Officials spar over Hempstead Village makeover
The Village of Hempstead signed a major deal to redevelop its downtown business district.
Mayor Wayne Hall announced Tuesday that the developer Renaissance Downtown would head the project.
Donald Monti, the development company's CEO, says the project will add more than 10,000 construction jobs, 6,000 permanent jobs and more than $2 billion in economic activity.
But some residents say the project is too ambitious for the village's limited space.
The plan calls for turning 14 parking lots into sites for new buildings, which critics say will result in less parking, more traffic and overcrowding.
Hempstead Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby says it's especially problematic that the plan would replace a public parking garage on Washington Avenue with 336 new apartments.
Village Trustee Donald Ryan scolded Monti face to face.
"What you have done is a disservice to our residents, and I'm disappointed in you," Ryan said. "I'm sorry we brought you on as our master developer because your approach is simply for you and not for us."
But Mayor Hall maintains that the village needs the redevelopment, and says that the project has gone through many public hearings.
Opponents say they're exploring legal options to block the project. Groundbreaking is set for April.