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May 28th - June 24th, 2017

Regional Updates

Renaissance Downtowns

Renaissance Downtowns is a nationally-renowned and exclusive leader in large-scale unified community-driven downtown revitalization.

Their success in securing $12 billion in downtown development agreements among several communities is centered on a Unified Development Approach (UDA). The UDA is a collaborative, public-private partnership-driven framework that brings together disparate groups of a community to collectively transform a downtown into a vibrant destination, adhering to the triple bottom line of being economically, socially and environmentally beneficial.

The means by which these partners are committed to such collective impact is through an innovative crowdsourced placemaking program, pioneered by CSPM Group. Crowdsourced placemaking is a process through which partners, stakeholders and advocates positively campaign for what they would most like to see realized in their revitalized downtown, often working collectively to garner the most impact, while adhering to the triple bottom line.

“The collective work with the communities, with Renaissance Downtowns and with the Town has paid off…. We’re going to attract millennials to this facility, and that speaks highly because the Station is a hub, the Station is a nucleus of people who commute, especially, and that’s who we are looking to attract…. There was considerable money put into this, and commitment, because that’s the commitment necessary to start the engine of economic development.” - Supervisor Frank Petrone speaking about the Northridge Project in Huntington Station

"Leadership matters in the senate and assembly and that is what NYS Senator Boyle has done in pushing and passing the legislation to help small business in NYS. I am referring to the NYS Small Business Deferred Savings Account legislation. This State and country was built on small businesses... the rising tide floats all boats.. in a word "thank you." - Long Island Business Council Co-Chair Bob Fonti speaking on the Small Business IRA

“I’m for Uber 100%, but they should go by the same rules that any other company does” - Hon. Rob Trotta, Suffolk County Legislator

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Huntington Station’s Revitalization Celebrated with Beam Signing

Vision joined elected officials from the Town of Huntington, community members, and Renaissance Downtowns this month for a steel beam signing ceremony for the Northridge Project in downtown Huntington Station. The ceremony marked progress in the first construction that master developer Renaissance Downtowns has undertaken since becoming Huntington Station’s master developer in 2011.

The three-story mixed-use building on the northeast corner of Northridge Street and New York Avenue will have 6,500 square feet of commercial space on the lower level, and sixteen apartments spread out amongst the second and third floors above. The studio and one bedroom apartments are expected to rent at between $2,000 and $2,500, which is less than comparable units in Huntington Village. Residential tenants are expected to move in around fall of this year, with the first commercial tenant, May’s Gourmet Deli, already signed up to move in.

“All of you who are here have been inspirational in the process, and we know it’s taken a long time, but it’s happened,” Supervisor Petrone said in his remarks at the ceremony. “The collective work with the communities, with Renaissance Downtowns and with the Town has paid off…. We’re going to attract millennials to this facility, and that speaks highly because the Station is a hub, the Station is a nucleus of people who commute, especially, and that’s who we are looking to attract…. There was considerable money put into this, and commitment, because that’s the commitment necessary to start the engine of economic development.”

The Northridge project is the first part of a larger effort to revitalize Huntington Station. Other proposed projects include a mixed-use building on Olive Street and New York Avenue, artists’ lofts and gallery space, and a hotel. “You’re going to see more development around the station where development should occur,” said Don Monti, CEO of Renaissance Downtowns. “We’re very happy to be a part of this and we’re very optimistic that we will see more development.”

Vision testified in support of this project at multiple public hearings and has been part of numerous plans for the revitalization of Huntington Station for many years.   We are glad to see this long awaited project move forward.  

You can read more about the first of Huntington Station’s revitalization efforts here

Majority of Residents in Favor of Proposed Floating Zone in Lindenhurst

Vision Board, staff and community partners were out this month at an energized public hearing in the Village of Lindenhurst in support of their proposed floating zone.

Over 150 folks were in attendance and 40 local residents and business owners spoke with 28 in favor. Of the twelve others, four had questions on the height, two were concerned about the area turning into Queens, one questioned why the proposed builder was driving the process, one questioned parking, one spoke about traffic, one spoke about eminent domain and gentrification, one person spoke about intense school district impacts, and two were solidly against the proposal.

The village board is considering the adoption of a “floating zone” that will be known as the Downtown Redevelopment District. A floating zone is a district that can be applied geographically and its specifics altered on a case-by-case basis depending on a proposed development. The zoning code would allow the equivalent of four-story buildings in height for any parcel of three acres or more. It would be good to allow a variance for smaller parcels in the downtown business district.

Tritec Development has proposed to build 260 multifamily rental units across from the LIRR station- 7.1 acres bordered by East Hoffman to the north, East Gates Avenue to the south, South Smith Street to the west and South Pennsylvania Avenue to the east. The area is currently zoned industrial. The village’s only multi-residential zoning is for seniors, said village attorney Gerard Glass, so this proposed zoning would allow for multi-residence.

Though it is understandable that the Village is concerned about increased traffic from development, using “Level of Service” as the metric to trigger whether mitigation is required for intersections may diminish walkability in the area. Level of Service is a metric that encourages the free flow of automobiles at the expense of all other measures including safety for drivers and pedestrians. Typical mitigation measures such as adding turn lanes to intersections or entirely new lanes to add capacity have a very detrimental effect on walkability. Higher travel speeds and wider intersections create a more dangerous and uncomfortable environment for those not in a car. The movement of people in all modes of travel, not just automobiles, should be used to determine what improvements may be needed.

Vision has found that in many recently built multi-family developments close to train stations, the amount of parking that has been required is greater than the actual demand. There are many empty parking spaces that have been built that aren’t being used which drive up the cost of construction and detract from the pedestrian environment. The requirements in this code are lower than the Village’s typical requirement of two spaces per unit and 1:200 sf of retail, which is an improvement. The provision to allow landbanking of spaces is also helpful to minimize these consequences of building too much parking, but the Village should consider a further reduction to the parking requirements and the allowance for shared parking to be used between different uses to maximize efficiency.

Glad to see the vast majority of folks here were from the local community and in support of housing in the downtown area. Kudos to the Mayor and the Village Board along with former Mayor and Suffolk Legislator Kevin McCaffrey for thoughtful comments and ensuring a good turnout for the hearing.

The Board has since voted unanimously to approve the floating zone. You can read more about the public hearing here.

Hearing on Large Huntington Mixed-Use Project Delayed

Plans to build a 271,836 square foot mixed-use building with 84 luxury apartments along Gerard Street in Huntington has stalled after receiving feedback from the Huntington Planning Board.

The proposal, made by Alan Fromkin, who owns the five parcels in the area he wishes to develop, would require demolition of all existing structures across the parcels, which includes the former site of the old Huntington Firehouse. Plans include 3,853 square feet of rental space that would be reserved for Mac’s Steakhouse, which would be demolished, as well as setting aside 11,620 square feet of retail space for Classic Galleries, which is owned by Fromkin. Variances that would be required for the plan to go forward would include approval to build a four story building, and providing 127 parking spaces rather than 262 required by code. The apartments that are planned to be built would require 126 spaces.

The postponement was requested after an attorney for the developer received a memo signed by the Town planner, outlining issues with several parts of the plan. The planning board, who took issue with the size of the plan, requested more details on the project, including a clearer rendering, one that would show adjacent buildings on each side to ensure that the proposal will not “adversely affect the character of the area.” The board also wants a traffic study to be completed and submitted, in addition to the submitted parking analysis. Issues with fire safety and a SEQRA review were also noted in the memo. “While the planning board is in favor of the concept of the proposal, they believe the scope of the project is too large, and think the proposal should be limited to no more than three stories,” the memo states. The proposal also calls for apartments on the first floor of the mixed-use building, which is not permitted by town code.

Fromkin’s attorney said of the postponement, “we adjourned it so that we can address certain comments. We just need to address it so we can clarify what we’re doing.” As of now, there is no rescheduled public hearing date before the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the project.

Job Fair Held for $1 Billion Mixed-Use Project in Glen Cove

The City of Glen Cove and RXR recently hosted a job expo for contractors who were looking to engage with the construction of the $1 billion Garvies Point project on the Glen Cove waterfront.

This project is a past Smart Growth award winner and has had the support of Vision for over a dozen years at multiple hearings. The informational event, which was held June 8 at City Hall, is mostly targeting contracting businesses and individuals for the variety of construction jobs needed to build the project.

The list of skills sought involve site work, carpentry, painting, landscaping, roofing, plumbing, masonry, concrete, insulation, drywall, electrical work, flooring, doors, fire protection and many more.

Sales of the first condominiums at the new Garvies Point community in Glen Cove begin this month. There will be 167 one-, two- and three-bedroom residences ranging from 906 to 2,052 square feet at the waterfront condo complex called The Beacon, scheduled to be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2019.

The first rental complex at Garvies Point, dubbed Harbor Landing, will also be ready for occupancy at about the same time as the condos. Harbor Landing will have 385-residences, a mix of studios and one- and two- bedroom apartments ranging from about 500 square feet to 1,300 square feet.

The condos and the rental apartments are part of the first phase of the Garvies Point redevelopment which will eventually bring 1,100 residences, about 75,000 square feet of retail and office space and 28 acres of waterfront esplanades and parks to the 60-acre site on Glen Cove Creek formerly occupied by heavy industry and junkyards.

The purchasers and managers responsible for the hiring of Garvies Point construction contracts were at the jobs event to discuss and answer questions. Those that were unable to attend can email for more information.

Vision is glad to see the project move forward for cleanup of the waterfront, a mixed-use destination, as well as local jobs for the Island's workforce.

Legislation for Tax Deferred Small Business Savings Accounts Passes NYS Senate, Moves to Assembly

This week saw a key piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Phil Boyle pass the NYS Senate.

Authorizing Small Business Savings Accounts to Help in Emergencies: Bill S3557, will create or retain jobs during times of hardship by allowing small businesses to contribute to a tax-deferred savings account. Contributions to the account could be withdrawn tax-free during times of specified economic hardship, for the purpose of job retention or creation, or times where the Governor deems it a natural disaster to warrant assistance from the federal government.

"Leadership matters in the senate and assembly and that is what NYS Senator Boyle has done in pushing and passing the legislation to help small business in NYS,” said Long Island Business Council Co-Chair Bob Fonti. “I am referring to the NYS Small Business Deferred Savings Account legislation. This State and country was built on small businesses... the rising tide floats all boats.. in a word "thank you". 

"Too often economic development programs and NYS regulations do not assist the local small business community. Thanks to Senator Boyle and the NYS Senate they have passed an innovative program that would allow local businesses to have access to capital, create jobs and expand," said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander.

"Small business is the backbone of our country,” according to Suffolk Alliance of Chambers of Commerce Co-Chair Gina Coletti. “Special thanks to Senator Phil Boyle for supporting the Small Business Tax Deferred Legislation. This effort will help the downtowns, small businesses and chambers of commerce throughout Suffolk County."

This bill was a key element of the 90 organization LI Lobby Coalition's legislative agenda and want to again thank the Senator and the entire delegation for ongoing support.

The bill will now move to the Assembly where it is being introduced by Assemblyman Chuck Lavine.  There is currently no opposition to the bill among the members that have been spoken to by the Long Island Assembly delegation.  However, there is also no current timetable on when the legislation will be brought to the floor for a vote.  We will update you on the status as changes occur.

You can read the full text of the bill here.

Suffolk County Debates Uber Ride Sharing Services

Vision was out this week to give testimony at the Suffolk County Legislature’s General Meeting in Riverside in support of two bills which would ensure that ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft would be more strictly regulated like NYC. In a near-capacity auditorium, 11 gave testimony in favor of temporarily opting out of ride sharing services in Suffolk, while seven spoke in favor of letting ride-sharing services begin on June 29th with no changes. It’s interesting to note that 5 of the 7 that did not want to see a moratorium on ride-sharing services were wearing black shirts that simply said “Uber”, which were handed out at the front door of the building. There were no representatives from Uber testifying, however there were 4 people from taxi and limousine organizations that did.

The first bill, proposed by Legislator Leslie Kennedy, was aimed at opting out of ride-sharing in Suffolk County until New York State addresses the status of Level 1 sex offenders. Level 1 sex offenders were able to drive for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft because even though they register, since Uber only performs background checks that go back seven years. Level 1 sex offenders usually have to stay registered for 20 years. A bill that was passed in Albany a day before session ended this week closed that loophole, barring all registered sex offenders from driving for ride-share services. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who embraced ride-sharing services in a press conference earlier this month, said that if the state did not act on the sex offender loophole, that a special session would be called to act on the bill to prevent sex offenders from driving for ride-sharing services.

The second bill, proposed by Legislators Fleming and Spencer, proposed a six month moratorium on ride-sharing services in Suffolk County for various reasons, including an unfair competitive advantage for ride-sharing services over regulated taxi and limousine companies, a 4% tax which goes directly to the State’s general fund rather than to Suffolk to fund public transportation, impacts to public safety and the environment, and issues with ADA compliance, safety, and banking information. The state law allowing ride-sharing services was passed with this year’s budget, and does not allow Counties to make stricter regulations or impose taxes on ride-sharing. A portion of the tax that goes directly to New York State to be retained in the County that it is generated was an agenda item of the 90 member Long Island Lobby Coalition.

Testimony given by those in favor of allowing ride-sharing services to begin without changes included praises for flexible work schedules, and “opportunity for drivers to save lives” by transporting intoxicated people across municipalities, not having to work 12-hour shifts which can cause tired driving, and allowing school aged children to be transported. One person that testified, a cab driver that will be switching to Uber, said that passengers were stranded at their point of origin after a recent snowstorm because the taxi companies closed down, and with Uber, he would have been able to make the decision to drive, bringing passengers to their destinations. Questions came from Legislators to those in favor of Uber moving ahead as is.

Of those against a moratorium, zero disagreed with fees imposed not going to the County, with most saying they would agree with that as long as Uber can operate without delay. Other questions included those regarding insurance. Uber provides $50,000 in injury liability per person, $100,000 total, and $25,000 in property damage when the driver is logged in until the time they accept a ride. New York State mandates that there is a total of $1.25 million  bodily injury coverage retained by the driver. Some who testified to not have a moratorium, and were either Uber drivers or signed up to drive, did not realize that they need to have “for-hire” or commercial insurance, like taxis do. It is not only more expensive, but many insurance companies will drop policies if the holders drive from ride-sharing services. Not having proper insurance can put not only the drivers at risk of liability, but the passengers, as well as anyone involved in an incident. The insurance coverages are to be submitted to Uber, and NY State has jurisdiction over follow up on that, unlike with taxis and limousines in Suffolk, there the TLC regulates insurance issues. One person that gave testimony stated that he did not tell his insurance company that he will be driving for Uber, but instead retained additional coverage by saying that he will have additional passengers. If an incident occurs, the policy will not cover the incident.

Those who were in favor of the temporary moratorium cited concerns including a lack of proper insurance coverage, the potential of drivers hacking calls at train stations and at populated venues, charges for wait times for the disabled, public safety issues. It was noted by Pat Russo, a former judge overseeing TLC cases in NYC, that the State of Massachusetts drafted legislation last year requiring a second set of background checks for ride-share drivers, which disqualified over 8,000 drivers that were previously cleared to drive by Uber.  One of the major concerns brought up by taxi and limousine owners, and the Nassau Suffolk Taxi Association was that there would be un uneven playing field for ride-share services and TLC regulated entities.

Taxi and limousine companies are required to register with Suffolk County TLC, which costs thousands of dollars a year, and also requires fingerprinting, background checks, drug screens, and more regulation. “It’s undisputed that our local licensing regulations were established for the primary purpose of insuring the safety of local riders,” said a member of NSTA. Legislators agreed that there should be equal standards for companies that are currently regulated by TLC and ride-share services. Legislator Rob Trotta said, “I’m for Uber 100%, but they should go by the same rules that any other company does,” with Legislator Tom Muratore also hoping for parity in regulation, and that ride-sharing services will want to move ahead to be regulated by TLC. “We’ll sign up for this; we’ll pay the fees like anyone else does. If they don’t want to play fair, I don’t think I can support them.”

Patricia Gatling, who served 20 years as a prosecutor, 13 years as a NYC human right commissioner, and Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights under Governor Cuomo testified in support of both bills.  “Transportation is a civil and human rights priority,” said Gatling.  “Access to reliable and affordable transportation widens opportunity and is essential to addressing poverty, unemployment, and other equal opportunity goals such as access to good schools and healthcare services.” She testified that TNC services provide inadequate services to low-income minorities and disabled people, causes vehicle proliferation and surge pricing, where the “so-called sharing economy does not apply." The lack of the fingerprinting requirement was also identified as an issue, on top of discrimination issues. A recent study by MIT showed a disproportionate amount of African-Americans had rides cancelled by Uber drivers when an “African-American name” came up for bid.

Concerns were also brought up regarding what is known as “surge pricing”. At times of peak usage, Uber will use surge pricing to increase the fare, up to four times the usual cost. Taxi companies cannot and do not follow this practice.  

Vision testified with a series of questions about Uber services with a preference for them to be regulated in a similar fashion to NYC.   You can read the testimony here.

Both bills will be sent back to committee and are able to be brought up at the next legislative meeting.

MTA and LIRR Attempt to Manage Summer Commute Crisis

This week, the MTA and Long Island Railroad announced plans to counteract congestion issues that will impact LIRR riders over the summer due to emergency repairs being made by Amtrak and in the future, including work on the Double Track Project, added alternative transportation options, and fare reductions for commuters.

Buses will substitute for Long Island Rail Road trains at Central Islip and Ronkonkoma on Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25, in order to allow crews to conduct critical work to advance the LIRR’s Ronkonkoma Branch Double Track Project, which will improve train service and allow greater flexibility to minimize the impact of service disruptions along the branch. The Double Track Project is a $387 million infrastructure project that will add a second track to the 18-mile stretch from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma by the end of 2018. The work on this weekend calls for switch installation and related track work for the Double Track project.

Amtrak will be conducting emergency repairs on three tracks at Penn Station, which are said to be between July 10th and September 1st and have 20% of trains during the evening peak commute slashed. To counteract the cuts, the Penn Station Task Force was created to find alternative solutions. Those solutions include adding additional cars to rush hour trains, the creation of a new bus and ferry network that’s free to LIRR monthly and weekly ticketholders, free morning subway transfers for all LIRR ticketholders, and half-price tolls for trucks on MTA crossings between 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. to alleviate congestion on roads.200 coach buses will also be offered for free from eight locations on Long Island to accommodate up to 2,900 people, and will drop passengers off in 3 locations in Manhattan. Rapid-response teams will be pre-deployed  in order to quick-clear debris, perform emergency maintenance or other tasks necessary to ensure the flow of traffic during the morning and evening peak travel period.

Discounted fares will also be available in response to Governor Cuomo’s call for reductions due to the disruption. All LIRR riders will be given a free transfer during the morning rush to New York City subways at Atlantic Terminal and Hunterspoint Avenue which have direct and easy connections to multiple subway lines. The reductions – which are based on the distance passengers are traveling – will be in effect from July 10th to the completion of Amtrak repair work. “Governor Cuomo has asked us to provide greater value to our customers while Amtrak conducts repairs this summer. In response we’re adding to the mitigation measures we’ve already announced by providing a discount that will give customers who travel to key transportation hubs an average discount of 25%,” said MTA Interim Director Ronnie Hakim. “We believe that this move will mitigate the inconvenience that our customers may experience, and have the added benefit of drawing customers away from Penn Station while Amtrak performs repair work.”

Critics questioned the message the MTA sent for commuters to stay home through this crisis.  Given the need for working people to use the LIRR service, the increased fares that they do pay and the MTA payroll tax that is imposed on LI businesses many were not pleased by that suggestion.  

The MTA also said that they will be launching a robust public awareness campaign aimed to letting commuters know alternative transportation options for the summer. You can learn more about the accommodations at which will be the clearinghouse for all information.

Long Island Business News Real Estate Forum Tackles TOD Projects

Vision Board and staff were out last week with about 150 folks at the Long Island Business News Real Estate Forum. The panel discussion focused on the importance of the current and ongoing successful trends and some of the challenges for redevelopment on Long Island.

Nick Terzulli from the Nassau IDA outlined the successful developers and communities that have been revitalizing their downtowns. He covered the importance of involving local chambers and municipalities early in development planning. He pushed back on the many comparisons some panel members were making to NYC and instead spoke of the suburban TOD regions of New Jersey, Connecticut and Westchester that Nassau is competing against. “We’re not Denver, we’re not Seattle, but we’re starting to get things done,” Terzulli said, adding that the new Dealertrack complex in North Hills opening this month will employ more than 700 well-paid technology workers.

Don Monti from Renaissance Downtowns spoke about the need for economic growth to address the many challenges our region faces, including younger folks moving out of state.  He also touched on the need for community outreach in advance of planning local developments. “We have to solve brain drain,” Monti said, citing places like Seattle and Denver, where millennials have been flocking to. “There are so many more things to do here. We’ve a long way to go.”

Panelists spoke of the challenges the LIRR faces currently and with the proposed 3rd Track.

All spoke about the weakening of the retail market where the big box stores are shrinking due to the Internet and Amazon. The overall trend is toward experiential retail and less focus on hard goods.

Vision got a nice shout out from the stage which was very cool. In talking with folks afterward it was understood that public support for TOD projects in many communities was at an all-time high. The hard work of local residents and small business owners has resulted in over 60 of the last 70 hearings showing more support than opposition.

LIBN Real Estate writer Dave Winzelberg closed out the program. Kudos to LI Business News for a thoughtful review of past and current redevelopment accomplishments.

CNU Hudson Valley Summit Reviews New York Revitalization Plans

Vision Board and staff traveled to downtown Poughkeepsie earlier this month for the Congress for New Urbanism’s Hudson Valley Summit. Over 100 architects, planners, developers and municipal staff participated in work sessions and tours. Topics included Downtown Revitalization, the role of agriculture in urban revitalization, climate change and New Urbanism.

Featured speakers included James Howard Kunstler, Doug Farr, Lynn Richards, Bill Tuyn, Mike Lydon, Marc Wouters and Don Monti. Great to hear some of the other presenters as well.   For more information please check out

Downtown success starts with real people in real communities

We all get 10-12 messages a day through our phones and varying social media to not trust big institutions, disconnect from each other and live in our own individual bubble.  Something gets lost in the constant bombardment of celebrity news, fake news, news from and for elites – it’s our reality and the value of our local relationships and communities.

In my job I am blessed to spend time on real strategies, with projects and people that are successful: Men and women creating jobs, building a downtown development or workers physically creating the structure.

They are small business owners who put their life savings or their young future on the line investing in a Main Street, and neighboring residents who are scared of change but invested in making their community better and are proactively getting involved.
The good news is these folks have an opportunity each month in front of their neighbors, constituents or customers at board or community meetings to answer questions and build consensus and trust.

When we use broad external reasons why something has to change in our region without connecting to real people in a local community, we lose. When we spend time listening, connecting and understanding a local community – we win.

This year’s LI Smart Growth Awards honored 12 projects and leaders from Mineola, Riverhead, Wyandanch, Rockville Centre, Great Neck Plaza, Baldwin, Glen Cove, Middle Island and Bay Shore as well as achievements in regional planning, job development, transportation alternatives and renewable energy.

Look at the jobs, services and multiple improvements from the work achieved by the honorees and many of the past built revitalization projects.

Look at the rise in property values.
Look at the resources generated for the local school district.
Look at the jobs and housing created for millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers and seniors.
Look at the place-making results of having downtown projects, safe streets and local amenities serve as an alternative to past sprawl-induced planning.

We know most local mayors with downtown business districts and many towns are making good decisions and a financial success of these municipalities.

We know 61 of the last 71 public hearings in the last four years for Transit Oriented Development and downtown projects had more supporters than opponents.

We have asked regional interests before to stop calling local people things like NIMBYs, which is no more effective than calling voters deplorables. Thankfully people are now starting to become aware how counterproductive it is to call residents of a community names.

We have asked folks who have plans, ideas and opinions about municipal government to join civic groups or chambers and get involved locally. This is starting to happen.

We have asked larger governments to invest in infrastructure for local communities. The decision of New York State to fund the Village of Westbury with its downtown revitalization initiative is an example of trusting a community based revitalization effort. There are more that need this assistance.

As you can see today, the results are there and more of our collective work is well underway. Our ability to lower the volume of conflict, communicate with each other and bring resources to communities and effectively solve problems versus exacerbate them is critical.

We need to take it a step further and not simply talk about Long Island and treat it like the daily chaos, distrust and messaging running through our phones.  We start by developing and nurturing the key local relationships that are truly making changes across Long Island.

Let’s continue with the strategies that work and jettison the old approaches that have failed. The honorees proudly show these results – spread the word.

AARP Community Challenge Grant Due June 30th

AARP has announced great opportunities for Long Island communities to get funding from the AARP Foundation on Age Friendly and Sustainable Communities, with the AARP Community Challenge funding projects to help build momentum. If your idea is big, no project is too small. Projects can range from short-term activities costing a few hundred dollars to sizable efforts that might need thousands.

Projects need to deliver on one or all of the following drivers for change: Improving a community's built environment to benefit people of all ages and ability levels and connect to the social environment; expanding opportunities for all residents, such as through jobs, volunteerism, educational opportunities and training; driving community engagement and interaction across diverse community residents via, for instance, efforts in the domains of culture and art, local communications, public spaces and placemaking, sports, education, well-being, healthy living, etc.

Projects will be assessed on impact (60 points), invocation (10 points), and execution (30 points). Grantees will receive a Letter of Agreement, with the completion of the project due by November 1st.

The deadline to apply for the AARP Community Challenge grant is June 30th. For more details and to apply, click here

Funding Available for Bicycle Projects

The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program supports bicycle infrastructure projects and targeted advocacy initiatives that make it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to ride.

PeopleForBikes focuses most grant funds on bicycle infrastructure projects such as bike paths, lanes, trails, and bridges; mountain bike facilities; bike parks and pump tracks; BMX facilities; and end-of-trip facilities such as bike racks, bike parking, and bike repair stations/storage. Funded also are advocacy projects, such as programs that transform city streets, such as Ciclovías or Open Streets Days; and initiatives designed to increase ridership or the investment in bicycle infrastructure.

PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, and equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs. For advocacy projects, they will fund staffing that is directly related to accomplishing the goals of the initiative. PeopleForBikes accepts requests for funding of up to $10,000. They do not require a specific percentage match, but do look at leverage and funding partnerships very carefully, and will not consider grant requests in which funding would amount to 50% or more of the project budget.

The Fall 2017 grant cycle is now open, with an online letter of interest is due July 21st, and full applications due on October 13th.
To learn more about the grant opportunity, click here

Governor Cuomo Launches Seventh Round of Regional Economic Development Council Competition

We wanted to share the announcement from the Governor’s office regarding the seventh round of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs). Some important details to note:

The application process will start on Monday, May 1. As with prior REDC funding rounds, the application process is through the NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). Information related to the CFA can be found here. All 10 economic regionscan compete for designation as a “Top Performer,” there will be five winners that will receive awards of up to $20 million in grant funds, while the remaining five regions,identified as "Regional Awardees", will receive up to $10 million in grant funds.

The application deadline is Friday, July 28 at 4:00 p.m.This years priorities include:Identify projects for the State Life Sciences Cluster; Support Downtown revitalization plans; Identify workforce development strategies and shrink the skills gap; Implementing strategies through the project pipeline; andMeasuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.

The REDC 2017 Guide Book
2017 CFA Resource Manual
2017 Application Manual
2017 CFA Workshop Schedule (check this list often, as workshops are added frequently)

NYS Climate Smart Communities Grant Program Funding Available

Funding will be available for inventory, assessment, planning and implementation projects that advance the work of municipalities in addressing climate change. Priorities for the 2017 round include specific adaptation actions that reduce flood risk and increase preparedness for future extreme weather conditions, specific mitigation activities related to transportation and reduction of food waste, and specific Climate Smart Communities certification actions that advance municipal ability in the future to implement adaptation and mitigation projects in the identified implementation categories.

A municipal resolution from the lead applicant authorizing application submission and documenting the availability of local match in the event of grant award must be submitted at the time of application.

For general information and questions on the Climate Smart Communities Program, please contact the Office of Climate Change, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Climate Change, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, 518-402-8448,

Help Wanted

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.

Weekly Summer Street Fairs in Patchogue, Riverhead, and Bay Shore

The downtowns of Patchogue and Riverhead will once again host evening street fairs on Thursdays during the summer, alternating week that the events are hosted. Bay Shore will also be holding bi-weekly street fairs on Wednesdays.

Patchogue will host their 15th annual summer street fair, Alive After Five, which was a Smart Growth Award recipient. There will be  six stages of live music and entertainment, more than 90 craft & retail vendors, 11 food trucks, children's activities and amusements, a Chinese auction and much more! The events will be held on July 6th, July 20th, August 3rd, and August 17th, with a rain date of August 24th.

Riverhead’s Alive on 25, modeled after the success of Patchogue’s annual event, includes a classic car show by the Peconic River, local wine and craft beer, free music, kids activates, street vendors, local restaurants and food trucks, and more.  The events will be held on July 13th, July 27th, August 10th and August 24th, with a rain date of August 31st.

Bay Shore will be hosting Alive by the Bay is on Wednesday nights this summer on Main Street.  There will be live music, indoor & outdoor dining, local art, vendors, food trucks, beer, activities, fun for the kids and much more. The events will be held on Wednesday nights from 5:30PM-9PM on July 12th, July 26th, August 9th, and August 23rd.

You can learn more about the events and see some pictures and video from the past on Patchogue and Riverhead’s websites, and Alive by the Bay’s Facebook page. Riverhead's BID is also currently developing an app to help festival goers stay up to date, which you can read about here.

Smart Talk

Chris Kyle, Communications Director

Newsletter Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

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