Governor Hochul Blocks E-Commerce Project, Saves Freeport Park
The Teamsters Union cheered news today that Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed legislation to allow developers to destroy a popular park in Freeport, Long Island, and build an e-commerce distribution center on the site.
“Governor Hochul stood up for local Long Island workers and communities by vetoing this harmful bill,” said Thomas Gesualdi, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “Amazon-style warehouses are driving down wages and increasing traffic and pollution in communities. The Teamsters applaud the governor for her leadership. We will continue to stand with New Yorkers fighting for good jobs and safe streets.”
Freeport community residents, with the support of local unions, campaigned to save Cleveland Park after the village board announced plans to sell it to Amazon. The park is located in minority-majority North Freeport and has been used for decades by local schools and youth sports teams. Village leaders ultimately voted to sell it in July to the Panattoni Group, a frequent developer of Amazon facilities.
The village needed signoff from state officials, however. The state legislature passed legislation (A10002-A/S8541-A) earlier this year to allow the village to discontinue use of the park and sell it for warehouse development. Local community organizations and unions rallied in Cleveland Park over the weekend and sent a letter to Governor Hochul last week calling for the legislation to be vetoed. The governor’s veto ensures that the sale cannot proceed.
Freeporters have also gotten support from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who sued the village over alleged violations of environmental laws related to the project.
The Freeport proposal is the latest Amazon-style warehouse plan to be rejected by Long Island communities this year, following projects that were blocked in Islip and Westbury. The Nassau County IDA revoked subsidies for a new Amazon facility in Syosset because the company was filling job openings with staff from a soon-to-close facility rather than new workers. A developer of an Amazon warehouse in Melville gave up subsidies it had requested because Amazon was unable to meet job creation commitments.