September 21st - 27th, 2019
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“We are fully committed to new forms of renewable energy. We look forward to working together to implement New York’s Green New Deal. But changes like this take time, and we’re a long way from untethering ourselves from our reliance on cleaner-burning fossil fuels, which among other things provide reliable heat in the dead of winter. Natural gas is the right ‘bridge’ fuel for us while solar, wind and other energy technologies are implemented throughout the region.” - Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on the Natural Gas Moratorium resulting from the rejection of the NESE pipeling
Vision joins AARP Long Island for Walking Audit in Central Islip
Vision was out in Central Islip with our partners from AARP Long Island for our 3rd walking audit this year and 10th overall in the last few years.
Debbie Cavanagh from the Central Islip Coalition of Good Neighbors, the umbrella organization of all local groups and institutions, hosted the event. The group also included community members from AARP’s local chapter. The walk began with a tour of Carleton Ave through the business district.
Walkers took time to cross difficult intersections and analyze sidewalk treatments, tested the difficulty of at grade LIRR tracks near the station. They also assessed pedestrian safety at private and public schools, access to local businesses as well as senior and youth centers and parks.
The team also interviewed many walkers, bicyclists and folks using bus and rail transit to understand their daily experiences traversing the area. Speeding was an issue cited by locals near the newly built community park and youth/senior centers. Some pointed to the wide road width and lack of sidewalks.
A slew of recommendations will come forward based on analyzing existing crash data along the route walk with the physical experience of walking through the area.
Thank you to all who participated as we experienced great weather and very fixable problems in the community. The Town of Islip is planning housing and economic development through the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding. Adding additional residents and businesses is needed but improving these conditions for pedestrian safety is critical as our walk showed.
Special thanks to Bernard Macias and his AARP team for a productive audit!
Vision joins AARP Long Island for Walking Audit in Hempstead
Vision was out with our partners from AARP Long Island for our 4th walking audit this year and 11th overall in the Village of Hempstead.
Pastor Charles Roberts from the Salvation Army Hempstead Citadel was our host and members of the local AARP chapter and Vision staff toured the Village’s business district. The audit took us through Terrace and Bedell Ave, Franklin Ave, Fulton Street, Main Street, the LIRR and NICE bus terminals.
The Village of Hempstead has approved a plan of nearly 3,000 units of downtown and transit oriented development housing in recent years. Partnering with multiple levels of government and transportation agencies, they have invested in a LIRR terminal, a new bus terminal operated by NICE bus, and roadway improvements along with a new parking meter system over the last two decades.
People were interviewed along the way as they accessed some of the 400,000 square feet of independent retail space in the Village and the transit terminals. Many churches and schools receive their parishioners/students on foot and safety conditions persist despite some clear efforts at road improvements through the years.
The group found a number of folks walking and biking even during the off-hours timing of the audit. Many safety hazards also exist due to unnecessarily large lane widths and crosswalk lengths. In some areas there were no crosswalks or, where they were, too-short signal timings. Speeding was also an issue, with 50mph logged on a radar gun brought for that purpose.
Joining us also was Rosemary Mascali, former Director at Transit Solutions and coordinator of Mobility Week on Long Island, of which this walking audit and an earlier one in Central Islip was a part.
Special thanks to the AARP local chapters and Bernard Macias for helping guide the audit.
RXR Celebrates Topping Out of Village Square in Glen Cove
RXR Realty recently celebrated the topping out of their Village Square Project in Glen Cove, marking an important milestone for the project.
Village Square is scheduled to open in March 2020 and is considered a key project in the revitalization of Glen Cove. The new development will include a 16,500 square foot public plaza, 15,600 square feet of retail space, and 146 rental units ranging from studios to one- and two-bedroom apartments. 10% of the units will be workforce housing.
The event was attended by local officials including Mayor Tim Tenke as well as members of the local chamber of commerce and business improvement district. RXR Chief Construction and Development Officer Todd Rechler was also in attendance along with Chief Operating Officer of Construction and Development Joanne Minieri, and Executive Vice President of Residential Development and Construction Joe Graziose.
RXR has worked to use local workers and services to help in the construction of the project. 89% of construction has been completed by local contractors.
Village Square used to be the Glen Cove Village Piazza project, which was a previous Smart Growth Award winner.
You can read more at Long Island Press.
Bethpage Considers Downtown Revitalization Possibilites
Vision was out last week in Bethpage to speak on downtown revitalization strategies aimed at helping rejuvenate their Broadway business district.
NYS Assemblyman John Mikulin, Nassau County Legislator Laura Schaefer, and Town of Oyster Bay Councilman and Bethpage resident Lou Imbroto provided updates on a range of issues. Bethpage Chamber’s Terri Black, who is also the Water Commissioner, covered updates to the Bethpage Plume as well as upcoming meetings to address downtown issues related to zoning and parking.
Discussion centered on addressing recent tragedies tied to pedestrian safety as well as the needs for traffic calming for the Stewart Ave, Central Ave and Broadway areas.
Stay tuned for updates on efforts for improvements to Bethpage’s downtown.
Baldwin Holds Annual Oktoberfest Celebration
Vision had a great time this weekend in Baldwin at the Civic Association’s annual Oktoberfest celebration.
Holding the event at the community garden space next to their museum gave it a more festive, intimate feel than a sprawled out park and the weather was awesome. Great food, beer and of course friends and partners in revitalization.
Mark your calendars for next year!
Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers Holds 3rd Quarter Meeting
Vision joined with 80 members from the Suffolk County Chambers of Commerce in Nesconset to support their 3rd Quarter meeting.
Featured speakers at the event included NYS Senator John Flanagan, who provided an Albany update before speaking on his work securing sewers for Kings Park, Smithtown and other areas of Long Island. He focused on the shift of power away from the suburbs towards NYC interests on a number of issues including the natural gas pipeline, congestion pricing and taxes.
His presentation was direct and clear, stating that he says the same thing no matter which group he is in front of, unlike some elected officials. The Senator was also praised for passing the Small Business Savings Accounts legislation that has been a priority of the LI Lobby Coalition for many years.
Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy spoke next, touching on his work as fiscal watchdog to Suffolk County and the collection of hotel/motel taxes.
Smithtown Supervisor Ed Werheim then gave a comprehensive update of projects from the Kings Park sewers and downtown revitalization, St.James business district planning and infrastructure issues, and Hauppauge Industrial Park rezoning.
There was a number of speakers next, including NYIT’s Josh Bienstock talking about negotiating techniques, People’s United Bank Tom Ford covering the state of small business lending and others, John Macri on the Chamber’s health care program, and Rebecca Sanin spoke about the upcoming census.
The Smithtown Chamber of Commerce Director Barbara Franco also spoke about their upcoming gala honoring Gina Coletti to much applause. Dr. Nathalia Rogers from the LI Main Street Alliance was next, noting the need for local businesses to complete mandatory sexual harassment training as well.
Vision’s Director updated the group on the upcoming LI Main Street Alliance candidate’s forum, the status of different downtown initiatives and the December LI Smart Growth Summit.
Kudos to Suffolk Chamber Co-Chairs Gina Coletti and Bob Fonti for convening a productive session.
Lionel Chitty Named Director of Minority Affairs for Nassau County
Vision staff and community partners joined with the Nassau Legislature in support of the appointment of Lionel Chitty for Director of Minority Affairs.
There was a great turnout that included civic and chamber leaders, local elected officials, and others who have known his work connecting minority small businesses to resources.
In an age where communication between cultures, different layers of government, businesses, communities and other interests are either non-existent, poor or polarizing: Mr. Chitty will surely bring the type of collaboration needed to break down barriers and get things done.
Credit to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran for putting his name forward and to Nassau Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello and Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams and their respective delegations for approving the appointment.
LGBT Network Honors NYS Comptroller DiNapoli
Vision Board and staff were out yesterday at a very special event of the LGBT Network honoring NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and Peter Florey and Len D’Amico from D&F Development.
Comptroller DiNapoli has been a leader for the LGBT community for decades in Albany and received the lifetime achievement award.
Peter Florey and D&F Development were honored as the developer of the LGBT Housing and community center in Bay Shore that is poised to begin construction. That project also received a LI Smart Growth Award.
Pink Tie hosts Networking Event
Vision was happy to be part of a Pink Tie event at Insignia in Smithtown this week.
Pink Tie is a local Melville-based 100% pass-through organization that has a mission of supporting local nonprofits and raising breast cancer awareness. Since 2015 they have held annual fundraising events and worked tirelessly to help support local causes and organizations.
We enjoyed seeing members of the group report on their charity work from the annual Pink Tie gala in June as well as the monthly Giv’N’Go gas stations that bring resources to truly local community organizations.
Kudos to Rich and Mike Cave and their team for continuing to grow the work of this important group.
The Suburbs need Natural Gas: Long Island’s County Executives want a Pipeline so they can Grow Responsibly
The following op-ed originally appeared in the Daily News.
The suburbs are thriving, but times are changing, and the long-accepted dream of a house with a lawn, driveway and easy commute to the city is evolving.
On Long Island, we are witnessing the rise of lively downtown districts within suburban counties, the increase of on-demand services; new mass-transit and micro-transit options; piles of delivery boxes from online stores; the evolution of the 9-to-5 workday, and the forging of a stronger, symbiotic relationship between New York City and the rings surrounding it.
As the top elected officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties, we readily embrace change. Our towns are no longer bedroom communities; they are true communities that have adopted a sustainable live-work-play model.
But without access to natural gas, this vision is in jeopardy.
A key to a more environmentally friendly future is transit-oriented development: apartment buildings and businesses clustered around train stations and transit hubs, which will allow residents easy walks to the train, not to mention create new housing options for folks without cars and easier access to other forms of transportation.
At the beginning of the year, Con Ed announced a moratorium on new gas hookups in southern Westchester County, saying it could not safely service new customers following the state’s refusal to approve new pipeline projects — putting in jeopardy numerous mixed-use developments currently under review.
National Grid has imposed its own moratorium on new natural gas service in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, saying it cannot reliably meet demand unless the Williams-Transco pipeline, which would run 17 miles underwater from New Jersey to a pipeline off the Rockaways, is approved.
The two of us believe strongly that without access to natural gas, there will be significant disruption for both the economy and the environment, as these transit-oriented developments will take more single-occupancy vehicles off our roads by encouraging greater use of mass transit options and creating walkable neighborhoods. Together, we implore Albany officials to ensure we do not have to halt the major progress we have made.
We care about climate change. We know how profoundly it will effect our island and our region. We want to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s because of, not despite, that deep concern that we know we need to develop our counties responsibly — by making use of a fuel that emits less carbon dioxide to build denser new housing and commerce where people need fewer cars.
The Williams pipeline will help us ensure that the historic progress we are making is not halted.
On Sept. 13, we traveled to Westchester to appear with our fellow county executive, George Latimer, at a business breakfast. The issue of the stalled pipelines and the ensuing gas moratorium came up again and again.
We are fully committed to new forms of renewable energy. We look forward to working together to implement New York’s Green New Deal. But changes like this take time, and we’re a long way from untethering ourselves from our reliance on cleaner-burning fossil fuels, which among other things provide reliable heat in the dead of winter.
Natural gas is the right “bridge” fuel for us while solar, wind and other energy technologies are implemented throughout the region.
The Williams pipeline alone was expected to displace the need for 900,000 barrels of oil consumption a year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in New York City and Long Island by 200,000 tons a year — the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road. We support it.
Smart development of our transit hubs will take even more cars off the road in the long run, and contribute to reorienting many people’s minds away from our car-centric transportation culture by reflecting the seismic shift happening to the traditional suburban lifestyle.
We can work through this issue together by proving to the rest of the nation that the ultimate pathway to a sustainable economic future is not reached by quickly severing the pipelines we need to get us there.
Bellone and Curran are the county executives in Suffolk and Nassau counties, respectively.
Greenlawn Family Raises Money for Charity with Lemonade Stand
A Greenlawn family has spent the last 12 years setting up an annual lemonade stand aimed at helping to raise money for Smile Train, a New York-based nonprofit that raises money for corrective surgery for children with cleft lips.
Ella's Lemondae Stand is named for 12-year-old Ella Pastorelli, who works alongside parents Jim and Kelli one day a year to raise the money. So far, they have raised enough money to provide for 500 procedures.
You can read more at Long Island Times.
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