Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe says the possible Legoland project is worth considering, but that all aspects must be fully reviewed. He opposes public acquisition of a commercial property that is generating taxes benefitting the community.
“Economic development is critical to the long term success of Rockland and so is ensuring a positive quality of life,” Wolfe said. “The appropriate development of the Novartis site will have far-reaching effects on life in the Montebello and Suffern areas.
“All aspects need to be considered – the value of the project as a rateable, the impact on school taxes, how much traffic would be generated and how much water would be used, among other issues,” Wolfe said. “I do not support the public acquisition of this commercial property and want to see it remain on the rolls as a viable tax-paying parcel.”
Wolfe represents parts of Montebello and Suffern and has been contacted by constituents raising some of these concerns.
According to published reports, Legoland officials have met with Ramapo town officials, as well as a delegation of elected and business leaders from Montebello, Suffern, Ramapo Central School District and the county to discuss the possible project.
Merlin Entertainments is reportedly interested in building the $250 million amusement park on the site of the 162-acre former Novartis plant and 67 acres of town-owned property. Merlin has already built Legoland parks in California and Florida.
A previous effort to build the plant in Haverstraw fell apart in the face of public opposition. For that project, Merlin also pitched rides, a water park and a hotel.
“The Legoland proposal appears to offer many potential benefits,” Wolfe said. “However, we must consider all aspects carefully and make sure this is truly the right project for our community.”