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EXCLUSIVE: Eyesore National Grid Plant's Demise May Mean Problems For Nearby Towns

GLENWOOD LANDING, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It has been a fixture on the Long Island landscape since the 1920s -- and not a pretty one.

An old power plant is finally coming down, but residents nearby said they are worried about their taxes going way up, CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported exclusively on Tuesday.

For a century, this massive power plant on Long Island's North shore churned out electricity, but the Long Island Power Authority has deemed it inefficient, so this summer its smoke stacks and buildings will be demolished.

"Two years ago, LIPA announced it would phase out its energy purchases from the Glenwood power plant in order to take advantage of more efficient and lower cost energy. This action will benefit LIPA's 1.1-million customers and is consistent with the Authority's long-term energy strategy. LIPA is mindful of the local impacts and has taken them into account along with opportunities to lower costs for all of our customers. LIPA identified the potential for phasing out the Glenwood power purchases in 2009," LIPA spokesman Mark Gross said in a statement.

You'd think Sea Cliff and Glen Head residents would bid good riddance to a waterfront eyesore, but there's worry about what else they're losing.

"People are very concerned. This is easily the biggest issued in our community," said North Shore School Board candidate Sara Jones.

The Glenwood Power Station generated between $7 million and $14 million in tax revenue per year that went directly to the North Shore School District. A loss of 10 percent of their budget has folks bracing for huge school tax hikes.

"People want to leave. They say that this is inevitable," said Sea Cliff Village Outreach coordinator Karen Montagnese.

School officials want the governor to require LIPA to taper off its payments, so school districts can glide instead of fall off a financial cliff.

"This is actually an island-wide issue. We were hoping the governor would address it as far as what happens with the future of LIPA," North Shore School Board President Carolyn Genovesi said.

Albany is kicking in $2.5 million this year, but Sen. Carl Marcellino said these taxpayers deserve more.

"They've helped us by keeping this plant in their neighborhood. So now it's our turn to kind of like pay them back," said Marcellino, a Republican representing Oyster Bay.

But while there's worry about tax losses, there's also hope for one day a better neighbor.

"That plant has been spewing toxins and pollutants for generations, and with the loss of that plant we can look forward to a much cleaner environment," Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy said.

Community leaders have big ideas on what to do with the location. There's talk of a sports complex, restaurants and waterfront condos, among others, but they said whatever goes in there next must be something that will generate tax revenues.

National Grid operates the plant and said once it's demolished the site could be sold for a use that is consistent with zoning regulations. That debate comes next.

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