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Mitchel Field Gymnasium Undergoing Renovation To Enhance Services For Long Island Veterans, Military Families

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- More help is on the way for nearly 100,000 veterans on Long Island.

Nassau County is in partnership with the nonprofit New York Youth Network, which is about to rehabilitate the crumbling gymnasium at Mitchel Field veteran housing in Garden City, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday.

After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sgt. Michael Zervos is back on U.S. soil. He, his wife and children are based at Mitchel Field's veteran housing complex with 60 other families.

"Bus stop is right over there. They can get off, come home, they can come here. I think it's gonna be great," Zervos said.

He's taking about the blockbuster plans to rehab the gymnasium center - once a fixture for the veteran community, but now falling apart at the seams.

The nonprofit will turn this former gem into a new fieldhouse, new turf field, classrooms and more.

The plan is to transform this neglected infrastructure within 12 months to enhance services for veterans and youth at no expense to taxpayers.

"This will become a community hub and provide real opportunities not only for the military families that live in this community, but Nassau's many sporting leagues and youth groups, while creating jobs through the renovation process," said County Executive Laura Curran.

"We can always use another partner when it comes to our kids. Working together is what builds the trust," said Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

The complex has a commissary and health center serving vets from all branches of the military. But the decades-old gym has been unusable.

"Look at Mitchel Field as a regeneration of not just old soldiers, the present soldiers, but these babies that's going to play in this gym," said retired veteran Herbert Sweat. "Come and learn about Mitchel Field. Look at our children grow here. They come in all sizes from all places because we have active soldiers here."

Private Sweat said the rehab brings solace to him and other vets under physical, economic and emotional turmoil from the COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming 9/11 remembrance.

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