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August 25th - 31st, 2018

Regional Updates

Ruskin Moscou Faltischek

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"Community leaders and residents have already proven how they can rally together to get a project done that will better their neighborhood. With the new resources being directed to the Central Islip, they will have partners in their elected officals to move their vision forward to a reality." - Vision Long Island Assistant Director Tawaun Weber

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Central Islip Holds Meeting to Discuss Future of DRI Funds

Vision Long Island recently spoke at a Central Islip community meeting focused on the recent $10 million grant awarded for the NYS Downtown Revitalization initiative.

The Coalition of Good Neighbors, the umbrella group for residents of the Central Islip area, hosted the meeting.  Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter spoke of her many years advocating for Central Islip through this grant process and the crowd was happy that their community was the first Suffolk County designee amid stiff competition. The Supervisor fielded a slew of questions about the DRI funding process, code violations, and park improvement issues.

Vision’s Director and Assistant Director Tawaun Weber spoke on the DRI process in Westbury and Hicksville and the importance of the local municipality remaining firmly in control of the plan for the grant award.

"Community leaders and residents have already proven how they can rally together to get a project done that will better their neighborhood," said Ms. Weber. "With the new resources being directed to the Central Islip, they will have partners in their elected officals to move their vision forward to a reality."

Congratulations to Coalition president Debbie Cavanaugh along with her board and supportive organizations like the Central Islip Civic Council for a collaborative and united effort around revitalization.

Central Islip residents, property and business owners should stay informed by attending upcoming meetings that will be focused on planning the use of the State’s funding investment.

Hicksville Committee Meets to Discuss Progress, Opposition to Sears Development

This week the Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Committee met to discuss the many projects currently underway in the Hicksville area. 

Discussion moved along a wide variety of subjects, including the status of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative awards that were announced last month and the rezoning process that the town is undergoing.  The zoning is being drafted and should be ready for review in a few months.  While the zoning is being developed, Nassau County's traffic and parking study will begin to study the current traffic situation downtown and how development under the proposed zoning will affect it.

Currently the old American Dental building, a four story office building constructed in the 1920s which has been vacant for a number of years, is being renovated into 18 luxury apartments with retail at ground level.  Other projects have also been proposed for downtown, but they are currently on hold as the zoning is developed.  The third track project, station renovations and the second track are also underway.

There was also talk of the recent Hicksville Street Fair and feedback received from the public about ongoing revitalization efforts.  There seemed to be confusion among many attendees between the revitalization of downtown and the Seritage proposal for the Sears property.  Once the confusion was cleared up, the majority were supportive of mixed use redevelopment in the downtown area near the train station, but opposed to the development further north on the Sears property.

This led into a group discussion on the proposed Seritage project, which seems to have been recently modified to reduce the number of units by 5% down to 566.  The environmental review process for this project is underway, however there is little if any community support for the project which is outside of the downtown area and designed to compete with rather than complement the existing shops and movie theater nearby.

The proposed project is part of a trend across the country where former Sears properties are being acquired and used for local development.  Seritage in particular has been highly visible as a company purchasing former properties in high-income areas and developing them for profit.  However, in Hicksville, the community has pushed back for concerns that such a project will detract from the revitalization efforts going on in the heart of the downtown.

“Seritage is trying to say, ‘Our development is the center of everything,’” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander. “But the community has not bought into that.”

You can read more on how former Sears sites are being developed here.

Lynbrook Store Owners Report Spike in Business after Theater Opening

The newly opened theater in downtown Lynbrook is drawing in new business according to owners in the surrounding area.

The Long Island Herald’s Lynbrook edition recently spoke with local merchants who reported a boost in sales and new faces from out of town ever since the opening in June.  The opening had been subject to delays as construction took longer than originally planned, but a majority of owners had been looking forward to an increase in foot traffic once everything was said and done.

Most owners who reported an increase in business noted certain times of day when they would get a light rush.  Sunday morning at the bagel shop are busy as are evenings at the toy shop when early movie patrons are killing time before their films.  Though not everyone has seen a significant boost, most do expect things to pick up even more once the theater becomes established in the area and the summer season ends.

The increase in foot traffic has also come with a limiting of parking in the local area, though most residents and owners are not reporting it as a serious concern.  However, Mayor Alan Beach and the board of trustees is working with try and come up with solutions to increase availability in the area.  This includes the possibility of a new parking garage that would go hand in hand with a proposed mixed-use development by Bartone & Terwilliger.  A hearing for that proposal has been set for October 1st.

Vision conducted a parking analysis for the Village in 2017, which looked at downtown movie theaters and their effect on parking.  The analysis found that even at peak times, theatergoers were able to find adequate parking in municipal lots around the downtown and increased traffic to downtown restaurants before or after the movie.  In Lynbrook, many of the municipal lots in the downtown are used by commuters, so there is additional capacity in the evening for those visiting the theater.

You can read more here.

New Elmont Civic Group forms in Opposition to Mall at Belmont Arena Site

The proposed Belmont Park site ran into more community headwinds this last week as a new group was formed in opposition to the proposed mall at the site.

Elmont Against the MegaMall, headed by local resident Tony Bhatti, is comprised of residents from both Elmont and Valley Stream who are concerned that there is already enough retail in the area.  The proposed site is already within 10 minutes of Green Acres Mall and 20 minutes of Roosevelt Field.  There is also concern with the fact that the increase in traffic won’t benefit the retail already in the area, essentially trapping customers on site once they’ve paid for parking.

Sterling Project Development Group, the lead developer on the project, pushed back against those concerns, noting that the improvements to Belmont’s LIRR station will draw in customers from the city and surrounding area, improving foot traffic in the area.  However, the MTA is still in the process of studying proposed improvements and does not currently have timetables or a budget for improvements at the station.

This is all in addition to the ongoing concerns about traffic once the arena is completed.  Local residents are concerned that an influx of patrons will swamp their neighborhood once the arena is built.  Elmont Against the MegaMall and the Belmont Park Community Coalition are working to raise awareness about the project in order to stop development and use the site for something else.

You can read more here.

LIRR Station Buildings in Brentwood to be Renovated, Upgraded

Both the current and former LIRR station buildings in Brentwood will be seeing renovations as the current building is upgraded and the former turned into a restaurant.

New bathrooms, flooring, free Wi-fi, and charging stations will be added among other enhancements for riders at the present station building.  New benches, shelter sheds, and railings will also be installed in efforts to make the station more accessible for handicapped and the elderly. Opened 31 years ago, the building will be gutted in the process.  The station has been closed since June while construction is taking place, and is expected to reopen by the end of the year.  Brentwood is one of eight stations being renovated as part of the Double Track Project.

Just down the block, the former station is slated for updates and renovations as well.  Built in 1905 and in use until 1987, the building was formerly used as a solar-powered café from 2006 to 2009.  Construction will begin on that building in October, pending an insurance review, and will overlap with the final phases of the station renovations.  A new tenant has been secured, according to the LIRR.

You can read more here.

Collaboration is Central for Nassau HUB’s Success

The following op-ed by Vision Long Island’s Director Eric Alexander original appeared in Long Island Business News here.

The deadline for the Nassau HUB’s “request for expressions of interest” (RFEI) passed and thankfully the county received over 15 serious proposals to help chart a new course in the development of the Coliseum’s 70 acres of asphalt.

We can get caught up in the history of well-intentioned failures from the privatization committee of the late 90s, the publicly supported but infrastructure-starved Lighthouse project, the wildly opposed casino and the public financing to keep the Islanders that was fought by competing developers among other special interests.

Recent delays that have taken years to sort out have pitted one development interest against the other and we still could see future lawsuits of that sort.

Either “build now”, “build the way I say it” or one interest demanding that they are “in charge” like in a banana republic, combined with senseless finger pointing has been a common theme in all of the shortcomings for this project.

Despite these setbacks, the progress that has been minimally reported over the last eight years includes: NYS economic development funding for structured parking; an upgrade to the Cedar Creek sewage treatment plant; enhanced bus service; the building of a Sloane Kettering medical facility and a remade Nassau Coliseum that again has high quality performances. These improvements were not even contemplated let alone applied for in prior years.

Kudos are due to County Executive Laura Curran for continuing to build on this progress and listening to a range of stakeholders – people seeking a HUB proposal that wasn’t simply a revised collection of retail and entertainment uses. Curran also put together a top-notch advisory committee to sort through what has worked and what hasn’t in the long history of the HUB so as not to repeat past mistakes.

While much attention has been made to the county’s action in recent months, the true opportunity resides in the Town of Hempstead. In 2011, a makeshift HUB zoning code was passed, heavily leaning on commercial development and plagued with fatal design flaws.

The Town of Hempstead should consider zoning amendments to allow development that fits the current market and allow for a modest amount of additional residential development, while lowering the amount of commercial building in the mix.

A number of design issues concerning inappropriate front, rear and side yard setbacks need to be reconfigured to create a true sense of place and not an extension of the auto oriented racetrack that elements of the area currently contain. To create a walkable mixed-use place where people can live, work and play, elements need to be close together and connected by a network of interconnected streets built at a human scale.

It needs to be designed for someone walking at 3 or 4 mph, not someone driving by at 35 mph. None of these changes would increase the density, traffic, parking or other infrastructure needs of the area.

In the coming months there will be government, private sector and stakeholder interests that will make pronouncements and demand that it is their way or the highway. It is precisely that attitude that has littered the floor with past HUB proposals.

Patterned after the successful formula of downtown developments across Long Island, collaboration is the key ingredient. The executive, the legislature, a chosen master developer, surrounding universities, community groups and property owners along with the full Hempstead Town Board have a true opportunity to work together.

We are hopeful that folks have learned from past mistakes and the Nassau HUB redevelopment can finally see the much-needed investment it deserves.

Save the Date for AARP Long Island's Racial and Ethnic Disparities Forum on September 6th

Please join AARP Long Island in an important forum about the significant racial and ethnic disparities that currently exist among New York's 50+ multicultural communities. The event will take place on Thursday, September 6th, from 8 to 11 am, at the Hofstra University Club.

You can RSVP for this event here or call 1-877-926-8300.

Car Free Day Long Island is Friday, September 21st

Beat the Rush Hour!

Join us for the 6th Annual Car Free Day Long Island and leave your car home or drive it less on Friday, September 21, 2018.

Join in this worldwide movement to celebrate sustainable transportation on Car Free Day.  In 2017, 6,808 Long Islanders pledged to be car free or car-lite, resulting in the avoidance of 134,000 miles of driving and 67 tons of CO2 emissions!

To participate in this event, all you have to do is pledge to be car free or car-light on September 21, 2018 by filling out the pledge form on  Those who take the pledge will automatically be entered for a chance to win great prizes.

You can download a free online tool kit here.

Suffolk County Purchasing Office Posts New Procurement Opportunity

The Suffolk County Purchasing Division, on behalf of the Department of Economic Development and Planning, is Seeking Contractor Services to Provide a Public Private Partnership (P3) Viability Analysis Based on a Specific Case Study.

To obtain a copy of the document, please log on to the Suffolk County website here and select from the Menu Bar Offerings/Search.  Locate Document #18026 and click View Detail.

You must be registered to search for offerings on the County’s website.  Instructions on how to register are located at the above link to view the County’s website.

Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that $275 million in grant funding is available to municipalities with infrastructure projects that protect or improve water quality and/or public health. This funding, available through the the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program, is part of the Governor's $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017. Grant applications and additional information are available on the Environmental Facilities Corporation website.

Applications are due on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 5 p.m.

NYS DEC Environmental Restoration Grants Now Available

These grants reimburse municipalities and community-based organizations for design and construction costs associated with the cleanup and remediation of designated brownfield sites. Sites must be identified by the New York State Environmental Restoration Program and have a DECissued Record of Decision (ROD) for the site.

Eligibility: Applicants must be a municipality or municipality acting in partnership with a community-based organization involved in cleaning and rebuilding a designated brownfield site. 
Funding: $10 million.
Deadline: September 7, 2018.
Contact: ERP Program Manager  - Phone: 518-402-9764; Email:;  Website: IntelliGrants_NYSGG/module/nysgg/ goportal.aspx?NavItem1=3

Happy Labor Day

As you enjoy your long weekend, take time to remember all the men and women who sacrificed their time and comfort so that future generations could have it a little easier. We are all touched in one way or another by those who have worked hard and contiunue to do so to get us to where we are today.

If you have a moment, take some time to read NYS AFL-CIO's statement celebrating labor here.

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director

Christopher Kyle, Communications 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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