September 2 - September 6, 2013
Long Island Community Foundation
The Long Island Community Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization that connects donors with the full spectrum of charitable organizations within our community. In 1978, The New York Community Trust, one of the nation's oldest and largest community foundations, established a Long Island division to provide Nassau and Suffolk County residents with an economical alternative to a private foundation or a commercial gift fund. Since then, they have granted more than $130 million to nonprofit organizations across the country from hundreds of funds established by individuals, families, and businesses. They identify current and future community needs, strengthen the Island’s nonprofit sector, encourage philanthropy, and build a permanent endowment to address these needs.
“We paid our policies for years. We paid thousands of dollars, and we all know our houses were filled with floodwater. Who are they kidding?” - Michele Mittleman, Freeport resident
Welcome To The Midtown Walmart?
Walmart. The name alone of the very successful and controversial discount retail chain can elicit strong reactions.
LIRR, Road Work, Vanpools For LI In $700 Billion Plan
The region's transportation planning organization believes Long Island’s population will grow by more than a million people and drivers will log 10 percent more miles in 2040.
Long Island leaders joined other representatives from regional municipalities and agencies on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) to adopt a long-range $700-billion transportation plan.
The council unanimously accepted their 2014-2040 Regional Transportation Plan and 2014-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) on Wednesday afternoon.
Plan 2040 provides an overview of NYMTC’s long-term plans for Long Island, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. With more than 200 million miles driven daily on the region’s roads and an increase expected, the plan examines NYMTC’s plans to sustain and encourage economic growth. That, NYMTC Executive Director Joel Ettinger said, happens preservation and expansion of the transportation network.
“System enhancement programs are critical to the economic vitality of this area,” Ettinger said.
Of Plan 2040’s 93 total projects, 11 are on Long Island and in various stages of action. The LIRR’s Double Track project, the Sagtikos Parkway truck bypass and traffic improvements near the Nassau Hub are expected to occur in the 2014-2018 window. A feasibility study for Suffolk County Supervisor Steve Bellone’s Connect LI project is also on the list for the same timeframe.
Maintaining current traffic systems throughout the region alone will cost $395 billion, or $14.7 billion annually. The revenue side is expected to completely balance those costs out. However, the expansions in Plan 2040 call for an additional $292 billion, or $10.8 billion, in spending. The plan, however, only identifies up to $265 billion in additional revenue, citing the balance will come “from potential additional regional sources.”
“We need more money,” Ettinger said. “NYMTC cannot lobby. You members are not encumbered these restrictions.”
Bellone said the council needs to find creative ways to make the proposed enhancements a reality.
Some of that occurs within the TIP. While the regional transportation plan examines 20 years and is updated every four years, transportation improvement program only focuses on the next five years and is updated every two years.
The 2014-2018 TIP includes $31.7 billion for 1,338 projects, including 430 projects on Long Island requiring $5.5 billion. Of the $31.7 billion, 63 percent is slated for transit and just 37 percent is going towards highway projects.
More than 220 projects have been slated for Long Island, including numerous road renovations, countless eco-friendly vehicle purchases and a multitude of drainage-improving jobs. The list also includes Intermodal construction at Pilgrim State Hospital in 2017, major bridge replacement of Route 110 over Sunrise Highway and efforts to reduce vehicular travel through vanpools and a bicycle-leasing program at LIRR stations.
Bellone said both plans will help Suffolk County develop sustainable economic growth through more public transportation, although even more mass transit is needed.
For more information and copies of the actual documents, visit NYMTC’s website.
Election Emphasizes Smart Growth In Smithtown
A practice already proven in several Long Island communities, Smart Growth is now a major platform in politics across the island.
Crowds Passionately Demand Sandy Aid
Ten miles north of the plant, another rally formed outside the Nassau County Legislator on Thursday, Aug. 29. Ford, Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), Long Beach City councilmembers and more than 100 people joined Freeport resident Michele Mittleman in calling on FEMA to close a loophole denying many flood insurance funds. Property damage determined to be caused by earth movement is not covered by flood insurance.
LIRR Receives Laggy Awards For Costly Late Trains
LIRR delays cost Long Island residents more than three of the island’s largest companies’ combined profits last year.
Israel: Save Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits
Representative Steve Israel has called for urgent action to extend pre-tax commuter benefits before they expire at the end of the year. Rep. Israel (D-Huntington) was joined by members of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter's Council at the Hicksville LIRR train station Wednesday morning.
"New York commuters have endured enough already this year between delayed trains due to Hurricane Sandy and infrastructure issues on top of already long rides to work. Now some in Congress are going to ask them to possibly pay $500 a year more to commute," Israel said.
"On behalf of LIRR commuters, the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council would like to thank Congressman Israel for sponsoring this extremely important legislation. The mass transit pre-tax benefit, which is set to expire, is an important lifeline which helps hard working commuters make ends meet. It needs to not just be extended but also made permanent," said Commuter Council Chairman Mark Epstein.
The pre-tax commuter benefit applies to bus and train riders and van poolers. Currently, the benefits are set up to $245 per month which, by Dec. 31, will drop by almost half, roughly $125. Employees may opt-in to the program and determine their level of participation. For payroll tax purposes, this benefit is excluded from an employer's gross income and wages. If the pre-tax commuter benefit is not extended, Israel said, it would also increase the tax liability for employers, making it harder for them to hire new workers and commuters could be looking at $1,140 a year onto their taxes.
"In fact, in 2010, employers saved over $300 million by offering the transit benefit. So if we don't act, employers will see a tax hike too, limiting their ability to grow," Israel said. "The pre-tax commuter benefit is critically important for middle-class families in New York. Congress has stalled long enough; it's time to get the trains moving," Israel said.
The Commuter Parity Act,of which the representative is a co-sponsor, would permanently extend the parity between parking and transit, allow for annual cost-of-living adjustments, and set the per-employee, per-month limit at $220 for parking and mass transit and $35 for bicycle commuters has not yet passed in the House.
Op-ed: Think About Your Neighbors
Eric Alexander is the executive director of Vision Long Island. This editorial was published in the Long Island Business News here (subscription required).
They’re missing the tens of thousands of Long Islanders who are still displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Some are homeless, some still living with friends and relatives, while little-to-no government, insurance or charitable support has made it their way.
Ten months later, some neighborhoods are still 40-percent vacant, while businesses have been slow to rebuild. The maze of confusing, conflicting and delayed assistance programs and regulations has limited recovery for many families and local businesses.
Many of us miss the thousands of Long Islanders who had raw sewage in their basement or yard from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which services 540,000 Nassau residents and was damaged by Sandy, following a decade of neglect. The plant’s electrical system, which has been decimated by sea water, is serviced by temporary gas-powered generators and needs a comprehensive upgrade. What has enraged these communities is the partisan politics at legislative sessions throughout the summer, which has blocked up to 90 percent in FEMA reimbursements.
And many miss the hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders who are unemployed, underemployed with low-wage jobs or otherwise struggling through the recession and its aftermath. Small businesses have been slow to hire and consumers are certainly not spending at prerecession levels, which has multiplier effects throughout the region but mostly hurts working people. Many individuals and families that had savings have spent them down on their own expenses, or to help more needy family members continue to live in our high-cost region.
Of course, our minds can get distracted with idiocy like Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, Miley Cyrus, Washington partisan bickering or the Elmont man who drove a boom truck through his neighborhood, causing millions of dollars in damage. Of course there are real-world tragedies in Syria and daily poverty and disinvestment in other places around the globe.
It is important, however, that we take care of our own communities.
Of course you can also say “I don’t live on South Shore, near a sewage plant, nor am I or anyone in my family unemployed.” If that’s the case, then be thankful for your place in life – and think about advancing changes to make life better for other Long Islanders.
So, as you’re pulling together a to-do list for the next month, here are three things we can call on our various levels of government to take on:
1) Cut the red tape in the Sandy recovery process. This involves federal funds set aside and managed through the state, insurance companies and private charities, and ensuring they are applied directly to local communities, individuals and businesses. You can help the Friends of Long Island and many local rebuilding groups as they take on this charge.
2) Tell the Nassau Legislature to fund and fix the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. We’re in the thick of hurricane season now, and electrical system work, new tanks and flood protections are needed to weather another storm. Watch for hearings where you can lend your voice to cut through the partisan, political gridlock.
3) Support local downtown redevelopment and infrastructure projects in your town or village to get folks working and bring tax ratables into our local communities. Various projects are moving forward with their own timetables in the downtowns of Glen Cove, Great Neck, Farmingdale, Hempstead, Long Beach, Island Park, Freeport, Westbury, Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Freeport, Hicksville, Bay Shore, Patchogue, Smithtown, Port Jefferson, Middle Island, Coram, Brentwood, Wyandanch, Huntington Station, Mastic, Shirley and Riverhead, among other places. Join Vision Long Island or your local chamber or civic to assist in moving these projects forward.
None of these are popular topics to raise around the BBQ as the summer ends, but maybe we can each, in our own way, take action to improve the lives of our fellow Long Islanders while boosting our region’s economic climate.
Volunteers needed for Clean Up this Weekend!
Dear potential volunteers who have not yet signed up for a community for this weekend.
Thanks for your past help of Sandy impacted residents but much work still needs to be done. I know that with the holiday season, it may be hard for you to come out but any time you could donate would be greatly appreciated.
This weekend we will be continuing our cleanup efforts in the following communities:
With a goal to get at least 50-100 more Long Islanders back in their homes, the Friends of Long Island group has embarked on a fundraising campaign to initially raise $500,000 for building materials and labor. All donations will go directly to these communities to aide in recovery efforts. If you would like to support the relief efforts, you can send your donations to:
Vision Long Island Sandy Relief
SIMPLY CONTACT INFO@VISIONLONGISLAND.ORG OR CALL 631-804-9128 SO WE KNOW WHO IS SIGNING UP
Celebrate Huntington Awareness Day Next Week
When it comes to celebrating downtowns, nothing tops a parade.
Long Island Reconstruction And Resilience
Join the American Planning Association (APA) for a symposium on how Long Island can rebuild stronger after Superstorm Sandy.
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.
To learn more or apply, send a resume, cover letter and writing sample to email@example.com. Put "Vision Long Island Internship" in the subject heading. For more information, call our office at 631-261-0242.
What's happening in your downtown this weekend?
For information, visit their website or call 979-233-3526
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To arrange a visit, call 516-571-8011 and for information and brochures, visit their website
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For information, visit their website or call 516-922-5032
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Cold Spring Harbor
For information, visit their website or call 631-367-3418
For information, visit their website or call 631-324-6850
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For information, visit their website or call 631-351-3250
Port Jefferson Historical Society
For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665
Bow Tie Port Washington
For information, visit their website or call 631-725-0770
For information, visit their website or call 631-563-0186
For information, visit their website or call 631-862-6575
For information, visit their website or call 631-268-2494
For information, visit their website.
Farmers Markets in or adjacent to Long Island's downtowns:
New Hyde Park
Huntington Jack Abrams School, 155 Lowndes Ave.
Nesconset - Nesconset Day Street Fair. The event will take place on Sunday, Sept. 8 between the hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The street fair will be held at the Nesconset Plaza Shopping Center on Smithtown Boulevard, Nesconset, NY.
Bellmore - 27th Annual Bellmore Family Street Festival. Held between Sept. 19-22 at the Bellmore LIRR, Bellmore, NY.
Garden City South - Garden City South Street Fair. The event will be held on Sunday, Sept. 22, between 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (rain or shine). The street fair will be located on Nassau Blvd, approximately 1 mile north of Hempstead Tpke. (Route 24).
Copiage, Babylon Summer Concerts Series Kerrigan Road & Tanner Park, All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.
When Can They Go Home?
“We’re the middle class of America — we should not be treated like criminals. You’re paying mortgages in homes that you’re not living in. It’s a crime,” - Denise Ford, Nassau County legislator (R-Long Beach)
Newsletter Editor: Mike Koehler, Communications Director
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Vision Long Island