September 18th - 24th, 2016
Mill Creek Residential Trust
Mill Creek Residential develops, builds, acquires and operates high-quality apartment communities in desirable locations coast-to-coast. While we are a national company, we immerse ourselves in our chosen markets – living and working in the communities where we operate. We combine our deep understanding of each market with 30+ years of expertise and a fresh innovative approach to the apartment industry, to build relationships and places in which people thrive – creating real and enduring value for our residents, investors and associates.
Since our start in 2011, we have developed more than 20,000 apartment homes across 90+ communities and acquired more than 2,500 apartment homes in some of the nation's best apartment markets. In 2016, we expect to deliver an additional 5,000+ homes to our growing portfolio. We're proud of our people, the places we quite literally build, and the relationships we have with stakeholders across the country.
“One of the students is a senior. So, what do we tell him? Sorry, you’re not going to be able to graduate this year because you can’t get to school? That’s not OK. That bus is going to be cut, so what are we doing? We’re telling them that they can’t go to work anymore but you can go to social services. That’s insane.” - Suffolk Legislator Kate Browning speaking on cuts to Suffolk County Transit.
“The Welfare to Work Commission of the Suffolk County Legislature is deeply concerned about the County proposal to eliminate eight bus routes. The Commission shares the County’s frustration with the lack of adequate State transportation funding. So too, we understand the gravity of the budget deficit faced by the County. Unfortunately, resolution of these fiscal problems is falling on Suffolk’s working-poor people who rely on buses, in some cases as their only means of transportation to and from work. The impact of the cuts will not only hurt these workers but also the businesses where they are employed, not to mention businesses where they shop” - Dr. Richard Koubek, Suffolk Welfare to Work Commission.
Bus Riders, Legislators and Bus Supporters seek to Stop Cuts to Suffolk Transit
Vision Long Island’s Board and staff joined a press event with Suffolk bus riders this week alongside students and Suffolk Legislators and other advocates in opposition to cuts to Suffolk Transit, and to call for a pause in cuts for 2016. The event was organized by the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union. Suffolk County Transit is scheduled to move ahead with bus route cuts, with plans to axe 10 routes effective October 3rd in order to bring a $78 million deficit into order. The cuts would be some of the largest in the 36 year history of Suffolk County Transit.
The ten routes that are scheduled to be cut are: S35, S71, S90, 1B, 5A, 7D, 7E, 10A, 10D and 10E. Several of the routes proposed to be cut service one or more LIRR train station, one or more bus transfer areas, as well as colleges, parks and beaches, and Brookhaven Town Hall.
Advocates lined the Stony Brook Rail Road station stop of the S71 route, which is the beginning of the most-traveled route to be cut, to speak out about the potential cuts. Legislator Kate Browning was the first to comment at the press conference, the week after after she testified the previous week against bus cuts. She spoke of the several cuts to her district, the S71, &e and 7D, and how it would be a detriment to her constituents, speaking of contacts with students and disabled that would be affected, and who have reached out to her for assistance. Legislator Browning’s District houses Stony Brook University student, and was concerned about the need. “One of the students is a senior. So, what do we tell him? Sorry, you’re not going to be able to graduate this year because you can’t get to school? That’s not OK”. She spoke also about the senior population, which is concentrated in the Mastic Beach area, and that may be stranded. The economic impact was also highlighted with the Yaphank Industrial site that could be impacted. “That bus is going to be cut, so what are we doing? We’re telling them that they can’t go to work anymore but you can go to social services. That’s insane.” There are concerns that social welfare costs could increase with bus service decreases, with some saying that the savings in cost would be null. The Legislator also spoke about the need to have equitable funding between Suffolk County and other areas such as Nassau and Westchester, since Suffolk needs to cover much more square mileage. She expressed that service would be better; more expanded, and attractable if there was parity in funding.
Legislator Sarah Anker spoke about the 5A route that is slated to be cut, and the cuts that are proposed. She said that the cuts would be counterproductive towards the senior communities in her area. “We just got an extension into Sound Beach because of the advocacy…now they are taking it away from us. How can we connect when we don’t have transportation?” the Legislator said, speaking about the Connect Long Island proposal. She also spoke about utilizing technology to better transit experience, suggesting flexible routes, much like SCAT service for the disabled, for those areas that utilize public transportation less without discontinuing connectivity. Flexible routes could allow riders to call and schedule rides, as Nassau County has done after restoring their most recent cuts, bypassing areas with no demonstrable need.
Also speaking was Dr. Richard Koubek, Chair of the Suffolk Welfare to Work Commission and Vision Board member. After working with the Commission for 20 years, he understands the need of accessibility and the correlation between job sustainability with the low to moderate income population. He spoke about a Request for Proposal brought forth by the County that would analyze the origins and destinations of rides, and give a better idea of what the needs are for riders that utilize the transit system. The analysis would be due over a week after the proposed cuts would begin, disallowing the 10 routes to be looked at for improvement, efficiency, and a positive cost-benefit. “This is all being done after the cuts. That doesn’t make any sense,” Koubek said. He agrees with the issue, which has been followed for several years, of Suffolk not receiving equitable funding in comparison to other counties. “we understand that we need more state funding, we understand that the County is in a crisis,” Koubek said, saying that the Commission has voted to ask to see what re-routing that has been promised will be, but not shown, and will ask for a moratorium until then. “This is backwards. We are making the cuts without the information. We are making the cuts in the dark.”
Additional comments spoke of testimonials about riders that would use the SCAT service even though they would not ordinarily be entitled to, fraudulently, out of need. Marilyn Tucci from SILO had said, “that will tax and burden SCAT if that happens.”
The Long Island Bus Riders Union also took on a two day tour known as “Rate the Ride”, evaluating the bus systems in both Nassau and Suffolk County. While data is being compiled at this time, there were opportunities for improvement evident from the rides, ranging from the lack of revenue from advertisement, lack of shelters and safe loading and offloading, inconsistencies with printed and actual schedules, late buses, and transfers from buses that could not be taken due to late buses.
You can see the press conference, see testimonials from riders, and follow more about the effort to retain Suffolk bus routes here
NYS Sustainability Conference Held in Melville
Vision Board, staff, members of the Long Island Smart Growth Working Group and the Long Island Business Council and were out this week at the New York State Conference on Sustainability in Melville. Over 400 regional leaders and staff of NYS agencies were out in force including NYS ESD, NYS Department of Transportation, NYS Environmental Facilities Corp, MTA, NYS Department of State, NYS Office of Housing, NY Power Authority and many others.
Over 4,000 Participate in Car Free Day on Long Island
Long Island Clean Energy Leadership Task Force Meets in Farmingdale
Vision Board members were out at the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force last week which held a meeting at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College.
Baldwin’s Grand Avenue Revitalization Moves Ahead
The Hempstead Town Board on Tuesday approved a master developer to create plans for the development of apartments and shops in downtown Baldwin, unanimously approving Basser-Kaufman and Engel Burman Group for the Town’s urban renewal plan for Grand Avenue. Community members and local business out to testify in support included the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, Baldwin Civic Association, Baldwin Oaks Civic Association, Nassau Legislator Laura Curran, Vision Long Island, and individual residents.
The project, sponsored by Councilwoman Erica King-Sweeney, gives the green light for developers to work with the town’s planning and economic development department to acquire vacant downtown properties for a mixed use of apartments, restaurants and shopping, after years of wait. Engel Burman’s partner Steven Krieger understands that the best way for the project to move ahead is to have public consensus. “We’re hoping with a boost in the economy, this proves to a viable option,” Krieger said. “We understand we need to meet with the community and the town to make sure we find something most of the community is in favor of. This is the first step in the process.”
Although plans are not yet in the works, there are hopes that the long neglected Grand Avenue in Baldwin will be transformed into a walkable mixed-use downtown with shopping and restaurants below apartments, drawing a mix of young professionals and “empty-nesters” to the area in proximity to the LIRR station.
Supervisor Anthony Santino said that he has been looking towards Baldwin’s redevelopment for more than a decade, and that the Town would offer resources that might be needed moving forward. “We hope at the end of the day, this will make Baldwin a better place to live,” said Santino. “Not just today, but for generations to come, and it’s important get it done right.”
You can read more about the long-awaited move to revitalize Baldwin’s Grand Avenue in Newsday
Tourism, Arts & Downtown Revitalization in North Hempstead
Vision was out this week to support the Town of North Hempstead Business & Tourism Development Corporation’s breakfast covering Arts and Culture as a Tourism Destination.
Kristen Jarnagin, new Director of the LI Convention and Visitor's Bureau, gave an informative presentation on tourism's connection to downtown areas and the local and regional economy. Tourism generates $5.5 billion in gross revenue. Over $700 million in local tax revenue has been generated in a two year period through tourism, as well as about $600 million in state tax revenue. Long Island had seen a 3% increase in traveler spend in 2015, and ranks second in the state in total revenue from tourism after New York City with just under $5.5 billion spent last year in the industry. It was important that she highlighted the importance of local events as a benefit to the tourism industry, as 80% of the tourism industry’s gain is generated by small business. Highlighted also was Discover Long Island, an initiative to continue the positive trend of tourism in Nassau and Suffolk by highlighting local attractions. Also outlined were the different types of promotion from past activities of her agency including Belmont, craft beer and wineries, as well the typical ads for beaches.
Veterans’ Job and Information Fair- Assistance Needed!
The Amityville Community Resource Center will be hosting a Veteran’s Job & Information Fair on September 27, 2016 from 10 AM - 4pm. The Information Fair will be held from 10-4pm and the Job Fair from 12-4pm. Veterans can get free haircuts and business clothing from their boutique.
Assistance is needed from service providers, schools and vendors to participate in the information fair, and from employers with jobs available. Community members and organizations are encouraged to participate before the event by collecting new or gently used business and casual men’s clothing, business attire for women, and back to school clothing for children.
Tri-State Transportation Campaign to Honor Bold Transportation Projects
Tri State Transportation Campaign will be holding its 2016 benefit on Tuesday, September 27th. This has been a year of big and bold transportation projects. Transportation has headlined budget addresses, daily news articles, legislative hearings, press conferences, and our water cooler conversations. Let’s celebrate our region’s progress and vision this year amidst festivities and good company!
Annual East End Planning Conference to be Held in Riverhead
On September 29th, the APA Long Island Section will hold its annual East End Planning Conference at Hotel Indigo East End in Riverhead.
This year’s conference will start with and optional walking tour of Downtown Riverhead, followed by networking and opening remarks from Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter. Two workshops, Riverside Revitalization Acton Plan and Advancing Alternative Wastewater Treatment on the East End will sandwich a buffet dinner, with 1.5 CM credits each possibly available for the workshops.
Registration rates vary, and can be done online or by mail. For more information on the conference and to register, click here
Walk & Talk: Storrs Center and Willimantic Connecticut
Long Island Business Council Hosts Candidates Forum
To date, the Candidate's Forum will include Hon. Lee Zeldin, US Congressman; Anna Throne-Holst, Former Southampton Town Supervisor; Hon. Jack Martins, New York State Senator; Tom Suozzi, Former Nassau County Executive; Hon. DuWayne Gregory, Suffolk County Presiding Officer.
This meeting will include candidates running for Congress speaking on their platforms and federal policies. Breakfast will be available for attendees. Members of the Long Island Business Council can pre-register at any time, at no cost. The fee for non-members is $45.00. Please RSVP to the meeting by firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-877-811-7471.
Connection Day 2016 Brings Together Long Island’s Leaders
The Fair Media Council has announced the Connection Day 2016 event on October 21st from 7:30AM-4:30PM, designed to make Long Island’s leaders stronger, and to represent Long Island to the media while bringing the next leaders out to attend.
Conveniently located at Briarcliffe College in Bethpage, the event brings together a breakfast panel discussion on the media coverage of the upcoming Presidential Election moderated by WCBS News & Programming Director Tim Scheld, more than 15 breakout sessions to choose through throughout the day, and luncheon speaker Bill Keller, former Executive Editor of The New York Times and now Editor in Chief of The Marshall Project, which is leading the national conversation on the state of criminal justice in America.
With too many highlights of the upcoming event to mention, you’re urged to visit here and take a look at the lineup and order tickets while they are available.
Hercules on the Harbor Run Benefits Stony Brook Hospital Cancer Research
The Hercules on the Harbor 10k is a challenging course with many ups and downs that covers both on and off-road terrain which highlights many of Stony Brook's landmarks, including the beautiful village green, the scenic marina and harbor, the spectacular Avalon Park & Preserve, Harmony Vineyards, the Stony Brook Duck Pond, the Grist Mill, and the charming residential community. The course offers both novice and seasoned runners memorable moments that will keep them returning year after year.
The Hercules on the Harbor 10K is a timed event as well as a USA Track and Field Sanctioned course that will have live music along the course route to encourage runners to conquer some of the more challenging inclines. It is a rain or shine race.
Proceeds from this event will support the Stony Brook Hospital Cancer Research Center. Registration will be available between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on October 23rd, the morning of the 10K race, for $45 per participant. Awards go to the top 3 Male and Female Overall runners. There will also be awards for the Top 3 Male and Female runners in each 5 year age groups (Under 14 through 85+)
28th Annual Keys for the Homeless Conference
Long Island Coalition for the Homeless’ 28th Annual Keys for the Homeless Conference, In the Trenches of Homelessness: Many Faces Hopeful Solutions, will be taking place on October 28th at Touro Law Center in Central Islip. The Keys Conference is a unique opportunity to meet and network with corporate and non-profit housing developers, funding sources, service providers, government officials, representatives from government agencies, and vendors in various fields.
This year’s Keynote Speaker will be New York Times Best Selling author Regina Calcaterra. Over a dozen of workshops covering several of the most pressing issues facing Long Island will be taking place, with some of the workshops offering CEU credits. Several awards and scholarships will be given.
Early bird registration ends September 26th, and there are various discounts for students and sponsorships available. You can click here for a full list of workshops and awardees, and to purchase tickets.
Comment Period Open for South Shore Coastal Storm Risk Management Project
The Army Corps, with the passage of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, has been awarded the funding to complete ongoing coastal storm risk management projects. As such, they have prepared a Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement for coastal storm risk management project that is intended to minimize erosion and increase hurricane protection from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point (FIMP). The $1.2 billion project, which has already replenished beaches on Fire Island, is expected to take place over the next several years, with 30-50 years of contingency plans.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The release of this Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement is an important milestone, decades in the making, which moves New York State and the Army Corps of Engineers one step closer to the construction of the project. I look forward to continuing to work with our federal and local partners to complete this comprehensive storm damage reduction project so we can better protect citizens, businesses and economy of Long Island.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is opening a 60-day review period for the public to submit written comments to assist in the agency’s evaluation of the project changes. Public comments can be submitted by e-mail to either Robert.J.Smith@usace.army.mil or Mark.F.Lulka@usace.army.mil by October 19th. The Army Corp Engineers will also be holding a number of public meetings within the next 60 days to receive feedback on the draft.
Tentative dates and locations for public hearings are :
Further instructions for submitting comments and the report and its associated documents are available on New York District’s website.
Louisiana Needs Your Help
Louisiana suffered a devastating blow once again this month as twenty parishes were drenched with historical flooding, with over 7 trillion gallons of rain overfilling rivers and flooding homes. The unnamed storm is being called the worst US natural disaster since Sandy in 2012, dumping over 20 inches of rain in some areas, with other areas getting closer to three feet of rainfall.
Over 100,000 homes are estimated to be damaged by flooding with over 60,000 being so badly damaged that residents cannot return. 30,000 people were rescued, and thousands are still in shelters. One of the most frightening statistics is that 110,000 have registered for FEMA assistance, with less than a quarter of that amount filing a flood insurance claim- clearly outlining that there will be significant needs and gaps.
As Long Island creeps closer to the 4th Anniversary of Sandy, communities are once again coming together to provide assistance to Louisiana. Several initiatives to assist have started to be planned, with assistance planned in the future as well. Ways you can help:
ER 4 LA Pub Crawl Fund Drive- Sat October 1st 3pm-8pm
5 bars in East Rockaway will be participating, with 100% of proceeds (minus transaction fees) benefitting local efforts in Louisiana. Your $40 ticket includes five (5) up to $6 drink vouchers, one (1) for each of the participating locations, food specials, and an event T-shirt. Each voucher is also an entry to raffles for each location and one large prize. There will also be raffles and additional prizes. For more details and for early-bird registration, click here. For those who cannot attend and would like to donate to this fund, there is an option for that on the event page.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grants Opened Sept 1st
Have you ever wanted to help your community with a problem but didn't know where to start? Maybe it's a run-down park or to help the impoverished in your community. Now, YOU have the power to fix it. State Farm Neighborhood Assist helps identify and address key issues faced by neighbors throughout the United States.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced, philanthropic initiative that lets communities determine where grant funding is awarded. The submission phase is open from Sept. 1-Sept. 15 and you may submit one entry into each of the three program categories: Education, Safety, and Community Development. It's best to submit early - a maximum of 2,000 submissions will be accepted, so there is a possibility of the application window period ending early. All you have to do is submit the cause; you don't have to "run the program."
After the submission stage ends, State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a group of college and high school students from across the country, will narrow down the submissions to the top 200 finalists. Once the top 200 causes are identified, they are voted on by you and your community. The voting stage is Oct. 26-Nov. 4 and each person gets 10 votes per day, every day, during that period. Winners will be announced November 30.
The top 40 causes with the most votes will each receive a $25,000 grant from State Farm. For more information about the program and to apply, click here
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Grant
The Housing Trust fund is currently accepting applications for approximately 26.9 million dollars of State and Federal funds for projects relating to housing activities including housing rehabilitation, homeownership, manufactured housing rehabilitation or replacement, well and septic replacement, and lateral connection assistance that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons. Eligible applicants include non-entitlement villages, towns, cities or counties throughout New York State. The 2016 Application for CDBG Housing Activities will be available on the NYS Homes and Community Renewal website and is due no later than 4:00pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.
You can contact the Office of Community Renewal within NYS Home and Community Renewal at (518)-474-2057 with any questions, or visit their website.
2016 Transportation Alternatives Program Solicitation Announced
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has issued a Notice of Funding Availability for project proposals under the Transportation Alternatives Program, or TAP. (https://www.dot.ny.gov/divisions/operating/opdm/local-programs-bureau/tap-cmaq )
TAP funding supports bicycle, pedestrian, multi-use path and transportation-related projects and programs as well as projects that reduce congestion and will help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Applications for this funding opportunity must be received by October 21, 2016. For additional information on TAP, including eligible project activities, contacts and other program requirements, please refer to the program guidance and application resource materials.
Down Payment Assistance Program Extended for Suffolk County
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined by Legislator Kara Hahn and Community Development officials to announce the extension of the Suffolk County Down Payment Assistance Program this week. The financial program assists first time homebuyers with down payment funds in order to obtain homeownership.
“Having access to homeownership can be critical to the long-term stability of families and helps strengthen communities,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Yet, for many first time homebuyers, coming up with down payment funds is an insurmountable obstacle that can deny them the chance to own a home. This program helps to address that issue.”
Assistance will provide up to $10,000 in grant funding to eligible first time home buyers – helping an additional 35 Suffolk County families. A first-time homebuyer is defined by HUD as a person or persons who have not owned a home in the past three years. Since the program’s inception, Suffolk County has helped more than 1,700 families with down payments on their first homes. The area, known as the consortium area, includes all of Suffolk County, with the exception of Babylon and Islip Townships.
“It is important that we have young people stay here in Suffolk County, to work here, to live and recreate,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. ” I’d like to thank the folks from Community Development to make this a reality for individuals to stay. And it’s great to see that our residents are utilizing of this program.”
Some of the eligibility requirements outside of the “first-time homebuyer” provision include having an income of 80% or less than the area median income, having at least $3000 cash at the time of their application, a documented minimum income of at least $30,000 a year, and being able to qualify for a mortgage. The maximum purchase price for a single-family home, co-op or condominium for the program is $356,000.
Applications for the program are being accepted through November 30, 2016. Residents inside of the consortium area can download the application and view eligibility criteria and other information about the program through the Community Development tab on the County’s website, www.suffolkcountyny.gov. Applications will be accepted by mail only and can also be requested from the Community Development Office at (631) 853–5705. You can also check out News 12 for media coverage regarding the announcement
$16 Million in Grant Money for Energy-Efficient Housing Construction
As a part of Governor Cuomo’s goal to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is offering $16 million dollars for the design and construction of energy-efficient housing. It has been projected that buildings that take advantage of this support will see yearly savings of 9 million dollars.
"Ensuring New York's buildings are constructed to the highest standards of energy efficiency is crucial to both our long-term sustainability and prosperity of the state,” said Governor Cuomo. "Smart choices about efficiency can simultaneously save money and protect the environment. This investment promotes that principle in order to build healthy communities and save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars."
Half of the 16 million dollars will be offered to builders of low-rise buildings, including single family homes, and the other half is meant for builders of mid- and high-rise buildings that consist of apartment units. Applications for this grant money will be accepted through December 29, 2017, or until funding runs out.
More information about the grant and the application process can be found on NYSERDA’s website.
Young Volunteers Needed to Help Habitat Suffolk
Habitat Suffolk’s BUILD IT BRIGHTER is a program for students ages 11-15 who would like to get involved with Habitat Suffolk but who aren’t quite old enough to build on site yet. This workshop is intended to host 10 lucky volunteers ages 11-15 and parents or guardians who would like to stick around for the fun!
Intern with Vision Long Island!
What's happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
For information, visit their website or call 516-439-5218
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
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Suffolk Bus on the Chopping Block
In recent weeks nearly 200 residents, riders and local institutions and businesses were out in opposition to Suffolk County's proposed cuts to Suffolk Transit, the largest cuts in the 36 year history of the system.
The County is proposing elimination of 8 routes totaling roughly 130,000 trips on October 3rd serving the downtowns of Copiague, Lindenhurst, Port Jefferson, Riverhead, Mastic, Shirley, Southampton and others. Active stops on the chopping block also include two colleges, two hospitals, parks beaches and Brookhaven Town Hall.
While the County in recent years has been encouraging connecting Long Island, promoting transit service and economic development in the future this system presently serves existing downtowns and employment centers. What is ironic is the communities facing cuts have just collectively approved over 1,000 units of Main Street apartments where transit is an important component. The impacts that these bus-line reductions would have on riders, the communities served by the eliminated lines, and the Suffolk economy has not been fully determined.
Some good news is that elected officials seeking alternatives to the cuts to date include Suffolk Legislators Al Krupski, Kate Browning, Bridget Fleming, Sarah Anker, Kevin McCaffrey, Leslie Kennedy, Doc Spencer, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilwoman Valerie Cartwright and Town of Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
Organizations out in opposition to the cuts include the Sound Beach Civic
In addition disabled riders, students, seniors and working people were all present at the hearings and many testified. One elementary school student contributed some funds to the Suffolk County DPW hearing officers.
No one has spoken out in defense of the cuts.
The Suffolk County Department of Public Works to their credit has issued a
Solutions to the service elimination can include offsets of the $4 million in the existing County budget in the short term as well as serious efforts to renegotiate with NYS officials for future funding. Opening discussion with the labor unions and the private operator can also find efficiencies in the system as well. Nassau County has taken many of these actions and remapped routes, moved to smaller buses and adjusted schedules saving money and improving the system.
In recent years there have been lots of conversations and regional plans underway about Long Island's future and speculation on where our local economy is headed. These are all important discussions - yet servicing our existing workforce, students, seniors, disabled and Main Streets should not be forgotten and in fact prioritized. Let's hope our policy makers aren't so focused on the future that we hurt real people and local communities in the present.
-Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander