HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Developers and politicians are trying to put the pieces together for a gigantic Legoland theme park along the Hudson River in Rockland County.
Negotiations are well underway and many residents are enthusiastic, although some are anxious.READ MORE: Sources: Salman Muflihi Faces Hate Crime Charges In Stabbing Of Asian Man In Lower Manhattan
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, vast and mostly derelict, the old psychiatric hospital in Rockland County has been crumbling away for more than 15 years. Now comes a plan to turn it into an immense Legoland Amusement Park.
There is already one in Florida and another in California, but the massive conglomerate Merlin Entertainment wants to build a full-blown Legoland in New York on the 175-acre eyesore known as Letchworth Village.
The property is owned by the town of Haverstraw, which is trying to finalize a lease for the park that would include thrill rides, Disney-style boulevards, and eventually, a water park and hotel.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s good for the county. It’ll bring revenue,” said resident Maxine Katzman.
“I think it’s a good idea if it’s gonna bring some jobs to the community,” said resident Jason Bricknell.
But not everyone is so sure. Part of Haverstraw has a sleepy, quiet feel that an estimated 2 million annual visitors would likely disturb.READ MORE: Elizabeth Galarza Arrested For Allegedly Repeatedly Punching 2-Year-Old In The Face On Subway
Legoland would border on Jason Lieberman’s backyard.
“They want to put an amusement park smack in the middle of a residential area,” he said.
Rockland County is pressed for cash and Legoland would generate millions in sales tax revenue.
“This money will essentially solve and cure the issues in Rockland County; this one development,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
The town, though, has to make a decision, and some are wondering if this might just be too much of a good thing.
“The bottom line is we’re looking at it very seriously, but we need to get our community to understand what this is and whether or not they want it,” said Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips.
Phillips said the review process on Legoland could take years, but the county is in more of a hurry, meeting with the governor’s office on Monday to try and secure state incentives to help seal the deal.MORE NEWS: New Yorkers At Bronx Food Pantry Describe Need For Federal Stimulus Checks, $15 Minimum Wage; 'Got To Choose Between Rent, Food'
The first phase of the proposed plan would involve a $260 million investment by Merlin Entertainment, which had previously considered placing the theme park in Virginia.