October 9th - 15th, 2016
For three generations, Posillico has combined an ironclad commitment to quality performance with an unequaled family work ethic, making the company a leader in public works projects. Incorporated in 1946 under the presidency of Joseph D. Posillico, Sr. as a small trucking contractor, the company has grown to become one of the top engineering contracting firms in New York. They employ as many as four hundred people and serve the entire Tri-State area.
Over the last five decades, Posillico has completed many large and highly complex civil engineering and construction projects. These complex projects more often require off-peak construction during nighttime hours with stringent penalty/ bonus clauses, which have been consistently achieved by the Posillico team.
Their integrated services of civil, materials, environmental, drilling and consulting have allowed them to provide the seamless, cost-effective construction solutions to complex problems that their clients demand today and will demand in the future.
“Too many homeowners across New York are still struggling to rebuild their communities in the wake of the housing crisis caused by major banks. I’m proud that the funding obtained by my office’s settlement with Morgan Stanley will now help cities and towns across the state reverse the proliferation of zombie properties, which invite crime and threaten the value of surrounding homes. These grants will help rebuild, revitalize, and stabilize communities across the state.” - NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
Congressional Candidates Forum Held By Long Island Business Council
Vision Long Island was out this week with over 100 small businesses at the LI Business Council Congressional Candidates Forum. 6 of the 8 major party candidates participated including Congressman Lee Zeldin, former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, running for Congressional District 1; Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory running in District 2; NYS Senator Jack M. Martinss facing off against former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi in District 3 and in District 4 former Marine David Gurfein.
The tone of the meeting was a serious focus on policy and regulations, quite the antithesis to the largely personal attacks and reality show themes exhibited in this year's Presidential contest. In fact, at the request of the moderators and the audience, Mr. Trump or Secretary Clinton were not mentioned once.
Concerns about the increased cost of the $15 an hour minimum wage were raised from a number of small businesses. Congressman Zeldin spoke in opposition to the wage increase; Anna Throne-Holst defended her support of the hike referencing studies that show broad based benefits to the economy and the workforce.
Another concern was increasingly high health care costs for employees and that the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable. Congressman Zeldin stated clearly that he would not have passed ObamaCare in the first place but will work to bring costs down. Anna Throne-Holst would look to amend ObamaCare to make it work better for small businesses.
Lack of Federal investment in infrastructure has plagued projects like the Nassau Coliseum Lighthouse project or upgrades to Nassau sewer plants in the past. Former County Executive Tom Suozzi stressed his part ability to get grants as Glen Cove Mayor reminding the group that this is not a new issue. NYS Senator Jack Martins spoke of the work he has done to bring resources from Albany to LI and will do the same in DC. All six candidates prioritized bringing our fair share of infrastructure funding back to Long Island by working across party lines as needed.
Small Business Savings Accounts legislation was supported or seriously looked at by all of the candidates. NYS Senator Jack Martins passed the legislation three times in the NYS Senate and then-Senator Lee Zeldin voted for it as well. Both would sponsor the Federal bill that will lose the initial sponsor, Representative Steve Israel, due to his pending retirement.
Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory tackled the "brain drain" and the need to connect local businesses to existing government services. He also spoke of the need for job development among the younger workforce.
David Gurfein spoke of his desire to limit government involvement in order to grow the local economy. He stressed his military service and ability to look through government programs for efficiencies. After the forum he spoke of a populist wave of frustrated voters who simply want Washington to work for the people.
Other questions included energy policy, minority business lending, tort reform, downtown redevelopment and improving educational quality to enhance the local workforce.
In closing, the contested races were asked to share a positive trait of their opponent.
Anna Throne-Holst spoke of Lee Zeldin's military service, with Congressman Zeldin speaking to the former Town Supervisor's passion for public service. NYS Senator Jack Martins praised former County Executive Suozzi’s early marketing of what was then called "cool downtowns." In turn, Mr. Suozzi praised Senator Martins’ approvals of downtown apartments as a former Mayor of Mineola.
The mood of the participants was very positive and whoever wins these races will be called upon by local small businesses and our residents to act as a firewall against division, partisan gridlock, and interests in Washington negatively impacting our communities.
Special thanks to the LIBC Co-Chairs Rich Bivone and Bob Fonti along with additional moderators Gina Cafone Coletti from the Suffolk Chambers and Julie Marchesella from the Nassau Chambers.
Lastly special thanks to the candidates who participated and brought their intelligence, passion and concern for the issues facing our local communities. You can read Long Island Business News write up of the event here.
Against Heavy Opposition, Suffolk Cuts Ten Bus Routes
Ten Suffolk County bus routes were cut this week, despite heavy opposition, in order to shave away at a large county deficit. Several downtowns, hospitals, LIRR stations, places of employment, schools, and municipal services are either no longer accessible, or will require additional travel time to get to.
Nearly 200 people attended earlier hearings in opposition, with about 300 signing an online petition over two days to try to stop the cuts, to no avail. Seniors, students, working people, disabled, and poor folks are now feeling the impacts in their travel to schools, workplaces, hospitals, downtowns and other institutions. This system truly connects Suffolk residents to a slew of communities and services.
While the Suffolk County budget has structural deficits, there are offsets in the current County budget that could be have been made at a recent Legislative meeting to stave off these cuts. Unfortunately the legislature couldn’t reopen the budget at this meeting; only the County Executive could have. Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider was present at the recent Legislative meeting, and did petition the Legislature to act on a completely unrelated item. Several Legislators did say to the Deputy County Executive they felt that there were more important budgetary matters to address that day, including the bus cuts, however bus cuts were not brought up by the Executive’s office at the meeting. The good news is that there are at least 8 Suffolk Legislators who are opposed to the cuts including Kate Browning, Al Krupski, Bridget Fleming, Leslie Kennedy, Kevin McCaffrey, Sarah Smith-Anker, Legislator William R. Spencer, and Tom Muratore. Hopefully this group can appeal to the administration to move forward a resolution to restore the cuts to the bus riders. There are hopes that the upcoming budget will be able to sustain existing service, and possibly restore these cuts.
While long range planning is important it shouldn't occur at the expense of critical transportation services. The irony is that in the eight downtowns that are serviced by the bus system, and whose routes are scheduled to be dropped, over 1,000 units of transit oriented development housing have been approved.
The Long Island Bus Riders’ Union is encouraging all Suffolk County residents, businesses, students, and chambers of commerce to contact County Executive Steve Bellone’s Office to ask that the bus cuts are restored, and that no additional cuts are proposed. The Office’s number is (631) 853-4000, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also an online petition available here where stakeholders can voice their opinions, and sign on against the cuts.
Growth of Downtown Housing Benefits Restaurants and Bars
Transit-oriented developments adjoining the LIRR stations are booming, bolstering downtowns with new development and spurring the expansion of existing businesses in communities like Patchogue, Valley Stream, Westbury, Farmingdale, and Rockville Centre.
While there is still work to do to support certain categories of retail and provide more affordable units, there has been tremendous progress thanks to local property owners, small business, residents involved in the planning process, builders that invest in downtowns and of course the local villages and towns managing these changes. In the past decade, roughly 7,000 new housing units have been approved near train stations in Nassau County and 5,000 in Suffolk County, which has been a great benefit to local restaurants and bars.
The new apartments have been filling up with retirees and young professionals that are doing well financially, the first wave of these projects are market rate where the average rent averages around $3,000, which is substantially higher than those built before the year 2000, where rents average under $2,000. Not all of the apartments’ rents are high, with about ten to fifteen percent of the apartments being set aside for affordable housing for those that have low to moderate incomes.
The developments have enabled transformations in downtowns that could not have been done without them; In Farmingdale, roughly 200 apartments have opened near the train station since 2014, and another 70 are under construction nearby. Five years ago, “we had 23 empty stores on Main Street,” said Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, who owns Moby Drugs on Main Street. “Now we have two . . . If you come to downtown Farmingdale, it’s just totally alive. Other areas such as Patchogue and Rockville Centre have seen similar results, with retail space occupied at near-capacity when it has lagged in the past.
Tourism has increased on Long Island over the past few years, with successes in the transit-oriented downtowns playing a role; In Patchogue, the village’s support for new rentals, town houses and affordable housing, its $1 million renovation of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts — which brought in 150,000 visitors last year, up from 65,000 in 2004 — and events such as outdoor festivals have been a boon to local businesses, according to Village Mayor Paul Pontieri.
The support of the IDAs, particularly in Nassau, New York State, and in some cases Federal support for infrastructure has played a critical role in the revitalization of the downtowns. Although progress is never perfect, the last ten years with over 100 projects has made very positive impacts. You can read more about the lift to local businesses through transit-oriented development in Newsday.
$3.3 Million to Long Island to Combat Zombie Homes
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced grant awards totaling $12.6 million to help 76 cities, towns, and villages across the state address the problem of vacant properties and so-called “zombie homes” – vacant and abandoned homes that are not maintained during a prolonged foreclosure proceeding. $3.3 million will go directly to Long Island Cities, Towns and Villages to help combat this problem. The issue of funding municipalities to combat zombie homes was urged by the Long Island Lobby Coalition this year in Albany.
The grants were awarded under the Zombie Remediation and Prevention Initiative, which the Office of the Attorney General established in July with funds drawn from the $3.2 billion settlement agreement with Morgan Stanley that Schneiderman, as co-chair of the federal-state working group on residential-mortgage-based securities, negotiated in February. That settlement generated $550 million in cash and consumer relief for New Yorkers.
“Too many homeowners across New York are still struggling to rebuild their communities in the wake of the housing crisis caused by major banks,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “I’m proud that the funding obtained by my office’s settlement with Morgan Stanley will now help cities and towns across the state reverse the proliferation of zombie properties, which invite crime and threaten the value of surrounding homes. These grants will help rebuild, revitalize, and stabilize communities across the state.”
The local cost of fallout from zombie homes is steep. Municipalities may end up with not only delinquent taxes, unpaid water and sewer bills, but homes that become safety hazards and require demolition. Increased costs to the municipalities also include indirect costs to communities, including increased policing, fire prevention and effects of a criminal element that has increased with the higher rate of foreclosures. Neighboring houses also suffer in terms of property value loss, with an estimated $5,000 reduction in value for each neglected home on their block. “Our communities are paying a big price when people lose their homes,” DiNapoli said in a recent report regarding zombie homes. “We must continue efforts to help homeowners and implement solutions that support local governments’ economic recovery.”
A total of sixteen Long Island municipalities were awarded funding through the invite-only application process. You can read more about the assistance to help out the zombie home crisis on Long Island and see the award winners here
Town of North Hempstead Business Improvement District Grants Available
Town of North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) Chairwoman Judi Bosworth and Executive Director Kim Kaiman announced that the BTDC will once again be offering matching fund grant opportunities to not-for-profit organizations and business improvement districts to beautify their downtowns.
The Downtown Beautification Program is designed to assist the Town’s chambers of commerce and civic associations in the revitalization of commercial and mixed use downtown districts. The program will make available matching fund grants of up to $10,000, per Councilmatic District, for eligible downtown beautification projects. Funds may be utilized for streetscape improvements such as tree planters and other landscaping, as well as street furniture, trash receptacles and signage.
“We encourage not-for-profit organizations and business improvement districts to take advantage of this program. It is designed to utilize your ideas to benefit our local communities,” Chairwoman Bosworth said. “Last year we were able to award over $34,000 in grants to downtown projects."
Executive Director Kaiman said, “We are thrilled to have the support from Supervisor Bosworth and the Town Board to once again make available matching funds in order to facilitate the beautification of our local downtowns. Last year, we awarded over $34,000 from the BTDC. As a result, North Hempstead will see over $90,000 worth of improvements through several beautification projects around our Town.”
Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations (including but not limited to civic associations chambers of commerce and local development corporations) and business improvement districts. Eligible applicants must develop a detailed plan that must be submitted as part of the application process. Application deadline is December 9, 2016.
To apply for the BTDC’s Downtown Beautification Program please call either 516-869-7739 or 516-869-7614, or click here
LIREDC to Assist Performing Arts Theater in Babylon
A new performing arts theatre will be opening in an old moviehouse in Babylon Village, thanks to some help from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, adding to the vitality of the community that is providing customers with local restaurant options and an arts attraction.
The former Bow Tie cinemas, purchased by father and son team Dylan and Mark Perlman, will undergo a $16 million renovation, using their backgrounds to make an innovative indoor entertainment venue, right on Main Street. The elder Perlman, with his education background, and his son Mark, who is an actor, will team up to create a venue that includes comedy shows, productions, and concerts, as well as a tuition-based education program. The educational opportunities will include training for actors and stagehands, as well as experience for those who want to study engineering, lighting, and production.
The renovation plans are also aiming to increase seating from 549 to 700, and possibly a drop-in screen for movie nights as well as a bar. 15 to 18 full time jobs will be created, as well as part-time jobs. The IDA has made a property tax abatement available over 12 years, as well as mortgage tax recording and sales tax savings. Babylon IDA CEO Matthew McDonough was excited about the project coming online after about a year of planning. “The South Shore downtowns – Bay Shore, Patchogue – a large part of their success is because they have a theater,” he pointed out. “A packed show would mean people would be in the streets, visiting local restaurants.” You can read more about the improvement to Babylon’s downtown here, and see some of the other projects that are recommended to receive assistance here.
Second Annual Patchogue Fall Festival This Weekend
The Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Business Promotion Committee will be hosting the 2nd Annual Fall Festival this weekend on Saturday October 15th from 12Pm-5PM, and invites all to spend the day in Patchogue along Main Street.
For more information about this event, you can click here
PSEG Long Island Participates in Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk at Jones Beach
PSEG Long Island invites all to attend the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk this Sunday, October 16th, at Jones Beach State Park.
Hundreds of PSEG employees, friends, and family will join thousands more Long Islanders for the walk. Breast cancer affects many of the families that PSEG serves, as well as their own employees and loved ones, driving PSEG to be a Flagship Sponsor of the event. As thanks for helping to brighten lives, they hope to brighten Long Island homes more efficiently by offering each Making Strides participant at Jones Beach two free LED bulbs.
Check in opens at 7am, with a rolling walk start taking place between 8am and 11am. You can register online and find out more information about this event by clicking here
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. In addition, Vision's Director Eric Alexander will be moderating a panel on "Pitching the Media."
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.
$500,000 Downtown Grant Opportunity Open
There's no denying that a small town could do a lot with $500,000. From updating the inventory at your favorite antiques shop to giving the local bakery a brand-new website, showing more love to your town's small businesses can only make things better for everyone. That's exactly why Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec wants to help yours.
The TV star investor has partnered with the Deluxe Corporation for the Small Business Revolution Main Street project. Together, they plan to make over a winning small town, breathing new life into its businesses. The first lucky town to get the half a million dollar transformation was Wabash, IN.
If you think your hometown is need of a business makeover, nominate it before October 21, and it might be chosen as the program's 2017 project. You can also view some of the first town’s revitalization efforts there.
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.
St. John's of Huntington to hold Annual Harvest Fair
Saturday October 29th from 10am until 4pm, St. John’s Episcopal Church will be holding their annual Harvest Fair in downtown Huntington. The festival will include live music, Holiday Boutiques, Silent Auction, Luscious Baked Goods, Top Quality Raffle Baskets, Vermont Cheese, White Elephant, Antiques & Fabulous Finds, Casual & Professional Thrift Shop, Hand Crafted Items, and the Canterbury Gift Shop. St. Johns is located in a historic church at the corner of Main Street and Prospect Street across from the library. For more info: http://www.stjohnshuntington.org/st__john_s_harvest_fair
Race2Rebuild 5k for Sandy Residents in Long Beach
Upcoming Huntington Community Summit on Rental Housing
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.
To facilitate the development of applications, NYSDOT will be hosting four webinars/workshops around the State and providing opportunities to review pre- applications with Department staff. NYSDOT will also posting the webinars for potential project sponsors to view.
Please note that an associated solicitation for the Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) that is mentioned in the NYSDOT announcement will not be undertaken for the NYMTC planning area.
Comments and questions regarding the TAP solicitation may also be submitted via email to TAP-CMAQ@dot.ny.gov
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.
Park & Trail Partnership Program
Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, are pleased to announce the second round of competitive grants through the NYS Park and Trail Partnership Program. This program is open to Friends organizations that support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites and is administered by PTNY, in partnership with OPRHP.
$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.
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Mansfield Connecticut Transforms Into a Revitalized Community
Vision was out touring a mixed use development in Mansfield, Connecticut this week with the Congress for New Urbanism. This 47 acre site adjacent to the University of Connecticut replaced an aging shopping center and contains 11 mixed use buildings, 626 rental apartments, 42 for-sale town homes and 140,000 square feet of retail and office space. Features include a supermarket, restaurants, health center, childcare, bookstore, parking garage, transit center, a public plaza and 20 acres of nature preserves.
The tour began at the newly redone Storrs Center, a dense, walkable, and brand new traditional college town for Connecticut's largest and premier public university. Those attending then were able to take a tour bus to Willimantic, Connecticut for a walk through the historical mill town, once called the "Thread City". In its day, Willimantic was the largest employer in the state when the American Thread Company operated on the banks of the Willimantic River in the 1800s. Attendees were able to see the historical hidden gems of the town, the new riverfront, and efforts to attract small tech startups.
Master Developer the Leyland Alliance and EDR made a $170 million investment and partnered with $25 million in public funds to make the 20 year planning process with the Town, UCONN, residents and local business leaders come to fruition. Although it was a long time coming, the efforts led to a great project. In a community of “fading strip malls,” Storrs Center created a mixed-use town center from scratch—and provided the UConn Huskies the kind of urban amenities that students and faculty demand in a world-class university.
You can read more about the project and how it transformed the area here.