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Long Islanders pack public hearing on proposed casino for the Nassau Hub

Las Vegas Sands Corporation released this rendering of aspects of a proposed entertainment destination on the Nassau Coliseum property.
The Sands Corp.
Las Vegas Sands Corporation released this rendering of aspects of a proposed entertainment destination on the Nassau Coliseum property.

Hundreds of Long Islanders sounded off at Thursday's public hearing on plans to build a casino and resort at the Nassau Hub in Uniondale. The $4 billion project drew supporters excited about the revenue and job opportunities, and detractors who raised concerns that a casino would bring crime, traffic and pollution.

The proposal by Las Vegas Sands would transform the Nassau Coliseum and the surrounding area with a casino, two hotels, a conference center and three parking garages. Plans are underway to study the impacts on the drinking water supply, air and noise pollution, and traffic. The public hearings are part of the environmental review process required by the state.

Supporters applauded the project as an economic powerhouse of revenue and job opportunities.

“We, as an organization, stand firmly behind the Sands project," said John Durso, president of the Long Island Federation of Labor. "We do it not just for the jobs, but for the careers, the opportunity for Long Island to benefit."

Green signs reading "Yes to Sands" and "Opportunities for Long Islanders" peppered the crowd of about 300 at the Long Island Marriott ballroom, alongside detractors holding up red signs that read "Say NO to the Casino."

"I am very against this casino for all of the reasons — the crime, the traffic, the environment," said Julie Berger, who lives near the proposed site and is also a union member.

“We could build something else — something that's healthier for Nassau County, something that's not terrible for Nassau County,” said Berger.

The project has the endorsement of the environmental lobbyist group, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

“Frankly, no matter what we put there, we are going to have more traffic, we are going to use water, we're going to have energy consumption and we're going to have waste generation,” said Adrienne Esposito of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, adding that the group will serve as a watchdog for the project. “The question is, are we going develop that area with a company that believes in environmental stewardship or [with one] that doesn't care about the environment?”

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.