Floral Park mayor, residents voice displeasure about new arena, LIRR station plan

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FLORAL PARK -

Elmont is set to get Long Island's first new full-time Long Island Rail Road station in nearly 50 years, but some residents in a neighboring community aren't on board.

Many Floral Park residents say the latest plan to build a state-of-the-art arena for the New York Islanders in nearby Elmont, along with a new LIRR station just west of the village, is a game-changer. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the project's backers say it will bring thousands of jobs to the area, and nearly $50 million in revenue.

Village Mayor Dominic Longobardi says the plan will fundamentally change the area.

MORE: Proposed Belmont Park arena would include new Elmont LIRR station 

"We get no benefits from this at all, there is no payment to us, there are no taxes to us, there is no income to us, security alone is estimated to what could be $2.3 million in additional expense to us, for police to just make sure we have the quality of life we have now," says Longobardi.

Maintaining that quality of life is a major concern for many Floral Park residents like civic leader Matthew Sexton.

"We are an area where you are allowed to have your kids play on the street, you can walk the streets safely and I don't know if we can maintain that quality of life with this project moving forward," says Sexton.

One longtime resident says she's proud of living in a small town and thinks outsiders will ruin it. Others say while they're not thrilled, they will come to accept it eventually.

"I guess you have to stay with the town and the times, and if you want to make a buck you've got to do what the people want, and that's what they want," says Mike Evard, of Floral Park. "That's what will sell. That's what will bring jobs, and that's a good thing."

Longobardi says the village will continue to study the project and consider its options. Meanwhile, civic leaders say some residents are considering filing a lawsuit to stop the project.

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