A major U.S. city is redesigning its downtown to include stores, hotel, offices, apartments and a college. The new plan is to renovate the fashion district of downtown Los Angeles, according to today's article in the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile in New York, Nassau County, like other areas of the country, continues to ponder how to remodel its own resources. Nassau Hub is the name for Nassau County's project.
What is exciting about the 10-acre L.A. development is its mix of R&E (research and engineering) that can inspire urban and suburban renewal. In this case, R&E means retail, restaurants, residential, entertainment and educational purposes.
The Nassau Hub has the components but lacks the physical connections to achieve the goal of a unified R&E location to serve residents and visitors. It also has the potential to become both a recreational and educational center for the college-bound and their parents.
City Market of Los Angeles project
The Californian plan covers about three blocks worth, or a "3.3-million-square-foot development that would bring a college, hotel, offices and apartments to the fashion district of downtown Los Angeles," the article said. The project is called the City Market of Los Angeles and is valued at $500 million to $1 billion.
City Market won't happen overnight. The approval process may take more than a year and development is planned to occur in stages over a couple of decades. The rebuilding effort should boost the economy while creating a destination for local, state, national and international travelers. A big draw will be one or more private colleges that is to be completed in the first phase. The City Market project recognizes the importance of an educational institution to creating a thriving community.
The Nassau Hub project
The Nassau Hub is located in the heart of the county. Its approximate 11 square miles include colleges, attractions, shopping, sports and recreational facilities: Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, Museum Row, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Roosevelt Field, Eisenhower Park, the County Government Center and the Grumman Property. The resources the City Market project seeks to start with are already available in central Nassau County. The problem is in the use and layout.
"Thousands of residents, employees, students and others live, work or travel to, within and through the area. This crucial economic center, so vital to the future of Nassau County, has substantial traffic congestion, lacks efficient and direct transit choices and includes large areas of disjointed land use patterns. These factors have contributed to long commutes, decreased environmental quality, and overall difficulty in traveling to, from and within the area," according to 2010 Nassau County Master Plan.
An ongoing Nassau Hub Study is evaluating options for solving these problems as the county moves ahead with other projects. Nassau County broke ground for a new state-of-art sports and recreation center in Eisenhower Park on Jan. 17. It will be located within walking distance to the Aquatic Center.
The Ice Center, an 85,000 square foot world-class facility with two NHL regulation-sized skating rinks and one outdoor recreational hockey rink, will host skating lessons, youth player development programs, tournaments, and hockey teams for all ages and skill levels. The facility will also include one full-size turf field with soccer and lacrosse lines, a sport court with four NBA/NCAA regulation basketball courts, a handball wall and a rollerblade and stroller path connecting the complex with the pre-existing paths that surround the Nassau County Aquatic Center.
"Creating this kind of sports entertainment destination will enhance our quality of life as well as create jobs and opportunities for residents," said County Executive Edward P. Mangano.
The Hub could become Long Island's R&E core if it continues to focus and rely on Long Island's greatest resource: its residents. The makeover could start with a college prep center. The City Market project recognizes the value of higher education serving as a development anchor. Nassau County can do this, too.
Long Island is fertile ground for teen brain power. Every year, students from high schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties win local, state and national scholarships and academic contests. For the 2013 Intel Science and Talent Search, two Long Islanders won $7,500 and a trip to Washington, D.C. as finalists.
Long Island is also home to learning-loving parents of the college-bound. An educational extension for continued learning and career planning could serve both parents and children. Traditional classroom, online learning or a combo could be created. College prep is useful for those considering a change in career paths. An employment center could match skills with jobs.
Emphasizing job and college prep while coordinating educational and recreational opportunities could better serve the local population and curb the brain drain as residents attend colleges off Long Island, travel elsewhere for sporting and entertainment events, or seek to move away for employment.
As for a better mode of transportation around the Nassau Hub, a monorail system could be the answer. It can connect the main R&E hub without adding to traffic.
Parents and students could grab their swim suits, ice skates, soccer balls, and books, hop on the monorail, and flow from one activity to another. They could attend a class or commute to work. Or they could do all of the above. It would be their choice.
If you have questions or comments about the Nassau Hub makeover, click here to submit your questions and comments to Nassau County.
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