January 3rd - 9th, 2016
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“You do this plan or most of this plan and it’s going to be a different Long Island . . . and our children will have a better home than the home we had.”
-NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo
"Put in a nutshell very simply, if you're a commuter, if you take the bus, if you take the train, if you take the commuter rail, you can now deduct up to $255 a month from your taxes to pay for your commuting costs."
-US Senator Charles Schumer
“It is time for me to pursue new passions and develop new interests, mainly spend more time writing my second novel... looking forward to spending more time home and frequenting my beloved New York diners. Simply put, it’s time to pass on the torch.”
-Congressman Steve Israel
Governor Cuomo Outlines His Economic Development and Infrastructure Priorities for Long Island and around NYS
Vision Long Island board members and staff were on hand with around 600 people from throughout the region this week as Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined his priorities for some of the $550 million in economic development and infrastructure funds secured in last year’s budget cycle. A “holistic approach” towards tackling several Long Island infrastructure projects were proposed a week before the State of the State address taking place in Albany. Several projects that of a part of the Long Isand Lobby Coalition Agenda were addressed by the governor.
“We’re going to take the dream and the gift that our founding fathers gave us, and we’re going to update it for a new generation,” the Governor said, announcing a proposed $300 million being allocated towards the state environmental protection fund, which would double the funding from the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The best news was the support for the Bay Park outfall pipe which has been a priority for the LI Lobby Coalition and needs to happen for the environmental and economic benefit of Nassau's South Shore. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the Bay Park sewage treatment plant which serves 500,000 people was crippled, poured 2.2 billion gallons of partially treated sewage into the bay daily.
Before Sandy, the plant was heavily fined for a failure to reduce nitrogen load into the bays. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, there have been investments of $831 million in federal Sandy recovery dollars to ensure that the plant was not simply built back – but built back better to withstand future disaster. The state is investing $191 million in state and federal resources for the Bay Park outfall pipe, and pursuing $150 million more through the federal National Disaster Resilience Competition. Upon completion of the outfall pipe construction, the state will fund a detailed technical analysis to determine if additional treatment measures may be needed to further reduce nitrogen pollution.
Other projects that were proposed to move ahead were:
East Farmingdale LIRR station/Route 110 corridor/Republic airport:
To encourage economic development around the airport, Republic was designated as a tax-free site through the START-UP NY initiative as part of the 2015-16 budget. The East Farmingdale LIRR station which used to serve Fairchild Engine & Airplane Manufacturing Company and Republic Airport from 1940 to the late 1980s will be slated to reopen on the Ronkonkoma/Main LIRR line, with a new 12.5 acre mix-used, transit-oriented development being proposed.
The Governor is proposing to invest $50 million for the Ronkonkoma Hub parking structure and infrastructure improvements. This will lead to 2.2 million square feet of mixed use development and leverage more than $600 million in private investment. The project will also create more than 1,000 temporary and permanent jobs. With $600 million of private investment slated for the site, the state investment in parking, sewers, and regional transit system will provide the foundation for the economic development potential for the region to be realized, bringing over 10,000 construction jobs, 5,000 permanent jobs and an estimated $4 million in annual tax revenue to the area.
The State will close a $6 million funding gap to support the $10 million renovation and expansion of an existing 10,500 sq. ft. facility at MacArthur Airport, allowing up to 400 passengers to be processed per hour and creating an estimated 1,200 new jobs at the airport. Regional tourism is expected to be boosted due the investment as well.
Third LIRR track between Floral Park and Hicksville
The third track proposal which was defeated 8 years ago due to poor planning, presentation and massive community opposition all along the rail line has been resurrected, with 9.8 miles of railway proposed to elevate congestion for commuters to and from New York city. Vision was and still is a supporter of the project but learned a few things along the way, among them:
Other proposed projects include studies to explore a deep-water port in Shoreham on Long Island’s north shore from $1 million aimed at reducing traffic congestion on Long Island, as well as $5 million to study the feasibility of a tunnel connecting Long Island to either the Bronx, Westchester County or Connecticut, which was originally proposed over 50 years ago.
It did not take long to get the responses from our many Long Island State Senators and local officials.
“They are non-starters,” said Senator Kenneth LaValle. “I would have to assess his plan to see what has changed to put this back into play.”
“This is rehash of an old rehash,” said Senator Carl Marcellino.
“There is a real sense the governor has gotten this one wrong,” Senator Jack Martins said. “I heard from most of the mayors along the corridor and many of the elected officials along the corridor. Many are surprised, many are angered.”Clearly working with local officials and communities on these large scale proposals is important. As we constantly say, getting the real folks from local communities engaged and partnered in on any project is the most important thing. The region is more open to transit-oriented growth than it was the last time around," said Eric Alexander, Director for Vision Long Island. In Nassau and Suffolk over the last nine years, 11,000 units of housing have been approved near transit and another 20,000 are moving forward, according to Alexander. "Still," he said, "It can't just be a group of people from outside the community saying, 'Trust me, it's good for you.' I think that where past proposals have failed."
The Long Island Lobby Coalition will be up in Albany next week for the Governor's budget address and has a LI Lobby Day scheduled in February on these and many local community priorities. You can read more about the proposed projects in Streetsblog, Newsday here and her, from Long Island Business News, and see the Governor’s press release regarding the initiatives here.
Schumer Reminds Commuters to Take Advantage of Tax Break
Shop Local Doesn't End with the Holidays!
The Village of Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District is continuing to encourage people to shop in their downtowns after the holiday season has passed. Those visiting the area through January 31st are able to receive 20% discounts on restaurants and retail purchases through a simple registration process.
The Business Improvement District is offering discounts of $5 off a purchase of $25 or more, $10 off a purchase of $50 or more, and $20 off a purchase of $100 or more at a total of 30 establishments. The number of Great Neck Plaza stores participating in this program means that the amount of goods or meals that you can save on is practically limitless. You can register for the gift certificate program at the BID’s website here, or contact Maria Coscia at (516) 829-1301 for more information.
NYS Offers Disaster Prepareness Training Course
New York State is offering two hour training courses for residents to have the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.
The next Citizen Preparedness Corps workshop for Long Island will take place at the Riverhead Library at 330 Court Street on Saturday, January 9th at 2PM. Registration is required for the workshop- you can register here. For those unable to attend, web-based preparedness is available here.
Long Island Coalition for the Homeless Conducts Annual Winter Drive
Long Island Coalition for the Homeless conducts an annual winter drive in order to ensure the safety and needs of those that are homeless on Long Island, living on the streets. Each year, volunteers pack “homeless kits” that include warm clothing, toiletries (travel size), and non-perishable foods. These kits are distributed to individuals that are living on the streets both during our annual homeless count in January and also during ongoing street outreach efforts throughout the winter months.
FEMA Accepting Applications for Assistance to Firefighters Grant
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that applications are being accepted for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) for fiscal year 2015. Approximately 2500 grants will be awarded; this year’s total funding for the program will be $306 million.
The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
The deadline to apply for the AFG grant is January 15th, 2015 at 5PM EST. For more information or to apply, click here.
ScottsMiracle-Gro Announce New Community Grant
Scotts Miracle-Gro has announced a grant opportunity for community organizations to develop and enhance pollinator gardens . The GRO1000 awards will provide monetary grants, product donations and educational resources to fifty 501(c)(3) organizations this year.
To date, Scotts Miracle-Gro has awarded 680 such grants, allowing for over a million and a half square feet of space being restored and revitalized, over 50,000 youth to experience nature through hand-on learning and panting over 8,000 garden plots. Grassroots Grants are awarded to local communities to help bring pollinator habitats, edible gardens and public green spaces to neighborhoods across the United States. The grant application will be open until February 22nd, 2016. To learn more about how this opportunity can benefit a local project in your community and to apply, click here
Long Island Volunteer Center is Recruiting
The Long Island Volunteer Center is recruiting an AmeriCorps ReadyCorps member to serve between January 25 and November 24, 2016. Ready Corps, an AmeriCorps program implemented by Points of Light, creates disaster resilient communities by increasing preparedness of individuals and families through volunteer engagement. The applicant will work out of the Offices of Emergency Management in Nassau and Suffolk to improve preparedness of individuals and families, expand local preparedness networks, and support long-term recovery and sustainability efforts. This is a full time (40 hour per week) position.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we "wear many hats," and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
What's happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
For information, visit their website or call 516-439-5218
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
For information, visit their website or call 631-351-3250
Port Jefferson Historical Society
For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665
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Transit Oriented Development Means More than Trains
A University of California-Berkeley Professor of City and Regional Planning recently published a study in the Journal of American Planning Association after surveying residents within 2 miles of 10 New Jersey rail stations, finding that transit-oriented development does not necessarily rely on train and subway access, but has other contributing factors that are sometimes overlooked in communities.
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Vision Long Island