The Village of Goshen, in Orange County, NY, is the county seat and site of the Harness Racing Museum. It is within the Town of Goshen, which is the proposed site of the new Legoland theme park. Planned for 153 acres of a 523-acre site near Rt 17, this half billion dollar project is expected to bring thousands of jobs to this mid-Hudson Valley area. There’s only one problem – opposition to its construction is mounting.

Legoland will double Goshen’s population each day

Merlin Entertainment, which has two other Legoland Parks in North America, says it expects approximately 2 million visitors a year to this proposed third park.

That is quite an influx of people to this town of around 15,000 people. Many residents are concerned about how that will impact their quality of life. Between April and October, each day the park is open will bring 10,000 - 20,000 visitors, meaning the population of the Town of Goshen will likely double daily.

Proponents paint a rosy economic picture

There will be 50 rides, shows and attractions spread out over eight differently themed sections. The target audience of 2-12 year olds will find plenty of amusements designed with a strong educational background to seamlessly combine science, engineering, motor skills and entertainment. The lego-themed hotel in the park will accommodate many of the visitors, but additional housing, restaurants, gas stations etc.

will be needed to service all the attendees. Other local and regional attractions will benefit from the spillover of destination visitors. That, plus tax revenues and the thousands of jobs created, will be a huge boon to Goshen's economy.

Opposition grows as developers outline their plans

From the initial announcement this past Spring to a June letter to the editor, in which Lynn Allen Cione, the President of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, praised the economic benefits of the new theme park in the Times Herald Record newspaper, to the July 23rd Planning Board meeting that drew more than 1,000 people to speak for and against this project, opposition has grown as residents realize the huge scope of the development.

Some questions still need to be answered

Will Legoland respect the environment and quality of life Goshen residents enjoy today? Will they be good neighbors? Is there enough water to support such a huge development and the growth it will bring? Should the zoning change necessary for the project to continue be granted?

These and other questions asked by those opposing Legoland must be answered satisfactorily before the project can begin.

One thing to be considered – this is not the casino, with all its inherent social ills and negative connotations, that could have been built in Orange County – this is a family-oriented, kid-friendly development that could be a much better neighbor than any casino ever considered. Now it’s up to the people of Goshen to decide.

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