The vision for a revolutionary concept of an entertainment facility in Suffolk County is essential to the revitalization of the entire state. This would be a joint venture between the Unkechauga and Shinnecock Nations, the State of New York and of course Suffolk County. I have spent some time discussing this concept with individuals throughout the county as well as the communities surrounding our neighbors in Connecticut. After carefully examining the improvements and growth of the communities surrounding the Mohegan Sun and Foxwood casinos, I feel that the overwhelming positives outweigh any community concerns.
For the sake of completeness I shall present a series of initiatives necessary to facilitate this sort of project. Please keep in mind that this is only a proposal to demonstrate my ability to draft a visionary plan for our community.
In the course of drafting this concept I determined that there are certain issues that have led me to my current realm of thought. The first is the lack of sufficient land to accommodate such a facility on either of the two reservations on Long Island. Therefore I determined that in order to even propose such a venture these two tribes would have to share the facility. Furthermore since the facility would have to be built off tribal lands, the county should have some investment in the project. This line of thought naturally led me to search for a viable location.
In determining the location for my concept I carefully looked as several factors. The first is transportation, which has been a major stumbling point for the Shinnecock reservation located in Southampton Township. I made a simple list of the sorts of transportation necessary to make this venture an operational success. On my short list were road, rail and air transportation. After reviewing maps and aerial footage thanks to Google, I concluded that, based on the availability of road, rail and air transportation, there is a suitable site of available land near exit 65 of the LIE.
The first initiative is the extension of third rail electric service from Ronkonkoma to Medford near the proposed site. In addition this particular location is ideal for west bound rail transport of people from the eastern end of Long Island. Pedestrian travelers could easily make the transition to LIRR for transport to the entertainment complex. This initiative should include the construction of a new “Green” railroad station, to accommodate the anticipated influx of travelers from both the city and east end. This new station should be build in close proximity to the entertainment so as to facilitate immediate conveyance into the casino complex. Obviously these improvements will create numerous temporary construction jobs followed by long term sustainable jobs for the community.
The first initiative is the extension of third rail electric service from Ronkonkoma to Medford near the proposed site. This initiative should include the construction of a new “Green” railroad station, to accommodate the anticipated influx of travelers from both the city and the east end. This new station should be built in close proximity to the entertainment so as to facilitate immediate conveyance into the casino complex. In addition this particular location is ideal for west bound rail transport of people from the eastern end of Long Island. Pedestrian travelers could easily make the transition to LIRR for transport to the entertainment complex. Obviously these improvements will create numerous temporary construction jobs followed by long term sustainable jobs for the community.
The second consideration is sewage treatment operations. An entertainment complex of this magnitude will require some revolutionary facilities to protect the local environment. This may take the form of extending the underground sewage system lines from neighboring Patchogue or quite possibly an entirely new system. In either case it is an absolutely necessary step which will also create numerous temporary construction jobs followed by long term sustainable jobs for the community.
Stage three would include improvements to the outlying road infrastructure. Without such improvements it may be difficult to accommodate the vehicle traffic required for necessities such as food service deliveries, tour buses, entertainer entourages and general community transport.
The actual casino complex should consist of two entertainment venues, one small and the other medium. In addition there should be an indoor shopping mall with three or four restaurants and various specialty boutiques. Finally it should have the obvious gaming areas with limited hotel accommodations. I am estimating between 50 and 80 rooms in total with two large business meeting event rooms.
The idea is to stimulate growth in the surrounding area not just in one condensed location. Keeping the hotel accommodations smaller will encourage other hospitality organizations to build hotels in near by towns to meet the demand. Following this model will spread the tourist dollars out more evenly throughout the county.
The two entertainment venues will draw performers which will in turn draw more tourists to the area, and will attract more advertising revenue, aiding in the economic stimulation as proposed.
It is clear this proposal will bring hundreds (possibly thousands) of long term sustainable jobs into the region. Many of these jobs will be entry level retail, hospitality and food services related. However there will also be high tech information services and security systems personnel needed. A substantial subset of this will be unionized labor needed to maintain the entire infrastructure.
In addition it is highly likely that this venture will finally create the long sought after ‘Reverse’ commuters needed to stimulate the LIRR’s bottom line. It has long been argued that an increase in ridership will reduce the need to raise fares as much or as often if trains were more fully utilized.
Ultimately the tax revenue will help stimulate the economy and help offset the area’s higher than average property taxes. All of Suffolk County will benefit from the plan. Further, the complex will reduce the County’s tax burden on the state leaving more for funds available for upstate development.