12.18.17

SCHUMER URGES FEDERAL WETLAND REVIEW AND APPROVAL TO CLEAR THE WAY FOR LEGOLAND DEVELOPMENT AND HUNDREDS OF NEW JOBS AND NEW TAX REVENUE; SCHUMER URGES ARMY CORPS TO EXPEDITE REVIEW THAT COULD UNLOCK OPPORTUNITY FOR ORANGE COUNTY

Schumer Urges Army Corps To Issue Review And Approve Proposal So Legoland Can Turn Vacant Property In Orange County Into A Family Theme Park Destination That Will Provide Jobs For Residents and Significant Tax Revenue for Localities, Including Goshen; Schumer Says Park Can Boost The Local Economy And Bring Hundreds Of Jobs To Orange County 

Project Expected To Employ More Than 500 Permanent Full-Time Jobs, 500 Seasonal Jobs, 300-Part-Time Jobs And An Additional 800 Construction Jobs; But Before Construction Can Begin, U.S. Army Corps Must First Issue Wetlands Permit; Application Indicates The Company Will Preserve 150 Acres Offsite Through A Conservation Easement 

Schumer: Getting Fed Army Corps Approvals For LegoLand Shouldn't Be Like A Roller Coaster

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to promptly review and approve a key wetlands permit for the Goshen, NY site where Merlin Entertainment seeks to construct the LEGOLAND New York theme park and hotel. Schumer explained the company plans to turn the property, located in Goshen, Orange County, into a regional tourist attraction and family entertainment destination that is expected to employ more than 500 permanent full-time jobs, 500 seasonal jobs, 300-part-time jobs and an additional 800 construction jobs. As reported by KPMG for the Orange County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) the project would generate an estimated $87 million in payments and property taxes for the Goshen Central School District, the Town of Goshen, and Orange County over the next 30-years.

However, Schumer said that this federal wetlands review is an important hurdle that must be overcome to ensure the project can move forward without adversely impacting the environment. Schumer said the USACE must conduct a review and issue the necessary wetland permits for the site. In addition, Schumer said that, once the wetlands review is complete, LEGOLAND will be one step closer to beginning construction and keeping this critical, job-creating and revenue-generating project on track.

“LEGOLAND holds massive, job-creating potential, and could be a huge economic opportunity for Orange County that will generate both significant tourist dollars for the local economy and tax revenue for localities and the county. This federal wetlands review is one of the last lego pieces needed in order to begin this major job-creating economic development effort,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I am calling on the Army Corp to do its work with speed and professionalism and to approve this permit, which is what I believe the facts clearly warrant. This review will make clear the next steps that must be taken so the construction phase can finally begin in a way that is properly balanced with environmental standards and regulations. Simply put, getting these vital approvals should not feel like a roller coaster. There are too many potential new jobs, new local tax revenue and economic energy at stake for the bureaucracy to stand in the way and unnecessarily delay the progress of the project.”

LEGOLAND New York will be Merlin Entertainments’ third park in North America and, according to company statements, and the park represents an investment of $350 million by opening day in 2020 and $500 million by year five. The complex will include a seasonal LEGO-themed park as well as a year-round 250-bedroom LEGO-themed hotel. In 2016, Merlin Entertainment announced plans to develop 150 acres of the 500-acre site in Goshen. The application indicates the company will preserve another 150 acres through a conservation easement. The proposed park is within an hour and a half of Manhattan and less than three hours from Boston and Philadelphia.

Schumer explained the development is expected to generate more than 500 permanent full-time jobs, 500 seasonal jobs, 300-part-time jobs and an additional 800 construction jobs. As reported by KPMG for the Orange County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) would generate an estimated $87 million in payments and property taxes for the Goshen Central School District, the Town of Goshen, and Orange County over the next 30-years. Schumer added, in addition, LEGOLAND New York has offered to pay the Town of Goshen a host community fee for every visitor to the Park – for each visitor up to 2 million the LEGOLAND New York would pay the Town of Goshen 65 cents per visitor and 20 cents for each visitor thereafter with no cap. The Town of Goshen alone is anticipated to receive approximately $71 million in revenue from the host community fee, PILOT payments, and tax payments.

Schumer said LEGOLAND New York site development project has already cleared several key hurdles, including the release of the New York State Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and support from the Town of Goshen Planning Board, Orange County, and New York State. The company plans to open the park in 2020 but Schumer said it is critical that the wetland permits are promptly and professionally reviewed and ideally approved to keep this vital project on track. Schumer said construction cannot begin until the wetlands review is complete.

A Copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:

Dear Acting Assistant Secretary Doug Lamont and Commander Asbery:

I write to urge you to promptly review and if appropriate issue the necessary wetland permits for the Goshen, NY site where Merlin Entertainments proposes to construct the LEGOLAND New York theme park and hotel. The company plans to turn the property, located in Orange County, into a regional attraction and family entertainment destination that is expected to employ hundreds of local residents. But before construction can begin, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must conduct a review and issue the necessary wetland permits for the site.

LEGOLAND New York will be Merlin Entertainments’ third park in North America and, according to company statements, represents an investment of $350 million by opening day in 2020 and $500 million by year five. The complex will include a seasonal LEGO-themed park as well as an all year round 250-bedroom LEGO-themed hotel. In 2016, Merlin Entertainment announced plans to develop 150 acres of the 500-acre site in Goshen. The application indicates the company will preserve another 150 acres through a conservation easement. The proposed park is within an hour and a half of Manhattan and less than three hours from Boston and Philadelphia.

The proposed LEGOLAND New York has the potential to create economic benefit to Orange County and the Town of Goshen. Merlin Entertainment has indicated the development is expected to generate more than 500 permanent full-time jobs, 500 seasonal jobs, 300-part-time jobs and an additional 800 construction jobs. As reported by KMPG for the Orange County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), a proposed Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement would generate an estimated $87 million in payments and property taxes for the Goshen Central School District, the Town of Goshen, and Orange County over the next 30-years. In addition, LEGOLAND New York has offered to pay the Town of Goshen a host community fee for every visitor to the Park – for each visitor up to 2 million the LEGOLAND New York would pay the Town of Goshen 65 cents per visitor and 20 cents for each visitor thereafter with no cap. The Town of Goshen alone is anticipated to receive approximately $71 million in revenue from the host community fee, PILOT payments, and tax payments.

The LEGOLAND New York site development project has cleared several key hurdles, including the release of the New York State Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and support from the Town of Goshen Planning Board, Orange County, and New York State. The company plans to open the park in 2020. While it’s important to do a thorough and meaningful review to ensure the project will not adversely impact the environment it’s also critical that if appropriate the wetland permits are issued swiftly in order to keep this project on track. As you know, this documentation is needed before construction can begin and so I request that you move quickly to process these permits.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter. Should you have any questions or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

 

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