Patch: Advocacy Group Formed for Trump on the Ocean Project

Wantagh-Seaford Patch

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A group of concerned Nassau County residents have banded together to advocate for the immediate construction of the long-stalled Trump on the Ocean at Jones Beach in hopes it will urge other private development projects in the region.

A group called the Alliance to Revitalize Jones Beach (ARJB) has been formed by Rafe Lieber, who was chief of staff for former State Sen. Craig Johnson, in an effort to educate the public on why they feel the Trump on the Ocean project is so important to the future of Long Island’s economy. Lieber said the ARJB is aimed at kick-starting a grassroots coalition that will mount pressure on the State Parks Department to allow Trump’s project to proceed following a five-year legal battle.

The Trump on the Ocean project proposed for the former site of the Boardwalk Café was first conceived by real estate mogul Donald Trump in 2006, but has been stalled in litigation with the state the last five years. Trump’s vision to invest more than $30 million for the creation of a 70,000 square-foot restaurant catering facility first hit a roadblock when the New York Department of State Review Board rejected the proposal due to the plan’s 26,710-square-foot basement, which they said could not be constructed in a flood plain. Trump and the state have been in a legal battle ever since with the real estate developer losing a final appeal to receive $500 million in damages from the state for delays in the project this past June and two other cases still outstanding.

“Five years after getting the green light to build, the State of New York continues to kick sand in Trump’s face with constant frivolous legal haggling and roadblocks.” said Lieber. “Nassau residents are tired of seeing government continuously deprive us of our ability to broaden our tax base, provide job opportunities for our residents and development of facilities that will make Long Islanders proud.”

New York State Parks spokesman Dan Keef said in response to the formation of ARJB that the delay of the Trump on the Ocean project is due to the developer himself. Keef said that a compromise plan was agreed to in late 2008 for a catering facility of roughly the same size but with a more limited use of the basement, but that Trump has continued to press ahead with legal action instead of building.

“We cannot move forward until this litigation is resolved,” said Keef.

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