The Lawrence School District tentatively sold the Number Six School property to the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB). After more than a $10 million bid, including money held against transportation savings, our community will have another opportunity to sell this property. I am disappointed the property will not be put on the tax rolls in this incarnation. But I also believe that a community that grows together thrives together. If over 90 percent of incoming students at HALB in Long Beach are bused in from Woodmere, then they should go to school in Woodmere. If you live here, and you pray here, you should go to school here!
While I am comforted to hear that the district will achieve cost savings, and that HALB has committed to paying all costs associated with remediation and renovation of the school’s campus, the previous public meetings elicited two issues requiring redress: a secure, publicly accessible playground/ball field; and the guarantee of pedestrian safety for schoolchildren, local residents and the Orthodox Jewish population that walks to temple.
This strip of Peninsula Boulevard is unsafe; large oil-carriers come rattling down our most major of local arteries. There are five significant synagogues between Woodmere Boulevard and Rockaway Turnpike, along with Lawrence High School, one existing HALB school (DRS High School for Boys) and possibly the HALB elementary school in two years. There will likely be scores of local walkers to all three schools, and now, more buses in an already congested area. Local residents must require a comprehensive traffic study to assess and address this issue.
To my understanding, HALB must work with the Town of Hempstead to achieve certain zoning or building code requirements, and I hope that the town, our local congregations, community leaders and the Lawrence district will urge HALB to perform a comprehensive traffic study to address this safety concern.