The presentation drew an overflow crowd
GOSHEN – The auditorium at the Orange County Emergency Services Center in Goshen was filled to capacity Tuesday evening when Merlin Entertainments presented plans to build a Legoland resort during a special meeting of the Goshen Town Board.
Calling it a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said he believed those in attendance were overwhelmingly in support of the project. He did admit, however, that the biggest concern for the residents of Goshen, and for Legoland, is traffic.
“Legoland doesn’t want their customers to sit in traffic, because they won’t come back again or maybe they’ll change their mind in coming,” said Neuhaus. “The residents of Goshen don’t want to see their roads clogged up with people that are coming into this project. If they can overcome that hurdle, which I believe they will, they will be able to get this done.”
Maria Endrizzi attended the meeting holding a sign with Legoland crossed out. She said that a majority of the traffic for the proposed park would pass along Route 17, past Monroe, as visitors would be traveling back and forth from New York City and Long Island.
“There’s a large amount of traffic that’s on 17 already,” said Endrizzi. “Come out on a Friday night and you’re sitting in hours’ worth of traffic. Put a Legoland with millions of visitors coming in, and forget about it.”
John Ussher, Senior Divisional Director OF Legoland Development, who made the presentation to the Goshen Town Board said, “These are issues that we want to mutually solve. It’s good for us. Getting people off highway 17 quickly and efficiently is the most important thing for us in the development phase, and we just have to make sure that the land and the SEQR process will take mitigation efforts into account.”
In addition to traffic, water and sewer concerns were discussed. Goshen Town Supervisor Douglas Bloomfield, who is also the commissioner of Water and Sewer, had concerns.
“We will not be able to provide enough water for this theme park from wells,” said Bloomfield. “It’s going to have to come from an outside source.” He acknowledged it is one of the unknowns that will have to be addressed to see if this project can really work here.
There were also some residents who had yet to take a side in the matter, including Linda Zema-Cagnetto. She said the presentation was informative, and she could see the economic development benefit to the county as a whole, but she worries about people living in close proximity to the proposed project. She looks forward to attending further meetings to learn more about the project.
Susan Herrmann, who lives in the Village of Goshen, said that it was a little disheartening to feel like the town board had already made up their minds on the project. She said that the board works for the taxpayer and that she believes it’s their job to gather data to lead a discussion on what is good for its residents.
Maria Endrizzi among the protestors
Consruction unions among those supporting Legoland