Focus East Patchogue members hurried through their monthly agenda at the Swan Lake Civic Association after Brookhaven Town Hall candidates packed the meeting with campaign information and residents followed up with questions.
Town supervisor candidates Mark Lesko and Cecile Forte were among the crowd, and after offering personal introductions, they jumped right into the issues- job creation and the .
The incumbent Lesko, a Democrat, reminded attendees of his opposition to the Hospital Road site, and requested that Forte not be badgered as a member of the Planning Board.
“To rebuild the Hospital Road bridge, you’re basically talking about a $20 million project, and that’s not going to happen,” Lesko said. “I think there are more appropriate places if Walmart wants to come to that area- the Bellport Outlets, or maybe the old Brookhaven Cinema site.”
Forte, however, said she was ready to discuss the issue as another candidate who is against the potential spot.
“I don’t need anybody to protect me to talk about what I believe in," the Republican said. "I’m against Walmart, you don’t need a Walmart here, it’s going to cause problems."
According to Forte, more job opportunities in Suffolk County can make the cost of living more bearable for younger residents.
“There are 20,000 people in Brookhaven Town that are unemployed, what are we going to do about the families who are barely making ends meet?” she said. “That’s something we have to put our full efforts toward, to get back to where we were. Young people are leaving because there aren’t jobs and I know how to create them.”
Lesko said he hopes to make renovations to the area, including the former Patchogue Plaza Theatre location.
“The table is set from some amazing re-development initiatives, and the thing I look forward to now is engaging with you,” he said. “So we could put our heads together and come up with an amazing plan for the [Plaza Theatre] property that’s going to provide an anchor in the community.”