Plum Opportunity

Plebeian crowds may yet swarm Plum Island — “America’s first line of defense against foreign animal diseases,” and, if you’re a conspiracy theorist, source of Lyme disease*:

The general public could someday get access to the 840-acre pork chop-shaped oasis now that the federal government is moving its animal disease research functions to a new lab in Manhattan, Kan. With a “For Sale” sign about to go up at Plum Island, the General Services Administration is seeking community input on what should be done with the property. A hearing was held Wednesday in Connecticut and another is scheduled for Thursday on Long Island.

Full story here. I realize the island has long been deemed a security threat due to its proximity to New York City and its airports, but I have to question if moving a laboratory researching animal diseases to the heart of the Midwest is sound.

Regardless, what’s shocking to me is the feds actually asked for input from the Constitution State. Opening Plum Island is a rare chance to create another Block Island, Shelter Island, or Fishers Island, and most tourists would enter via the same Cross Sound Ferry running out of New London to Orient Point. But I doubt Plum will be sold for private development; a more likely scenario is that it will be turned over to the Parks Service. At least then perhaps overnight camping would be available, something none of the aforementioned islands allow.

A New York congressman lowballs Plum Island at $50 to $80 million. Still, my guess is it will be at least a decade before the island is closed, cleaned, and pronounced suitable for civilians.

(*I’m not generally, though even I think it’s overly coincidental that Lyme disease, a vector-borne pathogen, appeared less than 20 miles north-northwest of a facility researching just those things.)

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