February 5th - 11th, 2017
PSEG Long Island
PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of $10.4 billion and operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a 12-year contract.
They have pledged to build a Long Island utility with PSEG's same record of service, reliability and customer satisfaction. It will take some time to make all the improvements they’re planning, but in the end, they will create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud. Keeping the lights on isn’t just a job: It’s their mission.
“This foundation was established to remove barriers to mobility experienced by low income families and individuals. Accessibility to transportation is essential to quality of life and for many residents with limited resources, the cost of a bus trip can be a drain on their resources. We want to bridge that gap by providing free bus transportation in the form of single-ride Metrocards usable only on NICE buses.” - NICE Chief Executive Officer Mike Setzer on establishment of a nonprofit to provide free rides for low income families
“These are people that are working hard — many of them two or three jobs, just to make ends meet and to support their families... And transportation is a huge issue. A program such as this is going to help them so that they can redirect some of the funds they have in their limited budget.” - Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest
NICE Bus Announces Free MetroCard Program
In a move designed to help low-income residents, Nassau Inter-County Express has announced a new program that will provide free MetroCards to those who need it.
The program will be administered through "Everyone Rides NICE," a nonprofit that will allow for charitable donations, with free round trip cards provided to needy residents through an initial $1.25 million grant from Transdev, NICE’s parent company. Human service agencies on Long Island will help to determine eligibility, and will seek out low income families to receive the cards. Agencies include the Interfaith Nutrition Network, the Long Island Council of Churches, Island Harvest Food Bank, Hispanic Counseling Center in Hempstead, Circulo de Hispanidad in Long Beach and others.
“These are people that are working hard — many of them two or three jobs, just to make ends meet and to support their families... And transportation is a huge issue,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest. “A program such as this is going to help them so that they can redirect some of the funds they have in their limited budget.”
Eligible riders will typically include families in need of short term assistance and will provide up to $110 in benefits, approximately a month’s worth of round trips.“This foundation was established to remove barriers to mobility experienced by low income families and individuals,” said NICE Chief Executive Officer Mike Setzer. “Accessibility to transportation is essential to quality of life and for many residents with limited resources, the cost of a bus trip can be a drain on their resources. We want to bridge that gap by providing free bus transportation in the form of single-ride Metrocards usable only on NICE buses.”
Long Island Arts Organizations Receive More than $1 million in Grants
2017 has seen grants totaling more than $1 million awarded to Long Island arts and cultural programs. State grants have been awarded to over 25 separate organizations in both Nassau and Suffolk County according to the New York State Council on the Arts. The groups range in mediums from visual to literary and offer education and economic development to underserved populations.
Of the $41 million expended, LI secured over $1 million including support of key organizations and programs in local downtowns including East End Arts, Riverhead, Babylon Council for the Arts, Great Neck Center for the Visual & Performing Arts, East Hampton Film Festival, Huntington Arts Council, Patchogue Arts Council and Theatre Three, Port Jefferson.
Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney Holds Small Business Forum
Vision recently attended a small business round table hosted by Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney which included chamber leaders from Baldwin, Freeport, Seaford, Merrick, Bellmore and Wantagh. The session covered such subjects as the challenges of parking, regulations, pedestrian safety, internet shopping and the need for increased downtown redevelopment. The discussion included business students from Molloy College as well.
Huntington Commissions Feasibility Study for New Parking Garage
This past week, the Town of Huntington’s Economic Development Corporation voted to hire a consultant for the purpose of studying the impact of a parking garage in the downtown. As a result of the vote, Old Bethpage’s Level G Associates will be hired to design and assess the project while reviewing previous parking studies. The designated location will be the municipal lot between New and Green Street in Huntington village.
The EDC understands how availability of adequate parking affects the economic health of the village and its future and is happy to commission this study as a logical next step in the process of considering the various courses of action,” EDC Chairman Rob Ripp said in the statement.
This measure comes as the town continues to grapple with parking issues in the popular destination downtown. The study is just the latest move by the Huntington Village Parking Consortium, a group that include the town itself, the EDC, the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, the Huntington Village Business Improvement District and the Paramount Theater.
The study is currently estimated to take three months and cost approximately $10,000.
You can read more on this here.
Mattituck-Laurel Holds Educational Forum on Land Use and Community Feedback
Vision was out last week at the Mattituck/Laurel Civic Association meeting in Southold where they are dealing with recent development pressure.
At the meeting, residents brought their concerns about the future of their hamlets to the fore, asking questions concerning the pace of development and the possibility of a moratorium on permits. Southold is currently working on developing its master plan and will likely need over a year from now to implement new zoning codes as part of the plan. With this in mind coupled with seven building applications currently being considered, the civic association asked whether or not there should be a moratorium.
Town of Southold Supervisor Scott Russell provided an update on the many years of planning studies, moratoriums and land use regulation to preserve the quality of life while balancing private property rights. We were speaking to the benefits of charrettes and other forms of public input in the planning process and the Director of the Peconic Baykeeper Dan Gulizio tackled the use of Moratoriums as a planning tool. Suffolk Legislator Al Krupski was present and spoke to County efforts to support the economic needs of local farmers.
Supervisor Russell called such a move untenable for the town while noting that moratoriums are generally used by towns to address narrow and pre defined issues via code. Mr. Russell went on to state that a stoppage of all new permits while waiting on final approval of a comprehensive plan, which is a widely defined goal and issue, was not likely.
“Moratoria have to be a little more clearly defined, a little bit narrower in scope,” he said. “You can’t just declare a moratorium and then figure out what you want to do with that moratorium. You have to know pretty much in advance.”
However, the Supervisor did urge the community to continue being engaged and to ensure that their voices be heard during the process. Vision Long Island’s Eric Alexander spoke on charrettes, a style of meeting designed to engage and draw feedback from the community. Such meetings have been held over the past two years in Southold, leading to numerous proposals under consideration for the current comprehensive plan.
In the final part of the meeting, Dan Gulizio of Peconic Baykeepers gave a presentation on what the town’s planning process involves. During the presentation, he stated that the process is designed to best serve a balance amongst what is ultimately a set of competing interests.
The civic associations present struck a cautious tone, noting that while they may not get a moratorium, they now better understand what tools they have to have their concerns addressed going forward.
“Now we can go back to people who are participating and say, ‘How do we move forward? and ‘What next steps do we want to take?’ I am a firm believer in people from different parts of the community coming together and having a well-organized agenda and laying out next steps,” said Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association founding member and president Mary Eisenstein “That’s why I am promoting (a charrette) where we want to have the chamber, the wineries, the school district and town government, so we can have that conversation.”
“What was most exciting to see was the range of activity from the civic including a safe streets study, youth input in the planning process and very high civic participation. Kudos to civic leader Mary Eisenstein and her team for an enlightening night as it was great to hear from a part of Long Island that we have not fully connected to over the years.” said Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island.
You can read more on this meeting here.
Trump Administration Releases Preliminary List of Targeted Infrastructure
President Trump’s team recently compiled and released a list of about 50 infrastructure projects totaling $137.5 billion that could become priority projects for funding.
During his campaign, Trump promised to make infrastructure spending a priority and has begun vetting projects to do just that. Projects currently being examined include a new terminal for the Kansas City airport, upgrading Interstate 95, a high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas, and replacement of the nation’s radar-based air traffic control system with a modern, satellite based one. A more detailed document of projects from the administration also includes a proposal for them to be a public-private partnership, with half of the money coming from private investors.
While only about 50 have been released, aides have indicated that the suggestion process is ongoing, with over 300 projects currently being considered across the country. The efforts are also currently being coordinated with the National Governors Association, who is reaching out to governor’s offices for input.
“They seek examples of priority infrastructure projects that might be incorporated into a future infrastructure investment program,” said a letter from the governors’ association, dated Dec. 16. “Specifically, the transition team is looking for 3 to 5 project suggestions from each state that they would vet for inclusion in a new program.”
That same letter has also indicated that the vetting process would be conducted by a bipartisan infrastructure commission. The initial amount spent is estimated to be $150 billion, with the process being continuous over the next 2 years.
Projects must meet specific criteria to be considered, including: A national security of public safety “emergency;” “Shovel-ready,” with at least 30 percent of initial design and engineering work complete; Direct job creator; Project with the potential for increased U.S. manufacturing.
You can read more on this story here.
Make Sure to Clear Your Sidewalks
As folks who are traversing Main Streets and other destinations know, roads may be clear from snow and ice but sidewalks, crosswalks and curbs are not. Seniors, disabled folks, families and all citizens walking need safe passage through the winter. It is the job of local businesses, municipalities and, in the absence of that, support volunteers to safely clear the areas for pedestrians.
Should you see anyone who is derelict in clearing the sidewalk in front of their place of business or an area they are responsible for, please be sure and contact your local municipality, the County, or any private entity who manages the area. Feel free to also reach out to us at 631-261-0242 or email@example.com to inform us of sidewalks that need to be cleared.
Thank you, and stay safe out there when traveling in snowy and icy conditions.
Opportunities Abound for LI in State, Federal Proposals
Division seems to be the reported theme of our federal and state politics. There is a deluge of acrimony between special interest groups and passionate citizens protesting on the federal level and a lack of communication among state branches of government. Regardless of the conflict, there are a few common sense proposals that can assist Long Island communities.
Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State included a stop in Farmingdale as a precursor to his budget. Some of the following policies have been a part of the 90 organization Long Island Lobby Coalition agenda for some time.
Part of a list of infrastructure projects included a $2 billion statewide water fund. Also added was $40 million for Kings Park and Smithtown downtown sewer expansion.
Transportation enhancements include $80 million to modernize 16 major LIRR stations. The station upgrades include Wi-Fi, clearer signage for travelers and public art. Completion of double track and advancement of the third track are other projects that are moving forward. With the MTA payroll tax providing a minimal amount of benefit for Long Islanders, these investments are good to see.
Ride-sharing was also on the agenda as it is currently only legal in NYC and could aide in funding Nassau and Suffolk busses. State senators have proposed a .50 surcharge on rides to support bus service in both counties where recurring revenue for these systems is desperately needed. Regardless of the fate of this proposal, redirecting some MTA payroll tax dollars towards our local bus service is needed.
Recent proposals weren’t all good news as local governments and small businesses don’t all see benefits. Most municipalities which have been living under the tax cap are the front lines for public services. They are the most trusted and able to achieve consensus. With that said, ideas for more regional planning impacting local government received a lukewarm response.
Without mandate relief or an increase in AIM funding – more regulations would not be helpful. A better idea would be to target support for local downtowns that have been planning and executing Main Street revitalization for many years, like Westbury that received funding in last year’s DRI initiative.
The small business community is grappling with an increased minimum wage and ongoing regulations with little relief. Proposals to subsidize not for profits through wage increases leave out these local employers. Legislation for small business savings accounts provides an opportunity to balance the scales.
On the federal level, the president has proposed a record infrastructure investment to get folks back to work. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao along with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will likely shape the proposals coming forward with the assistance of the House Transportation Committee which includes L.I.’s Congressman Lee Zeldin. Sen. Schumer recently stood with LI transportation advocates to call for these investments in local roads, bridges, transit and other projects.
Congressman Peter King stood with the LI Coalition for the Homeless demonstrating support for homeless veterans, housing and support services that need to stay in place as the new regime sets priorities.
Despite the division there are ways our region can rally around these initiatives. Hopefully we will see through the clouds of conflict and move our local economy forward with state and federal support.
Habitat for Humanity Suffolk to Team up with Chipotle for Fund Raiser
On Thursday, March 2nd, Habitat for Humanity Suffolk with team up with Chipotle for a fundraiser at the 435 Walt Whitman Road location in Huntington Station. If you bring in a flyer (located here), show it on your smartphone, or tell the cashier you're supporting the cause, 50% of your purchase will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Suffolk.
The 2017 Complete Streets Summit
Please join us for the 2017 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, March 30th, from 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM at The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, located at 7180 Republic Airport in Farmingdale.
This event consists of a contingent of chambers of commerce, civic associations, local governments, engineering and professional trade groups, transit advocates and members of the public who want safe streets for all modes of traffic. The group looks to coordinate Complete Streets planning efforts, communicate on finding opportunities for local projects, and act as a clearinghouse for information and lobby with a united voice for safe roadways.
Past Complete Streets Summits, held at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale, have been gatherings of government leaders, planners, engineers, nonprofits and other community stakeholders who support policy changes to design roadways for all uses – not just automobiles. The Summit was a chance to remind participants of the campaign’s significance.
Online registration is available here. You can also register by contacting Vision Long Island at 631-261-0242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Destination downtowns, arts grant applications due Feb. 24
Grant applications for Suffolk County destination downtowns, cultural arts and emerging film festivals are due Feb. 24.
Funding for the program – the 2017 Cultural Arts Competitive, Destination Downtown and Emerging Film Festivals grant – is subject to availability and approval by the county legislature. The opportunities are offered by the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning in cooperation with the Cultural Affairs Citizens Advisory Board for the Arts and the Suffolk County Motion Picture/Television Film Commission.
The destination downtown opportunity includes two $25,000 awards for programs that complement the county’s transit-oriented development agenda that was adopted in the county’s Comprehensive Master Plan 2035. The film festival program provides grant awards for film exhibitions that provide opportunities for local, national, and international filmmakers to screen their films and offer the chance to promote Suffolk County as a film-friendly region.
Technical Assistance Grants for Affordable Solar Projects Available
NY-Sun is now accepting applications for the Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance program. This new funding opportunity supports the development of solar projects for multifamily affordable housing and community solar projects serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, with up to $200,000 for each approved proposal.
Many LMI households are unable to access benefits from conventional residential solar installations. To help expand access to solar benefits for LMI households, NYSERDA is seeking proposals for projects leading to:
Projects related to on-site solar installations for owner-occupied houses are not eligible for funding through this solicitation. However, NY-Sun provides support to LMI homeowners through the Affordable Solar Program.
Applications may be submitted by local governments, affordable housing, community organizations and service providers working to make solar accessible to LMI communities in New York. NY-Sun will accept and review applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. Visit the program webpage for more details and the application.
If you have questions about the solicitation, please email email@example.com.
DOE Solar in Your Community Challenge Grant
The Solar in Your Community Challenge is an 18-month, $5 million prize competition to support community-based solar programs and projects aimed at providing solar access to low and moderate income communities. The Challenge is aimed at supporting innovators across the U.S. to create scalable solutions that will bring solar to nonprofits, LMI households and local and tribal governments. Selected teams will be provided with seed funding as they complete milestones, receive technical assistance from an online marketplace of qualified experts, and compete to win final prizes from May 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018.
If you are interested in learning more about the Solar in Your Community Challenge and forming a team, please visit the program webpage. The application deadline is March 17, 2017. This program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and is administered by SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
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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Source the Station Employs Beautification in Huntington Station
Source the Station was recently featured in a story showcasing their efforts to bring beautification to Huntington Station via a series of informative art instillations and sidewalk art. Check out the above video to see more on these great efforts or follow the link here.
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