around the world. The air show “fundraiser” that had traffic backed up on Route 25 and William Floyd Parkway from EPCAL to Exit 68 on the LIE. The phony amusement park proposed by a group of NYC accountants who submitted a hokey business plan consisting of a three-ring binder filled with pictures of rides downloaded from the Internet and a phony letter of financial backing from a German investment company where one of the principals had formerly been employed? The Indian casino, courtesy of the Shinnecock tribe. And the water ski park on a man-made lake — where excavators, in their zeal to remove valuable sand, accidently struck ground water. Oops. The plan by Ken Wilpon to build a hotel/convention center and hundreds of homes there — which fizzled just after the last election. And along the way, proposals for sand mines disguised as golf courses, and even a zoo.
You could fill a book with the things that never happened at EPCAL. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, including at least one or two car racing complexes.
So when word came of a Scotsman proposing to build a 350-foot-tall indoor ski mountain at EPCAL, I shook my head, laughed and thought, “Yeah, sure, what’s next?” A lot of people had the same reaction. We’ve learned to take this stuff with a grain of salt. For good reason.
Will Riverhead Resorts ever really happen? If history is any guide, the answer is no. On the other hand, indoor ski trails are in operation and under construction all around the globe. They’re not as far out as you might think. But then, this is Riverhead. And Riverhead is just ... different.
Already there’s some confusion about exactly what Riverhead Resorts is planning — for real. Supervisor Phil Cardinale says the ski mountain isn’t critical to Riverhead Resports’ plan; it will go forward with its complex of multiple themed resorts with or without the artificial mountain. But the developer told L.I. Business News last week that the mountain is critical to its plan — as an “anchor” attraction. So which is it? In an interview with News-Review editor John Stefans this week, the developer’s rep tried to backpeddle, claiming he wasn’t correctly quoted in the other newspaper. The quote was “taken out of context” he told us.
But — whatever. The notion of eight theme parks at EPCAL — with or without a manmade mountain — is, to my mind, one of the more preposterous things I’ve heard proposed for the site. And that’s no small feat. How are all the people going to get there? The site has no suitable access. You think traffic on surrounding roads is bad now? Just wait. On a recent Sunday afternoon, traffic on Edwards Avenue was bumper to bumper from Route 25 to Calverton Links — nearly to the LIE! And that was just the pumpkin picking crowd.

5 comments:

Brad Berthold said...

Riverhead will finally have to make up its mind. Does it really want industry at EPCAL or not?

If,after years
of equivocation the answer is "yes," the problem becomes, what (if any) industry might be
suited for such a site? So far, the market has not shown many credible industries wanting to locate in isolated Riverhead, largely because of transportation problems for goods produced here.

Remember calls for an industrial airport, with light industry on the
grounds of a viable landing facility, which, I stress once more, is already there? Maybe it's time to get serious again.

Our national air transport problems,mentioned daily in the news, stem not mainly from air traffic control difficulties, experts say, but from "a lack of concrete," i.e., not enough runways and airports.
Look! There's one! It's at Riverhead! They've had it for
years. And they don't even use it!

Scared of NIMBYs who overstate concerns about noise, traffic, etc.
without having researched the realities, such as where aircraft traffic patterns would be, noise restriction options and dramatic improvements in quieting modern jet engines,the Town Board has also failed to thoroughly research the benefits of such an airport. (The helicopter situation certainly isn't helping matters.)

An aviation consultant hired by the town several years ago, paid with our tax dollars, never produced a report, or else the report was buried by officials, never to see the light of day. Try finding it (as I have) at
Town Hall. Good luck!

Industrial airports flourish all over the country. Why don't our
officials wake up and at least put the benefits of such operations on the table for realistic discussion?

NY State publishes figures about how much revenue each airport means
to the local economy. For most of the Long Island airports, like Islip,Gabreski, and Brookhaven, it's in the millions. What is Riverhead getting from its airport? Nothing but derision and ridicule, for its pathetic failure to take advantage of this sterling asset.

Riverhead is not on the "air map," so you can't fly conveniently to and from our area for whatever reason, be it business or
recreation. In fact, it's the only east end town without a public
airport. Even Southold has Mattituck air base, whose nationally reknowned engine overhaul shop brings solid revenue into the town each year.

We're not an idyllic country bumpkin town any more. If our
officials would wake up, they might be more forward looking and realize that squandering an airport they got for free might not be the most visionary idea a local pol could come up with.

A few decades from now, Riverhead would be happy it had an airport.
Without one, we're stuck in the the cherished but fiscally inadequate agricultural
and tourist economy of an earlier era, which could be beneficially
supplemented by a modern,well-managed aviation asset, as Grumman's facility once was.

I know it sounds like beating a dead horse, but the EPCAL horse
has been dead so many years, it's starting to stink. Maybe it's
time to rethink the issue yet again, before it's too late.

Brad Berthold

ceil said...

Hi Denise - Bravo! I couldn't agree with you more - and I know for a fact others feel the same way.

We were out with a group of friends last evening, and everyone
was totally against doing anything with EPCAL at this point. The the proposals are truly preposterous!

The ski-mountain thing is the "height of the ridiculous"

You know Denise - why don't you run for town Supervisor and set
these folks straight...I'll even go door to door for you...

Supershafts said...

Wow after reading that unresearched add i am truly surprised.

How about Neither, that is a answer i am surprised at...
I agree with the ski mountain especially after i have spoke with the FAA on the matter of hieght and location.
Plus skiing is not a heritage nor part history of Long Island, nor a birthplace to a sport in the billions of dollars of revenue.

Take a look at some places that enjoy motorsports.
Ask some of your freinds and family that have moved to other places about there taxes and states burdens put forth upon them, ask and see which of those states are flourishing in the money from Racing.
Ask if it's all the industrial parks helping them each and everyday or the Motorsports.

Here when you can get past prejudice see this, i'll do your research for you this way it won't hurt... Im just going to show you 2, since i don't want to waste to much of my time to prejudice views that are to clouded to see the truth...

#1.

ISC Operations Generate $2.3 Billion in Economic Benefit Each Year

International Speedway Corporation (Nasdaq: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) ("ISC") today announced the results of a state-wide economic impact study conducted by the ("WEG") of Coral Gables, FL. The study finds an overall statewide economic impact of $2.3 billion annually.

The economic impact study was conducted over a several month period utilizing the IMPLAN model, which analyzes both the direct and indirect benefits of an economic producer. Key components of the overall economic impact are:



-- $ 1.9 billion: Year-round operations and major events held at Daytona International Speedway -- $ 248 million: Year-round operations and major events held at Homestead-Miami Speedway -- $ 157 million: Employment and operations of ISC, NASCAR and Grand American Road Racing headquarters in Daytona Beach, FL

"The significant total annual economic impact of $2.3 billion places ISC as a top generator of economic benefits to the State of Florida, with important regional impacts in Central and South Florida," said WEG CEO J. Antonio "Tony" Villamil. "Furthermore, by enhancing the brand name of Florida as the global leader in motorsports, ISC provides significant ancillary benefits to the state. Among them is the increased attraction of visitors and sports oriented individuals to Florida."

The study also examined the future economic impact of the proposed Daytona Live! project, a mixed-use entertainment destination development to be located on 71 acres across from the Daytona International Speedway. Estimated economic impact during the construction phase of the project is $855 million. Once open, the facility will generate an estimated $172 million annually, increasing ISC's overall statewide economic impact to more than $2.4 billion each year.



Other noteworthy impacts related to ISC's Florida operations are:

-- Jobs: Over 38,000 jobs (direct and indirect) can be attributed to the company's operations. * Daytona International Speedway: 32,000 jobs (direct and indirect) * Homestead-Miami Speedway: 3,862 jobs (direct and indirect) * ISC/NASCAR/Grand Am Headquarters: 2,540 jobs (direct and indirect) -- Income: More than $1 billion in labor income is paid to these workers. * Daytona International Speedway: $856 million * Homestead-Miami Speedway: $107 million * ISC/NASCAR/Grand Am Headquarters: $85.7 million -- Taxes: Over $331 million in total tax revenue is generated, including $185 million in local and state taxes. * Daytona International Speedway: $155.4 million * Homestead-Miami Speedway: $18.1 million * ISC/NASCAR/Grand Am Headquarters: $11.4 million

"We are privileged to have the headquarters of ISC and NASCAR as well as two world-class motorsports venues, Daytona International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, in our great state," said Florida Governor Charlie Crist. "International Speedway Corporation brings visitors from all over the world to Florida to watch some of the most prestigious events in motorsports. I'm a fan, and it is no surprise to me the economic impact this sport has. Visitors to these events not only leave the Sunshine State with great memories of world-class racing, they spend millions of dollars while they are here."

# 2.

http://www.state.tn.us/taxstructurestudycommission/bms.pdf



Keep in mind isc has a few events a year probably 5, the bristol facilty has 2 events (6 days). Neither of these facilities are open 365 days a year....unlike the poor excuse the 3 empty heads of the town board approved..

Supershafts said...

The link got screwed up somehow.
The thing i hate about blogs over message boards is there is no edit function

http://www.state.tn.us/taxstructurestudycommission/ bms.pdf

Anonymous said...

GIVE US A DAMB RACETRACK SCREW YOUR PINE BARRENS.