January 12th - 25th, 2019
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The following quotes come in response to an informational meeting organized by the local community on the Nassau HUB.
The following quotes come in response to the passage of the Mastic Sewering plan after years of planning and advocacy.
Neighboring Communities to the Nassau HUB Development Assemble to hear next steps for the Project
Neighboring communities to the Nassau HUB development assembled last week to hear next steps for the project.
Over 130 local community and small business leaders were out this week to hear from Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead on the planning process for the proposed Nassau HUB redevelopment. The meeting was assembled by local leaders from the five surrounding communities of East Meadow/Salisbury, Uniondale, Garden City, Hempstead/Roosevelt, and Westbury/Carle Place.
The session was not intended to express support or opposition to, as yet unfiled, plans but simply open a productive dialogue with the project’s neighbors.
The two-hour meeting featured a presentation from Evlyn Tsimis, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, on the County’s Development Plan Agreement, which outlines a two-year schedule for project planning, including establishment of a Community Advisory Committee to offer input into a Community Benefits Agreement. Nassau County elected officials who spoke also included legislators Laura Schaefer, Tom McKevitt and John Ferretti.
Rich Regina, attorney to the Hempstead Town Board, covered the elements of the Town’s SEQR process that will commence once the project is submitted. Town of Hempstead elected officials who presented also included Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and Councilman Dennis Dunne.
Over 30 questions from the group included the components of the community benefits agreements, jobs and job training for local residents, bus service, parking, traffic and marketing of the development area identity and school district impacts. The economic impact or benefit to local businesses was also raised along with how utility and public services will cover the site. The questions related to a specific proposal were premature but both the Town and the County pledged to incorporate as many questions into their respective review processes and provide answers as the project commences.
Representatives from the RXR Realty, BSE Global team were in the room and introduced themselves to the audience and committed to schedule future outreach sessions in local communities. They also agreed to take part in the next Nassau HUB multi-community meeting.
The mood in the room was collaborative and hopeful. The County and the Town pledged to work together with the developer and the leaders from the impacted communities to bring forward a successful project.
“We welcome this productive dialogue with local community leaders as we move this exciting project forward, and will continue to stay engaged throughout this process,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
"It is important to recognize we all want smart and carefully planned economic growth to come to our town and county. Having the facts before us all will provide for much clarity and move this project successfully forward," said Town of Hempstead Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby.
“Pleased to be a part of this vibrant group committed to embracing the economic opportunities for the betterment of all surrounding communities. Like the Baldwin Revitalization Project, we need to continue to move forward with these vital long overdue projects that will not only help our communities today, but tomorrow”.—Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney.
“I am very happy to have been included in this collaboration of communities looking to work together and in conjunction with RXR on the future development of the HUB. The success of this development is of great import to Nassau County and working together is the only way to bring it to fruition,“ said Nassau County Legislator Laura Schaefer.
“In such a short period of time our five communities, with the help and support from Vision Long island, worked together to make this meeting a reality... and the great success that it was. We all have a common goal, the success of the HUB. Positive community involvement along the way is the key. We look forward to future meetings, getting everyone together again, once RXR’s plans for the site start to unfold.” Frank Camarano, East Meadow Chamber of Commerce
"Uniondale looks forward to positive development and we are happy to be recognized with significance, as the host community of this project where local input matters."Jeannine Maynard, Co-Facilitator, Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition (GUAAC)
“I’m very happy that the Hempstead community could be present at the sharing of preliminary information on the Nassau HUB project. To collectively hear from our neighboring communities and the desire to make this project great for us all speaks volumes.” Dennis Jones, Hempstead Chamber of Commerce
“It’s good to see the surrounding communities, discuss in a positive fashion the Hub development project that ultimately will be constructed in the next few years. Working with the developer, community leaders and politicians for the better good is a refreshing sight in these times. “ Michael Ventre, Garden City Chamber of Commerce
"The redevelopment of the HUB property has been in discussion for decades and should be advanced in a reasonable manner after careful consideration. Part of the process must include input from, and address the concerns of, the affected communities. While the development will certainly bring challenges, it is something that must go forward in order to attract good jobs, provide diverse and affordable housing options and bring other uses to that underutilized land. Nassau needs projects like this, done right, to make the region sustainable going forward for our kids and their kids." Village of Westbury Mayor, Peter Cavallaro
The meeting was sponsored by and featured the participation of: Nassau County, Town of Hempstead, East Meadow Chamber of Commerce, Village of Westbury, Hempstead Chamber of Commerce, Salvation Army Nassau County, Uniondale Chamber of Commerce, Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition, Uniondale Community Land Trust, Garden City Chamber of Commerce, Community Association of Stewart Ave, Council of East Meadow Community Organizations, the Salisbury Center & Vision Long Island.
The ad hoc group that put the meeting together will act as a clearinghouse for local information on the HUB and hold a future meeting with the developer to provide input as more detailed plans for the project emerge.
Governor Cuomo Delivers State of the State Address
Members of the LI Lobby Coalition were up in Albany this past week to connect with legislators and hear Governor Cuomo's State of the State address and budget message.
In his first State of the State since securing re-election in November, Governor Cuomo laid out a budget proposal for $176 billion, representing a 2% increase from current numbers. Positive highlights included a commitment to spending $150 billion in infrastructure funds during his 3rd term. That includes $66 billion will be for transportation needs that include mass transit, airports, highways, and bridges and tunnels, $32 billion for improving environmental facilities that include parks and environmental facilities, and $20 billion for homeless and affordable housing funding.
The Governor also proposed $2.5 billion for water infrastructure, $750 million for economic development funds, expanded renewable energy including off shore wind production, $400 million for the state’s municipal clean water infrastructure grant program, and $100 million for the 4th year of the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative, all of which are priorities of the LI Lobby Coalition.
He would also touch on a number of other important issues for Long Island. The Governor committed to the extending the property tax cap as well as slightly lowering income taxes on the middle class. Mr. Cuomo also talked about funding for opiod's, middle class tax relief, a fund for communities transitioning out of old power plants and property tax cap extension.
Beyond that the budget called for increased funding for early education and strengthening the state’s healthcare system, as well as enacting New York’s version of the DREAM Act, marijuana legalization, and congestion pricing.
You can view the full speech here.
Housing on the Rise near Downtown LIRR Stations
Vision Long Island recently spoke with FOX 5 News to discuss the ongoing revitalization projects planned by local communities over the last dozen plus years.
13,000 transit oriented development units have been built in the last 13 years, showing a trend of growth as people are looking into alternative housing for a variety of reasons. Developers are seeing a shift away from the City and New Jersey as younger millennials continue to look for a place to live that has accessibility to jobs in NYC but a thriving local scene as well.
“Some want to be on a Main Street,” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander. “Some for economic reasons find it beneficial for various tax law changes to live in a rental situations and others want to downsize.”
We look forward to seeing the multibillion dollar trend move forward as Long Island continues to become a destination to not just live but play as well.
You can read more here.
After Two Decades of Planning, Mastic Voters Approve Sewer Construction
After years of advocacy stretching back almost two decades, sewers are finally approved in Mastic.
The Mastic referendum passed 414-71 to accept $191.3 million in federal and state grants that had been lobbied for and secured four years ago. The project will sewer residential parcels and businesses along the Forge River, including at the commercial corridor along Montauk Highway, and a sewage treatment plant at Brookhaven Calabro Airport. The construction of the plant will be funded 100% through federal grants, and is scalable, allowing adjacent properties to connect to the facility in time.
At the same time, creation of the new district will try and mitigate failures of conventional septic systems in the area that have been brought on by heavy rain and tidal flooding in the region. Sewering of the area not only promotes resilience, but will help break down barriers towards proper economic development of the Mastics-Shirley area.
"This is a major victory for water quality in Suffolk County," said Deputy Suffolk County Executive Peter Scully.
Sewers for the Forge River have been advocated by the communities of Mastic and Shirley and Vision for many years as part of the Montauk Highway Project and more recently the Tri-Community Hamlet Plan.
Congratulations are in order for Suffolk County Legislator Rudy Sunderman, Brookhaven Councilman Dan Panico, and former Suffolk Legislator Kate Browning for pushing for this for many years, as well as all the community organizations that educated the community for a successful turnout.
“We are so happy the sewer referendum was a success. This will allow for economic development in our area as well as take care of our environment. This was a once in a life time opportunity and I am very excited over being part of this accomplishment. I’ve already asked to connect the business district of Mastic beach to phase 1 & 2 and have requested grant funding for phase 3 & 4. We are looking forward to the start of this project in 2020 and more to come in the future.” – Suffolk Legislator Rudy Sundermann
“No longer shall the lack of sewer capacity constrain land uses to banks, pharmacies and fast food. The potential for a vibrant mix of uses along the commercial corridor will become real once the County completes their work in the years to come.” - Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico.
“We are thrilled at the future for this community we now will have an environmentally healthy river and the economics of our business district are going to change drastically. I would like to thank Vision Long Island for hanging in there with us since we started.” – Beth Wahl, President of the Mastic-Shirley Chamber of Commerce.
“The process to obtain funding was over a decade I the making partnering with multiple levels of government this is a crucial step in creating the quality of life that the tri-hamlet area deserves. With a shovel-ready plan, hopefully additional funding will be made available in the future to continue the project.” – Former Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning
“The passage of the project will bolster resilience for the Mastic-Shirley area while providing needed economic benefits that have been desired for years. This will enable the area to take steps forwards towards its revitalization.” – Jon Siebert, Vision Long Island
There are also many people who have been involved on this journey since the beginning, including Beth Wahl and the William Floyd Community Summit, former Councilman Ed Hennessey, the local chamber of commerce, Save the Forge River, the LI Lobby Coalition, and many others.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Deputy County Executive Peter Scully in particular also deserve credit for setting and carrying out the initiative.
Special thanks to Jon Siebert from the Vision team who worked side by side with the local community on this issue as well to help bring it home.
Vision Long Island was glad to see this initiative passed after years of effort by the local community in the face of those who said sewers would never get built. This community is in need of this well-deserved investment for both environmental and economic reasons, and we applaud the outcome
You can read more here.
Farmingdale Residents Consider Moratorium on Downtown Development
In a move aimed at slowing the rapid growth going on in downtown Farmingdale, the village is currently considering a moratorium on new development in the downtown.
After years of increasing growth centered on the LIRR station, residents are growing worried that development will outpace the character of their downtown. Often considered one of Long Island’s up-and-coming downtowns, the Village has created over 250 new units in the past five years. That number is fast approaching the 375 unit goal set in the 2013 Master Plan that paved the way for the new developments.
“But of course they want it at a pace that they can digest, that works with their quality of life,” said Vision Long Island’s Director Eric Alexander. “We always have to listen to the local community.”
While the Village has been enjoying the fruits of its growth, it has also made an effort to include the local community in the decision-making process. Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand embodied that when he stated that it may be time to pause development and assess where the village is.
“Let’s look at everything that’s been done in the past six years,” said Mayor Ekstrand. “Let’s look and see if we have to tweak the master plan a little bit.”
As with any sort of growth, there are challenges to new construction and the parking needs generated by new restaurants and businesses, which have been opening at an increased pace recently. It is important to remember that the bulk of the changes residents wanted to see at the beginning of the process, to fill vacancies and bring vibrancy back to what was a dormant downtown area, have been achieved.
Read more here.
LIRR President Sets Listening Tour Dates for Nassau and Suffolk County
LIRR President Phil Eng has announced the continuation of the ‘Customer Conversations’ forums located across the service territory as part of the LIRR’s efforts to have an open dialogue with customers about service and major initiatives. Daily commuters, leisure travelers, community members and stakeholders are encouraged to attend and engage in constructive dialogue with President Eng and other LIRR senior officials and subject matter experts who will be available to hear about their experiences, share feedback and to answer questions.
The following dates have been set for a forum in both Counties:
Doors will open for the events at 6 p.m. and attendees will have the opportunity to meet both Mr. Eng and experts from various LIRR department. There will be a short presentation at 7 pm followed by a Q&A with the event to conclude by 8:30.
Motown Concert by Ronkonkoma Chamber for Charity
The Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce will be hosting Motown in Our Town, a tribute to The Temptations& Gladys Knight & The Pips starring Shadows of the 60’s.
Tickets are $39.50, with proceeds helping students in the community. The Chamber also plans to make a donation to the Andrew McMorris Fund. Andrew is the Boy Scout that was killed in October by a drunken driver.
The event will be held on February 16th at 7:30PM at Connetquot High School, 190 7th Street in Bohemia. You can buy tickets here, or call 631-698-9696 for more information
Suffolk County Announces $500,000 in Downtown Revitalization Grants
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced that applications for Round 17 of the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Grants Program are now available.
A pool of $500,000 is available for partial funding of capital projects located in, or adjacent to, downtown areas on municipally-owned property. Award recipients will be selected by the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel following a competitive application process.
Suffolk County will host an Applicant Training Session at the H. Lee Dennison Building Media Room on February 14, from 2:00pm - 4:00pm, and applications are due by 4:30pm on May 24, 2019.
Grant applicants must be organizations that represent a downtown area and who partner with their local municipality. Organizations that represent downtown areas including business improvement districts, chambers of commerce, civic associations, historical societies, beautification societies, and local development corporations are eligible applicants. Towns or villages who partner with a community organization are required to pass resolutions supporting the project on which the two entities partner. Projects must be capital in nature and have a significant and sustainable impact that enhances economic activity.
Among the various projects that are eligible for grants are public parking facilities, curb and sidewalk construction, pedestrian walkways, street lighting, public restrooms, disabled accessibility, renovations to existing structures, and cultural facilities. The criteria for eligible projects include that the project must be a capital improvement project, funding request must be at least $10,000, the organization must partner with a municipality and be located on municipally-owned property in or adjacent to a downtown, and the project life-span must be at least 15 years.
In 2018, Suffolk County received 18 applications for the Round 16 grants and 11 projects were funded. A pool of $500,000 was made available to partially fund qualified capital projects. Since 1997, Suffolk County has awarded over $12 million in funds for Downtown Revitalization initiatives.
The Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel utilizes a point system to evaluate each application to ensure projects that receive funding will make the greatest contribution to the long-term improvement of local downtowns and have a positive economic impact on Suffolk County as a whole. The application and guidelines can be found here. For more information on the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization initiative, visit www.suffolkcountyny.gov.
Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarship Applications Being Accepted
The Long Island Section of American Planning Association’s NY Metro Chapter is pleased to announce that they will be awarding up to three Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarships for attendance at the APA National Conference in April 2019.
Long Islanders Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with Local Communities
Vision Board and staff were out this weekend celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s holiday across both Counties.
In Suffolk County we joined over 500 folks at the 34th MLK Memorial Breakfast hosted by the First Baptist Church of Riverhead Pastor Charles Coverdale. The event honored the late Pastor Marvin Dozier from Union Baptist Church and longstanding social justice leader.
The keynote speaker was the Rev. Tish Williams from the First Baptist Church of Bridgehampton who challenged us to connect King’s speech to our experiences now to fight for justice.
“If you can’t march to Washington you can march to the school board meeting, you can march to the community meeting, you can march to the town board meeting and if you can’t do that, at least march to the polls,” said Rev. Williams.
Honorees included Christy Banks from Suffolk Community College, Roger Clayman from the LI Federation of Labor, Oliver Coutrier community advocate and Tijuana Fulford founder of the Butterfly Effect Project.
We would like to give special thanks to Rev. Charles and Shirley Coverdale, and Rev. Cynthia Liggon from the First Baptist Church family for their leadership pulling together hundreds for an inspiring morning.
In Nassau County we joined the 34th Annual MLK Scholarship Luncheon in Uniondale with over 300 attendees.
Opening remarks included Rev. Rodney McRae and Pastor Regina Williams among others.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky were on the program. Other elected officials included NYS Senator Kevin Thomas, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman, Nassau Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, Nassau Legislator Deborah Mule, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen and Village of Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan.
This year’s honorees included Lynette Carr-Hicks of the Uniondale High School Show Choir, Perry Green from Adelphi University, Bishop John Higon Eun of the Chamsarang Korean Methodist Church of Hempstead and Donna Boylan from Nassau County’s Office of Youth Services.
Scholarship Award winners included Elyse Johnson, Jaylin Boyd, Daraeno Ekong, Ateisha Gordan and Nia Mack.
It was great to see the messages of unity from folks of all races, incomes and backgrounds. We hope we can stretch that message well beyond a day.
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