Parents worried about possible strip mall being built next to Long Island school

WOODBURY, Long Island (WABC) -- It's only 2.4 acres, but what a fuss it is causing in the Syosset School District. The property is directly adjacent to Walt Whitman Elementary School. This fall, the school district sold it to a developer for $5.35 million dollars.

The developer wants to put a strip mall at the location. The school district says it held two public hearings on the issue, but that is news to parents.

"By the time they entered into the sale transaction, most of the public did not know, We were not aware, or as you see would have mobilized," says parent Melissa Breitstein.

Parents are also upset because part of the sale includes possibly taking over, they say, some of the school's property.

"I spoke to my daughter this morning, and I told her, 'honey, the playground might be taken away' - she was so upset," said Maryann Clara.

Eyewitness News reached out to the school district to find out what exactly will be built on the property, but they would say. Parents say they wouldn't tell them either.

"The only thing is no vape shop, and no liquor store. They do not tell any specifics. We want to scrap this whole deal - start over. Full transparency, community involvement," says parent Robin Greenstein.

There is also the traffic issue. The development would go right at the busy, accident-prone intersection of Woodbury Road and Jericho Turnpike.

"September 23rd they had to close down the school to airlift someone who was in an accident over here," adds Haili Gao.

The Superintendent of the Syosset School District, Thomas Rogers, said in a statement to Eyewitness News that the developer will address the safety concerns in the construction plans

Rogers also said, "The sale represents a benefit for the community in that the proceeds would help offset the cost of much needed repairs and safety improvements to every school in the district, including the Walt Whitman Elementary School."
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