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August 5th - 11th, 2017

Regional Updates

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“It is time for the untapped potential of Belmont Park to be realized and for ESD to review proposals that will enhance the existing horse racing industry while bringing new jobs and opportunities to Long Island.” - NYS Senator Elaine Phillips


“Belmont community looks forward to reviewing exciting and innovative proposals, and expects to have their voices heard as this process moves forward.” - NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky


“We should not limit ideas to stadiums or arenas but rather [encourage] as many creative proposals as possible.” - Tammie Williams of the Elmont Parkhurst Civic Association speaking on Belmont Park's recent RFP

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Empire State Development Puts Out RFP for Long-Term Lease of Property at Belmont Park

This past week Empire State Development released a Request for Proposal to developers wishing to lease two parcels of land at Belmont Park in Elmont, which is located within the Town of Hempstead.

The proposal seeks companies that will promote the location as a premier destination for entertainment, sports, recreation, retail and hospitality on Long Island and includes two sites which total approximately 36 acres.  The first site, or Site A, is located near the Belmont Park clubhouse and contains around 8 acres of property.  The second site, Site B, is the larger of the two at 28 acres and is surrounded by local residences and retail.  The RFP requires developers to include a plan for both sites and sets a due date for the plans as September 28th, 2017.

Proposals for the site should aim to meet the following objectives:

  1. Enhance Belmont Park to become one of Long Island’s premier destinations for entertainment, sports, hospitality and retail, with uses that are complementary to the existing Belmont Park racetrack
  2. Maximize economic benefit to the State while minimizing the State’s economic and environmental risk;
  3. Provide a source of quality jobs for area and New York State residents;
  4. Benefit the neighborhoods and communities adjacent to and surrounding Belmont Park;
  5. Maximize incorporation of green building and sustainable design practices; and
  6. Feature meaningful participation of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses.

This is the second RFP issued for the area after the initial one had to be scrapped in December of 2016.  The first one had included plans by the NY Cosmos to build a modern, professional soccer stadium on the property.  The NY Islanders are currently looking at the possibility of locating a new arena on the property.  There is also interest among previous respondents, including Blumenfeld Development Group and a team of Engel Burman and Basser-Kaufman, who are currently working on revamped proposals for the site.

Tammie Williams, a trustee for Elmont Public Library and a member of the Elmont Parkhurst Civic Association, has said that developers looking to develop should engage with the community as they work on proposals.  “We should not limit ideas to stadiums or arenas,” Ms. Williams stated, “but rather [encourage] as many creative proposals as possible.”

There is general agreement among elected officials as well that the proposals should work within the community in order to bring about a positive change for those who will have to live with the results.  NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) noted that the “Belmont community looks forward to reviewing exciting and innovative proposals, and expects to have their voices heard as this process moves forward.”

State Senator Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) also weighed in, stating “It is time for the untapped potential of Belmont Park to be realized and for ESD to review proposals that will enhance the existing horse racing industry while bringing new jobs and opportunities to Long Island.”

You can read the full RFP as well as details on where and how to submit here. You can also view articles on the RFP here and here.

Downtown Riverhead Apartment Proposal met with Mixed Reviews

Plans for a five-story, 116-unit apartment building in downtown Riverhead known as the Riverview Lofts, was met with a variety of responses at a recent town meeting discussing the plan.

The proposal, called Riverhead Lofts, was created by Georgica Green Ventures, which is looking to build on the former McCabes store site on East Main Street.  The building will also include 1,429 square feet of commercial/retail development and two restaurants on the ground floor as well as 31 studio apartments, 57 one-bedroom, and 28 two-bedroom units.  The public hearing itself dealt with the site plan for the project and whether to approve an increase of parking from 35 to 55 spaces.

The plan was met with different responses as some talked about the height and blocking the view of the Peconic River as well as the need to bring more people into the downtown.  Some expressed concern for the impact on the local school district and how flooding could affect the projects while others expressed a need for workforce housing in the downtown.  One resident called for a parking study as well.

Georgica Green also presented letters in support of the project including one from Peconic Bay Medical Center, which has been calling for additional housing for its employees for years.  The project has also received approval from the architectural review board, the landmarks preservation commission, the Suffolk County Planning Commission, and Riverhead’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which had granted a variance on the size of parking spaces.

Vision Long Island supports the application as another key ingredient to the revitalization of Main Street.

You can read more on this story here.

New Hyde Park Seeks Funding for LIRR-Adjacent Retail District

New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said this past week that the village has begun working towards securing $5 million in state funds to implement a small retail district.

While the plan is in the early stages, Mayor Montreuil stated that plan is to secure the money in next year’s budget and to locate the district near the village’s LIRR station.  The money is not guaranteed at this point, but details are being planned out.

“We would have to do some rezoning and speak to developers, but it would be a brand-new project,” Montreuil said. “We know the location; we just have to build out the concept.”

The plan is being coordinated in conjunction with NYS Senator Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill), and is an extension from talks with the Governor’s office concerning the local expansion of the LIRR track.  An additional $800,000 is also coming to the village in order to help with road improvements.

You can read more on this here.

Civic Tech Conference Addresses Government Innovation; Improved Communication

Vision Board, staff, and community partners were out to speak at and support Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory’s Civic Tech Suffolk Conference at Suffolk County Community College’s Selden campus, part of the Charting the Course initiative that the Presiding Officer put forth last year.  Experts from government, business and tech discussed the emerging influence of technology in the business and government sectors, and how it can be used to solve municipal and social challenges.
“The civic tech industry could have the answers to so many challenges we face here in Suffolk, from government efficiency to social issues like homelessness and drug abuse,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, the conference’s host. “Bringing together under one roof leaders in government and business – this time the tech sector in particular – is how we start the conversation about resolving these challenges together,” he added.

The day began with opening remarks and introductions by Deputy Presiding Officer Rob Calarco, who hosted a localized Charting the Course event at the Patchogue Theater in June in order to foster local relationships, encouraging conversation and public-private partnerships. Suffolk Community College’s President Dr. Shaun McKay also thanked the crowd for attending, saying that SCCC is one of the top colleges in the State of New York and in the nation, and has programs and methodologies that are being looked at to be models for other schools. Government technology expert Sid Burgess from Granicus was the keynote speaker, who passionately spoke to the crowd regarding the need to put the community that is being targeted first and last- keeping them in mind throughout the process. He spoke of the importance of “mapping the citizen journey” after knowing their story and wants, while focusing on their needs and outcomes beforehand for success.

A panel of experts assembled to discuss technology in the private and public sectors. The panel, moderated by News 12 Long Island’s Andrew Ehinger, included: Dr. Fara Afshar, Associate Academic Dean of STEM, SCCC; Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island; Andrea Bonilla, Community Liaison, Source the Station/Next Generation Advisory Council; Peter Goldsmith, President, LISTnet; Neal Lewis, Executive Director, The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College and Vision Long Island Board member; Jamie Moore, President, MCLI; Phil Rugile, Director, Launchpad – Huntington; Mike Voltz, Director of Energy Efficiency & Renewables, PSEG-LI; Philip Berdolt, Commissioner, Suffolk County Parks, Recreation & Conservation; Matthew Cereola, Investigator, Suffolk County Dept. of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs; Scott Mastellon, Commissioner, Suffolk County Department of Information Technology; John O’Neill, Commissioner, Suffolk County Department of Social Services;  Peter Schlussler, IT Director, Suffolk County Clerk’s Office; and Timothy Sini, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department.

The robust conversation discussed ways that businesses and public entities are utilizing technology be better the customer/constituent needs, such as Smart Metering being offered by PSEG, usage of existing data by the Suffolk County Police and Sheriff’s Department, preparing students with cyber-centric courses by SCCC, and how technology helps gain efficiency  in the Suffolk County Clerk’s office. There seemed to be a consensus that there is a wealth of data available as technology continues to evolve, however methods and practice for analyzing and utilizing such data is still developing and being implemented. Efforts such as text-to-911 is slated to roll out in the county next year, and ways to better monitor electric usage in real-time is underway. It was cautioned that while technology is useful in creating relationships, that personal connections still need to be forged and maintained, and that every customer/constituent needs to be connected with on a level that suits them in order to make that connection.

After the panel discussions there were four break-out sessions with the following topics: Predictive Analytics, Cybersecurity, Tech Smart Growth & Next Generation Residents, and Business Development and Procurement. The Tech Smart Growth & Next Generation breakout session included: Steve Chassman, LICADD; Neal Lewis; Marc Perez, Senior Programmer Analyst, Suffolk County Department of Information Technology; Phil Rugile; Dr. Nathalia Rogers, Founder/Co-Chair, Long Island Youth Summit and Vision Long Island Board member; Raj Tawney, Director of Publicity, Cinema Arts Centre/ Next Generation Advisory Council; and Eric Alexander, who also moderated the panel.  The panelists discussed how technology aides Smart Growth Development, and needs to be utilized to further transcend boundaries such as age, disability, drug addiction, and socio-economic status. The phenomenon of messaging and how messaging gets pushed out with technology was discussed, as well as how we use existing data to better society, which borders privacy concerns at times. Usage of data to assist people was touched on, with technologies such as TeleHealth, bikesharing and ridesharing coming to the forefront with real-time access, as well as all of the “communities within communities”- sub groups of people that find comrade over similar interests and situations.

The message of the need for more meaningful conversation and interaction between people was emphasized in order to use technology to its potential, but also reach the entity’s audience in the way that best fits.

Department of Transportation to Receive Funding Boost

A U.S. Senate panel has approved boosting funding for the Department of Transportation this past week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously voted to approve legislation that would add almost $19.5 billion in funding to the DOT in 2018’s fiscal year.  The bill will also provide $550 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.  The proposed funding would also lift a federal cap on the fee that airports can charge passengers for infrastructure projects from $4.50 to $8.50.  It is theorized that this move will allow airports to more easily modernize and improve their facilities.

The legislation will also allow for $45 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-Ai Highways Program, produce $1.1 billion for the Federal-Aid Highways Program, and provide $2.1 billion for the Capital Investment Grant transit program.

While this is a good sign for transportation in our country, there is some doubt concerning this boost in funding.  A similar spending panel in the House of Representatives recently approved a bill that would decrease funding to the Department by 3.3%.  President Trump has also targeted the DoT as an area to reduce funding.

Vision Long Island has long fought for increased focus and funding for transportation priorities across the country and supports the Senate panel’s legislation aimed at doing just that.

You can read more on this story here.

Experts Predict Private Gas-Powered Car Ownership Will Decline and Eventually Fade

A growing number of experts, analyzing a number of factors including cost and basic economics, are of the opinion that 95% of passenger miles would be electric and autonomous by 2030. 

As technology progresses electric cars are becoming increasingly cheaper to drive and maintain, though cost to purchase is still a factor.  Autonomous vehicles are also beginning to appear with more frequency on the roads, which would be a boon to commercial transportation companies looking to cut costs.  These factors and reduction in price of technology could eventually lead to it being much more cost efficient to simply use transportation services instead of actually owning a car.

Another factor is governments putting pressure on car companies to produce less polluting, more efficient vehicles.  China is implementing a plan that would require manufacturers to produce at least 8% of their cars as electric in order to sell in the company.  This could help to spur innovation and have a global effect as those cars find their ways out of the Chinese markets.

Car companies have actually begun to shift their business models in order to deliver more miles traveled to customers at a cheaper rate as opposed to simply delivering units for purchase.  This is causing the spending of money for companies to figure out autonomous travel services for those who wish to travel that way instead of constantly purchasing gas or hiring individual drivers, which may be more expensive.

You can read more on this here.

Affordabl Housing Supported Before U.S. Senate Finance Committee

On August 1st, NYU Furman Center Faculty Director Katherine O’Regan testified on Affordable Housing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.

The hearing, focused on the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, was held in order to inform members of the committee on the state of affordable housing in America.  The proposed bill would greatly expand the low-income housing tax credit and provide for a more robust funding source for private production and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing.  Dr. O’Regan outlined current practices and the effect of escalating costs for housing, households in general and local markets as well as future changes.

“Reforms to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit should increase its flexibility and feasibility in a broader set of market conditions, to streamline, and to more effectively meet key policy goals,” said Dr. O’Regan.

During the course of her testimony, Dr. O’Regan noted that the U.S. rental market is currently booming, with rental housing trending upward in the 11 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.  The renter population has grown at a rate much greater than available housing units, which makes affordability an issue in those areas.  The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), however, helps to offset those costs.  The LIHTC was established in 1986 and is the nation’s largest subsidy for the construction of affordable housing for low-income households.

Since its inception, the LIHTC has financed the development and preservation of more than 2.1 million units of housing for low-income individuals and families.  However, the growing call for tax reform in Washington has thrown the future of these subsidies into question.  Vision Long Island supports the continuation and strengthening of these credits in order to provide affordable housing.

You can see an interactive map of active LIHTC properties in New York City here.

Historic Vote for Heartland Town Square

The following op-ed was written by Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander and appears in Long Island Business News, which you can read here.

In a vote that took little over 15 minutes yet backed by 15 years of substantive planning, the Town of Islip approved Phase 1 of the Heartland Town Square project in Brentwood recently.

This action included 113 acres of development containing 626,000 square feet of office, 560,000 retail, 3,500 apartments and 215,000 square feet in public space. The developer pays $9 million for infrastructure and $3 million to the town for processing and services. Ten percent of the units will be affordable under Islip’s standard. The second phase of the project will not be considered before Phase 1 is complete.

The Phase 1 approval contains roughly 25 percent of the proposed commercial, 35 percent of the proposed residential and a cut to the height of the buildings. The compromise allows the most economically viable elements of a new town center to emerge while monitoring and regulating the impacts of the project.

This was one of the most thoroughly planned, reviewed and analyzed project in recent history. The Town of Islip should be praised for this compromise plan including Supervisor Angie Carpenter, members of the board along with current and past planning staff, Planning Board and many others for their multi-year commitment to reviewing the project.

It was heartening to see support from the Brentwood community at the many public hearings through the years. While this proposal was under review, 40 downtowns have approved projects to redevelop Main streets across LI.  We have heard consistently that Brentwood residents want the same opportunities as those other neighborhoods. The prospect for construction and permanent jobs along with the positive multiplier effect on the local economy were an often heard public benefit.

During the last 15 years of planning, the project has seen large support from Brentwood but received opposition from some folks outside of the community. Much of the regional opposition has ranged from school district overcrowding, infrastructure impacts and concerns that the jobs generated will not go to the local labor force at fair wages.

Economic studies and local case examples show this project to be largely tax positive to the community. There will be a minimal school district impact as smaller projects across LI have on average 3 school kids per 100 units. Using the standard of built mixed use projects there would be well under 500 students generated – not the 6,000 that some speculated.

The approval of Phase 1 allows for the opportunity to pull in state and federal dollars to advance transportation infrastructure like widening the Sagtikos Parkway. Due to the radical scaling back of the project traffic impacts will be substantially reduced.

The one remaining issue involves apprenticeship programs and securing local jobs on the project. There is hope this can be addressed at the Town of Islip IDA level if it can’t before the Town Board as part of the land use process.

There has been some commentary that the Suffolk County Planning Commission will seek to reverse this compromise decision.  That would be a mistake.  After 15 years of substantive planning no one wants to see a sideshow that has the potential to overturn a local municipality’s decision. Land use control by the Town of Islip and any municipality on LI needs to stay intact as very few people want to see regional zoning control.

Large scale projects are the hardest to plan and approve but the Town of Islip got this one right. Kudos to the town, the developer and the Brentwood community for coming out to support the project over many years. Let’s see a long awaited town center emerge from the grounds of a former psychiatric facility.

Sign the Petition for an Additional LIRR Crossing for Mastic/Shirley

The Mastic Beach, Mastic, and Shirley area, known by many as the Tri-Hamlet community, has only 3 LIRR grade crossings for the peninsula with over 45,000 residents. The area also has over 350,000 visitors to Smith Park County Park between Memorial and Labor Day alone, along with a year-round campground. A recent road closure for railroad grade improvements led to traffic being backed up for 2 hours, along with much longer than usual response and return time for EMS services.

A railroad crossing at Hawthorne Street/Titmus Avenue in Mastic is needed for the area, and is long overdue. There has been pushback from the MTA in the past for this important crossing for the community. We need federal officials to help fund the project through the Federal Railroad Administration, and New York State elected officials and the MTA to move ahead with the plan. 

You can learn more and help for this important issue to the area’s economic development and resilience by signing the online petition for a grade crossing here. There will also be a public meeting held on Wednesday August 23rd at 6PM at the William Floyd High School Auditorium in Mastic Beach where comments will be solicited regarding the need.

Weekly Summer Street Fairs in Downtowns Across Long Island

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.

ALIVE AFTER FIVE - Patchogue will host their 16th annual summer street fair, 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 event will be held on August 17th, with a rain date of August 24th.

ALIVE ON 25 - Riverhead’s festival, 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 event will be held on August 24th, with a rain date of August 31st.

ALIVE BY THE BAY - Bay Shore will be hosting this event 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 from 5:30PM-9PM on August 23rd. Facebook page.

SOUTHAMPTON ANTIQUES FAIR - Rogers Mansion, 17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton, 631-283-2494, Antiques, furniture, jewelry, vintage clothing, glass, ceramics, artwork and collectibles. Mansion tours from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. ($4). Fee Free. Dates 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 19th.

EISENHOWER PARK FAMILY FESTIVAL - Field 2, Eisenhower Park, East Meadow,, 516-455-3179. International foods, rides, games. Fee Free. Dates 6-11 p.m. Aug. 11, 1-11 p.m. Aug. 12, 1-9 p.m. Aug. 13.

PATCHOGUE FAMILY FUN NIGHT - East Main Street between Ocean and Maple avenues, Patchogue, 631-207-1000, An evening of family activities, face painting, train rides, balloons, music and vendors. Fee Free. Date 5-9 p.m. Aug. 11; rain date: Aug. 25.

FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION - St. Brigid/Our Lady of Hope Regional School, 101 Maple Ave., Westbury,, 516-521-7342. Italian food and entertainment, rides, games, vendors, fireworks. Fee Free. Dates 6 p.m. Aug. 11-15.

LONG ISLAND RETRO GAMING EXPO NYCB - Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City, 516-572-4lll, Local vendors who are passionate about retro games from the 1970s-90s and today; features tournaments, free play, table-top gaming and more. Fee $20, $10 children (in advance); $25, $15 children (at the door); $30 weekend pass, $15 children weekend pass. Dates Aug. 12-13.

HOLY FAMILY CHURCH PARISH FESTIVAL - Holy Family Church, 17 Fordham Ave., Hicksville, 516-938-3846, Rides, games, food, casino. Fee Free, pay for food and rides. Dates 6-10 p.m. Aug. 16-17, 6-11 p.m. Aug. 18-19.

LONG ISLAND BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL - Tanner Park, Kerrigan Road off Montauk Highway, Copiague, 631-587-3696, Traditional bluegrass and Americana music (acoustic), children's activities, workshops, vendors and food; (rain or shine; bring chair; no alcohol; no pets). Fee $20, $12 ages 8-12 and seniors, free younger than 8. Date Noon-7 p.m. Aug. 19.

TOMATO TASTE-OFF FESTIVAL - Garden of Eve, 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-722-8777, Taste 20 varieties of heirloom and traditional tomatoes, learn how to make salsa, enjoy tomato cuisine, U-pick tomatoes, hayrides and more. Fee Free, fee for hayrides. Dates 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 19-20.

POLISH TOWN STREET FAIR AND POLKA FESTIVAL - Polonaise Park, Lincoln and Osborn avenues, Riverhead, Polish food, arts and crafts. Polka Festival takes place 5-11 p.m. Aug. 19, includes bands, dance
groups and dancing. Fee Free for street fair; dance festival $13, $8 ages 12 and younger, free 5 and younger. Dates 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 19-20.

LONG ISLAND SOUND AND ART FESTIVAL - Northport Village Park, Main Street, Northport, 631-261-2941, Drum circle, live painting/exhibiting by multiple artists, children activities and more. Fee Free. Date Noon- 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20.

Long Island Coalition for the Homeless to Host Supply Our Students and Back Pack Pirates Festival on August 19th

The Supply Our Students Drive is hosted by the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH). Each year, they pack thousands of back packs with the school supplies collected through this drive. The back packs are distributed through a network of homeless shelters in late August.

In collaboration with Holiday Magic, LICH also hosts “Back Pack Pirates Summer Festival”,  a one-day summer camp experience for up to 450 children from homeless shelters.  In addition to an incredible camp experience and brand new back packs, they provide the children with new school clothing and shoes. They also collect bathing suits and towels so the kids attending the event can participate in water activities.

Every child deserves to start their school year with the tools they need to succeed. Please help LICH collect NEW school supplies to fill backpacks for children in need, or host a drive in your community, business, school, or office!  They provide you with collection boxes, informational flyers about the event, and will pick up the boxes. Drives are being conducted now through the week of August 1st.  Please let them know if you’re interested in conducting a drive!  

Host sites are listed on their website! or you can visit any of the TFCU Branches to make a donation!

You can also conduct a DRIVE for new (or very gently used) clothing and shoes/sneakers for school-aged children, bathing suits and towels – or gift cards to help them purchase those items. Donate online:

The Back Pack Pirates Festival is 100% to the families of the children who attend but it costs approximately $100 per child!  They cannot provide this once in a lifetime experience to the children without your help!

 You can make a donation online!

About LICH: The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Amityville, NY. Our mission is to eliminate homelessness on Long Island and improve the lives of Long Islanders who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  
Please direct all questions to Ksusha Cascio at (631) 464-4314 x 123 or

Long Island Business Council to Hold Candidates Forum on September 19th

The Long Island Business Council will be holding a Nassau County Candidates Forum on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 at the East Farmingdale Fire Department, located at 930 Conklin Street in Farmingdale from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM.  The forum will feature Republican Candidate Jack Martins and the winner of the Democratic primary.

You can RSVP for the event by calling 877-811-7471 or emailing  Attendance is free for LIBC members and $45 for non-members.

You can view the flyer for this event here and register online here.

National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant, due September 11th

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with arts at their core. This funding supports local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for existing residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place. Applications due September 11. To find out more, click here

Suffolk County to Provide Septic Improvement Grants

Starting July 1st, you may begin the process and submit your application for the Septic Improvement Program.

The Septic Improvement Program is available to qualified owners of residential property located within Suffolk County.

Grant funding, of up to $10,000, will be provided toward the purchase and installation of Suffolk County Department of Health Services approved Innovative and Alternative nitrogen removal onsite wastewater treatment system (I/A OWTS) and leaching structure, as well as toward attendant engineering and design services. An additional $1,000 may be available toward installation of Pressurized Shallow Drainfields for a maximum grant of up to $11,000. All other costs, including, but not limited to, costs above the authorized grant amount, irrigation repairs, electrical improvements unrelated to system installation or other improvements necessary for the installation are the responsibility of the property owner/applicant. Post-installation landscaping restoration is also the responsibility of the property owner/applicant.

Preferential consideration will be given to properties in environmentally sensitive areas.

Please note:

Submission of an application does not guarantee an award of a grant. The County reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the Septic Improvement Program at any time. This program is highly competitive and applications will be prioritized by area and other eligibility requirements and will also be based upon the availability of funding.

In addition:

  1. Grant Awardees will be required to execute a grant agreement with the County of Suffolk.
  2. Grant Awardees must permit Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program representatives the right to enter onto the property to perform any site assessments related to the processing of applications.
  3. Information and documentation that is submitted with the application may be subject to independent verification by the County.

If you would like to speak to someone directly about the program and/or Grant Application, please call the Department of Health Services at 631-852-5811. Staff will be available to answer your questions Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. You can also send an email to

Social Justice Grant: Pop Culture Collaborative

The Pop Culture Collaborative is now accepting applications for their 'Pop-Up' grants program. These rapid response grants are available on a rolling basis throughout the year for any individual, organization or company working to harness the power of pop culture to create just, authentic narratives of people of color, Muslims, immigrants and refugees through TV, movies, sports, music and all forms of entertainment and mass media.

The Collaborative is a new, multi-million dollar philanthropic resource created by Unbound Philanthropy, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and General Service Foundation—all organizations committed to growing and experimenting with pop culture narrative strategies as powerful tools for change in the real world.

They have designed these grants to help leaders in justice movements, the arts, entertainment, advertising, academia, and technology respond nimbly to increasingly common assaults on pluralism and inclusion in our society. 

Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000, and projects must have an imminent time-hook or a project timeline that can be completed within a four-month time frame. Individuals with fiscal sponsorship, non-profit and for-profits are all eligible to apply. Projects should aim to advance social change and authentic narratives in popular culture for people of color, immigrants, refugees and Muslims.

You can find full 'Pop Up' Grant Guidelines and Application Information here, and can submit your idea here. Every idea will be considered, and applicants will be notified if the program wishes receive a formal proposal.

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,

NYS DEC Technical Assistance Grants Available

The New York State DEC continuously accepts applications for Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs). TAGs are a citizen participation tool available to eligible community groups to increase public awareness and understanding of remedial activities taking place in their community. TAGs are available to eligible community groups for the purpose of obtaining independent technical assistance in interpreting existing environmental information about an eligible “significant threat” site being remediated in the State Superfund Program or Brownfield Cleanup Program. Technical assistance is intended to help the grant recipient and the community it represents to understand existing environmental data developed about the site, comment on site remedial activities and proposals and share this information with the public.

Funding is limited to $50,000 per site, with no matching requirement. A community group must be a nonresponsible party community group or one that is in partnership with another nonresponsible party community group. The group must be a 501(c)(3), and a group whose members’ health, economic well-being or enjoyment of the environment may be affected by a release or threatened release of contamination at the eligible site. The group must be one whose membership represents the interest of the community affected by the eligible site. Eligible sites must be Class 2 sites on the New York State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites or sites being remediated under the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program that the DEC has determined pose a significant threat to public health and/or the environment.

For more information, you can visit the DEC’s site here.

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.

New Type of Asphalt Developed Using Cigarette Butts

In a move that some engineers are claiming will remove tons of toxic chemical from the environment, engineers in Australia are calling on governments to use a new type of asphalt that would incorporate used cigarette butts.

The goal of the product is to prevent used butts from finding their way into the environment and leaching toxic chemicals.  The newly developed roadway would instead lock those chemicals in and essentially trap them in the asphalt.  It has also been shown that the road would absorb less heat and could potentially reduce the “heat island” effect that occurs in most modern cities with a system of paved roads.  The new material would not be able to handle heavy traffic, however, but would do well on less travelled roads.

It is estimated that 1.2 million tons of cigarette butt waste is created each year and is expected to increase by 50% by 2025.  This method, along with other solutions that have been developed, is hoping to deal with that issue in at least some way.

You can read more on this here.

Smart Talk

Chris Kyle, Communications Director

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

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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