It’s far from clear whether an Indian gaming facility in Calverton would be a good thing for Riverhead or neighboring Brookhaven Town, or whether the Shinnecock Nation even wants to build on eastern Long Island.
But this much does appear clear: The 131 acres of farmland adjacent to Splish Splash seems to be the best location pitched so far for Calverton.
The property has 36 acres more than the parcel to the west being shopped by landowner Jan Burman at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, or EPCAL.
The farmland already sits next to a recreational facility, the water park, while a Shinnecock casino at the Burman property at EPCAL would neighbor a massive, noisy and growing industrial park. In addition, there’s no direct access to EPCAL from the Long Island Expressway, which would force traffic jams onto two- and four-lane highways. The land next to Splish Splash is right off of the LIE.
The access problem would also pertain to the EPCAL land that Riverhead Resorts is hoping to purchase from Riverhead Town, land on which the Resorts group would partner with the Shinnecocks to incorporate a casino into their proposed theme resorts project.
That’s the biggest long shot for a casino site, as it appears Riverhead Resorts is having major trouble securing finances. And if Riverhead Town were to deal directly with the Indians, the process would be much more lengthy, given the myriad government agencies that would need to be involved in the transfer process. That’s not to mention the issue of protected and endangered species that will surely slow down any building plans for the EPCAL land.
The owners of the Calverton farmland make their pitch to the Shinnecocks today in Hauppauge. We hope the tribe members are responsive. While great and careful consideration is needed in deciding whether or not to go ahead with casino plans here, it’s always good for taxpayers to have options. As for the Indians, this 131-acre parcel would seem like a good option.