After a contentious election season, Mayor Alan Beach, Deputy Mayor Hilary Becker and the board of trustees all said they looked forward to working together to move the village forward.
Beach overcame a heated mayoral campaign against him by Becker, but said he was ready to put their issues aside to improve the village. Beach received 77 percent of the vote on March 19.
“I’m going to do what’s best for the village,” he said. “I will work for the betterment of this village. I appreciate everything the residents have shown me. They trust me, and I appreciate their trust.”
Beach appointed Becker deputy mayor in December 2017. Becker announced the formation of the Preserve Lynbrook Party this January, which included trustee candidates Antoniella Tavella and Steve Ligouri — who, along with independent candidate David O’Neill, lost to incumbents Ann Marie Reardon and Robert Boccio on Election Day.
Becker launched a vigorous challenge against Beach and the New Vision Party, which included circulating mailers claiming that they lied about the cancellation of the controversial Cornerstone at Lynbrook apartment proposal. Despite the intense race, Becker said he would work amicably with the board going forward.
“I look forward to working with everybody,” Becker said. “It was a tough campaign, but hopefully we can all put those differences aside and do the right thing for the residents moving forward, and that would be to work together for the betterment of the entire village.”
Beach said that he and the board have many short- and long-term goals. He looks forward, he said, to finding new ways to increase the tax base, including enticing businesses to open downtown. In addition, he plans to increase safety measures, including the installation of 17 security cameras across the village and the addition of Lynbrook Police Department bike patrols. He added that he was also pushing to rename the village pool in honor of Gene Scarpato, who was mayor from 1995 to 2006 and was instrumental in opening the facility two decades ago.
Another major development in the village will be the conversion of the popular Hot Skates roller rink into a storage facility. Hot Skates closed for good last weekend, signaling the end of an era in Lynbrook. The rink had been a fixture at 14 Merrick Road for decades, but Georgia-based Mequity Acquisitions LLC began the process of purchasing the building last fall. Now that it is closed, the facility will be razed, and Mequity will construct a three-story, 128,000-square-foot storage facility, to be called CubeSmart, at the site.
Becker said he believed officials should hire a firm to develop a strategic master plan to determine the area’s needs. He said the plan should include feasibility studies and delve into which projects would add the most tax revenue and improve foot traffic, while not negatively impacting traffic and parking, and that he hoped his peers would agree.
“You have to put your differences aside,” he said. “We’re all grownups, and we have to work together because that’s what the residents deserve. Fighting and bickering is not conducive to doing what’s best for the village.”
Boccio, who was appointed trustee by Beach in 2017 and has been re-elected to the seat twice since then, expressed the hope that things would be civil with Becker after the controversial election.
“Obviously, we are all very disappointed with the tactics and rhetoric employed by the Becker team during this past election,” Boccio said. “However, it is our responsibility as a board to find existing common ground with Mr. Becker, so that the village continues to move forward. It is my hope that Mr. Becker shares a similar outlook.”
Boccio said he has many goals for the future of Lynbrook. They include increasing LPD foot patrols; pressing the Long Island Rail Road to complete the planned $17.9 million upgrade to the Lynbrook train station; seeking smart development initiatives that are in keeping with the village’s character; and seeing the completion of the Greis Park Master Plan, which is being handled by the Colorado-based GreenPlay LLC.
Reardon said her top priorities are to increase the tax base and attract smart business development. Regarding working with Becker, she said she would put Lynbrook first.
Trustee Michael Hawxhurst, who is a member of the New Vision Party and was the only board member not involved in the election, said he was confident that the board could work cohesively again. He noted that his top priorities are to make sure there are no tax increases in the budget and to expand exemption limits for seniors to ensure that they can afford to live in the village.
Hawxhurst also spoke of the need for new businesses, citing Hot Skates’ going out of business and the recent closing of the Lynbrook Diner, which closed suddenly on March 12, after 90 years. “We need to focus on bringing the best businesses to our residents,” he said.
Hawxhurst also said that the vacant Mangrove Feather factory, on Broadway and Saperstein Place, and the much-maligned Lynbrook Capri Motor Inn, on Freer Street, are eyesores that need to be dealt with.
Representatives of the Garden City-based Breslin Realty have been in negotiations with Feather Factory building owner Barry Singer since November 2017 to purchase and redevelop the site. Beach said that if any progress was made, residents would be notified, and the board would seek their input.
Last November, village officials unanimously voted to revoke the Capri owners’ room-rental license, citing multiple drug overdose deaths and arrests for assault, prostitution and drug possession there. The owners have appealed the decision to the Lynbrook Zoning Board. Officials have long sought to redevelop the site.