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October 20th - 26th, 2018

Regional Updates

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The 812 projects also created more than 51,000 new jobs, leading all IDA regions throughout the state. Not included in the report are the thousands of units of downtown, transit-oriented or affordable rental apartments that would not have been built without IDA assistance. Increasing the amount of rental units on Long Island is an economic development imperative. Not only are they responsible for the revitalization of communities such as Patchogue, Mineola, Farmingdale, Bay Shore and Riverhead, but they also provide the critical housing options needed to attract and retain the next generation of workers our employers so desperately need." - Bill Mannix, the executive director of the Town of Islip IDA, speaking on the NYS performance report on IDAs

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Charles Wang, 74

Charles Wang will be remembered a variety of different ways throughout the country and world.  People will remember him for his presence in both the business and sports world and as the owner of the Islanders and various other local sports teams.  Of course, there is also Wang’s philanthropic work through the Charles B. Wang Foundation which has supported causes from rescuing missing and exploited children to public education.

But Vision remembers Wang as a man who wanted to improve the area where he grew up.  Settling in Queens after leaving his native Shanghai, China at the age of 8, Wang saw the Nassau Coliseum as part of his neighborhood.  He would work to create a local hub that could support both a major sports franchise as well as a destination for the surrounding area. 

He worked with groups across Nassau County including Vision by holding over 200 public meetings generating local support for the proposed Lighthouse project that was visionary for its time.  That project was set back due to bureaucratic malaise and a lack of infrastructure funding.  A subsequent referendum on public financing for the Coliseum was rejected by voters and more recently he worked to bring the Islanders back with current proposals for Belmont Park.   We commend his efforts for seeking to improve Nassau County and his vision, charity and dedication to local community initiatives should be acknowledged. 

Here are just some of the many articles celebrating Mr. Wang’s life, at the New York Times, Forbes, ESPN, Newsday, and LI Business News.

Three Riverhead Projects Awarded Downtown Revitalization Grants

This past week saw three Riverhead projects receive grants from the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization program.

The Town Public Parking District was awarded $74,925 to help with the removal of existing concrete islands and to restripe the parking lot that helps to service Main Street.  This project will create an additional 67 parking spots in the current lot. 

The grant will also be supplemented by a $167,000 donation from local developer Robert Muchnick, who is seeking to develop a 170-unit apartment complex on Main Street.

The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association was given $30,000 to help upgrade an existing biking and pedestrian entry into Riverhead’s Grangabel Park.  This upgrade will include permeable pavers, benches, lighting, and bike racks.

The Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association also received a $56,300 grant to go towards the redesign and rebuild of the Raymond Dean Municipal Parking Lot.  This plan will allow for an additional 30 parking spots.

“Our downtowns are essential to keeping our region competitive and attracting the high skill, high knowledge workers we need to grow our local economy,” said County Executive Steve Bellone.

You can read more here.

Westbury Holds its Annual Downtown Street Fair

Vision was happy to be out last weekend at the annual downtown Westbury Street Fair, sponsored by the Westbury BID.

The event featured 200 vendors, an excellent and diverse set of food choices, and a range of participating community organizations.  Some of those present included the Westbury Arts Council, Historical Society, local churches, and, of course, the Village of Westbury.

Thankfully the weather held together for a successful event once again.  We look forward to attending many more years of this great street fair.

Open House for Lynbrook Revitalization Project

More than 100 residents attended a recent Lynbrook Open House where the topic of discussion concerned a recently proposed set of apartments in the downtown.

The mood in the room seemed mixed as the some residents approved while others protested the proposed 200 unit complex.  The complex is being proposed by local developer Terwilliger & Bartone and would be located in the heart of Lynbrook’s downtown cultural arts district.  The project would replace a municipal lot mostly used by employees for local employees, but the developers have pledged to fund a 400-space parking lot nearby in order to replace the lost parking.

Anthony Bartone was present at the Open House, and had numerous discussions with residents who expressed a variety of opinions.  He described the mood as overwhelmingly positive, but there were also residents present who began a petition to stop the project.

Questions included potential traffic and local school system impact.  Those in favor mostly talked about the boost to local business and how it would be a shot in the arm to revitalization efforts in the downtown.  The project has the full backing of the local Chamber of Commerce.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to expand the village tax base,” said Lynbrook resident Harold Reese, president of the Harrontine Realty Corp.  “I think it’s a no-brainer when a corporation comes into the town and says they’re going to put up a parking garage for $10 million. How can you say no?”

You can read more here.


Hempstead Officials Unveil LIRR Bike Commuter Improvements

In an effort to encourage healthier commuting, the Town of Hempstead has unveiled bike lockers at the local LIRR station for local residents.

The lockers were previously owned by the NYS Department of Transportation, with ownership transferred to the town just recently with the help of NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky.  The new lockers will help to give residents a sense of security when they leave their bikes for the day as they head off to work.  This in turn will encourage more commuters to ride to the station and go a small way towards alleviating cars on the road.

“These bike lockers are an incredibly great asset for our community,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Lauraa Gillen. “Because they serve our environment, because they give our residents an alternative way to come down to the station.”

Residents can sign up for placement on a lottery to win a locker.  If selected, they will pay a $40 key deposit and must own the locker for at least a year.  At the end of the year they may turn in their ticket and receive the deposit back if everything is in order.  The Town only currently has 36 lockers available for all of its LIRR stations, but is hoping to expand the program in the future.

You can read more here.

APA Hosts 2018 Long Island East End Planning Conference

Vision was out this week at the APA Long Island’s 2018 East End Planning Conference in Riverhead.

The event opened with Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith giving opening remarks and updates on initiatives both underway and in the planning stages in Riverhead, including solar energy and repurposing underutilized big box stores.

After welcoming remarks was the first session, Innovative and Alternative On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems, which gave an overview of the nitrogen-loading issue on Long Island.  Benefits of the systems, as well as updates on system performances, and funding programs that are available on Long Island were also discussed.

The second session, Managed Retreat in the Coastal Zone, described the newly developed NYSDOS Transfer of Development Rights Initiative for Managed Retreat, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and other buyout programs, the National Peconic Estuary Program Climate Ready Assessment Project (underway), and Climate Resilience Adaptation projects made possible through strategic retreat.

Great job to APA Long Island’s Director Sean Sallie and all of the panelists for an informative and engaging conference!

NCCC Holds 34th Annual Businessperson of the Year & Legislative Breakfast

Vision Board and staff were out in support of the 600 small businesses at the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce Annual Breakfast this past week.

The annual event is centered on building support for the hard work that local chambers put into improving their downtowns and local communities.  There was a great focus on shopping local with an update from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.  A member of each local chamber of commerce was also honored for their efforts throughout the year.

The event featured the debut of a one minute ad encouraging local residents to Shop Local, which you can view here.

Congratulations to the Nassau Chambers board and all of the small business honorees for a successful event that helped to highlight the efforts put into improving downtowns through local business.

How 812 projects infused $12 billion into LI economy

The following op-ed was written by Bill Mannix, the executive director of the Town of Islip IDA in conjunction with the heads of Long Island’s seven other IDAs.  It originally appeared in Long Island Business News here.

The New York State Comptroller’s Office recently released its annual performance report on the State’s 109 Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs). The report details, among other things, the number of projects, tax abatements and job creation performance for all IDA projects active during 2016.

On behalf of, and in conjunction with, the heads of Long Island’s seven other IDAs, I’m pleased to say the comptroller’s report concluded that Long Island’s IDAs performed extremely well.

There were 812 projects being supported by Long Island IDAs in 2016. Combined, those 812 projects received net tax incentives totaling $124.7 million. While this may seem like a lot to some, it represents less than .001 percent of the property taxes collected on Long Island.

Still, IDAs are Public Benefit Corporations, so what does the public get in return for these incentives? Here is what the comptroller’s report says.

The 812 projects collectively made private capital investments of more than $12 billion in our local economy. That $12 billion spent to purchase, construct, renovate and equip buildings equates to thousands of construction jobs and increased revenue and staffing at thousands of vendors and suppliers across the Island.

The 812 projects also created more than 51,000 new jobs, leading all IDA regions throughout the state. That’s more than New York City, the Mid-Hudson Valley or the Capital District. It’s also 13,000 (35 percent) more than were promised when the companies entered into contracts with the IDAs.

In addition to the 51,000 new jobs, the companies retained more than 50,000 employees. Combined, that is 100,000 Long Islanders making a total annual payroll of between $4-6 billion because of IDA incentives.

Not included in the report are the thousands of units of downtown, transit-oriented or affordable rental apartments that would not have been built without IDA assistance. Increasing the amount of rental units on Long Island is an economic development imperative. Not only are they responsible for the revitalization of communities such as Patchogue, Mineola, Farmingdale, Bay Shore and Riverhead, but they also provide the critical housing options needed to attract and retain the next generation of workers our employers so desperately need.

As the economic development professionals heading Long Island’s IDAs, we are cognizant to the fact that some in the public philosophically disagree with what we do or that some projects can be controversial. There’s always room for productive discussion and improvement.

However, the fact remains that Long Island’s IDAs have performed extremely well in what is a very difficult business environment. Every day, Long Island companies are being offered incentive packages to relocate to lower cost states. Our quality of life, superb schools and top-notch workforce are major reasons why they stay, but bottom lines dictate business decisions and it is often IDA incentives that make the difference.

We are proud of the role our agencies have played in fostering economic growth and job creation on behalf of Long Island. $125 million in short-term incentives has leveraged $12 billion in private capital investment and the creation or retention of over 100,000 full-time jobs. We think that’s a return on investment the public can be proud of, too.

Riverhead BID to host annual Halloween Festival on October 27th

The Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association will be hosting their annual Halloween festival on October 27th.

The festival will include the popular coffin races, a Halloween parade, pumpkin carving, a Jack O’ Lantern walk, and afternoon trick-or-treating.  Coffin races will start at 1 pm with trick-or-treating taking place from 3 to 5 pm.  The parade will start at 7 pm.  Local restaurants and businesses may also have their own events and specials on that day.

You can find more information here. to Hold 2nd Annual Halloween Party on October 29th will be holding their 2nd Annual Halloween Party on Monday, October 29th at the Carltun at Eisenhower Park.  The event will begin at 8 pm and will feature an award for the best male and female costume.  General admission tickets include food, beer, and wine while VIP Tickets will include a liquor bar as well.

Proceeds go towards First Company Pink | Got Checked? In support of education and research for breast cancer.

You can purchase tickets and view details here.

30th Annual Keys for the Homeless Annual Conference on November 2nd

Please join the Long Island Coalition for the homeless for their 30th annual Keys for the Homeless Event.  The event will take place on November 2, from 8:30am—2:30pm at Touro Law Center, located at 225 Eastview Drive in Central Islip.  The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. Zachary Morris, Assistant Professor and Stony Brook School of Social Welfare.

The Key of Excellence Award will be presented to Suffolk County Department of Social Services, Housing Division and Unsung Hero Awards to Lonnie Sherman, Founder, General Needs and Brother Mark  D’Alessio, Hope House Ministries.

There will also be workshops at the event, with topics to include Engaging Active Substance Users, A Team Approach to Engaging Homeless People with Complex Conditions, Motivational Interviewing, Eviction Procedures/Illegal Evictions, Data Driven Outcomes & Strategies, Homelessness, Food & Housing Insecurity, The Rights of Homeless Families, Bringing Your Project from Paper to Life: A Round Table with Funders, Employing Peer Specialists: Benefits for All, How Do We Come Together? Taking Action, Rapid Rehousing Models: A Panel, and Effective Landlord Engagement.  Selected Workshops will be eligible for CEU Credits.

You can visit their site here for Registrations, Sponsorships and more information.

The First Annual HurriCON is on November 17th

In an effort to raise funds for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, a benefit comic con will be held on November 17th from 10 am to 6 pm.  Comics, artists, food, toys, artwork, collectibles, and more will be available at the event.

Proceeds from HurriCON will go towards funds to repairs of damage that Bethany Church sustained during Hurricane Sandy and to finishing the gym floor.  Admission will require a $5 donations while children under 12 who are in costume get in for free.

You can keep up to date at the event’s Facebook page here and check out the press release here.

Sustainable Living Film Series Presents Albatross on November 19th

The Sustainable Living Film Series will be showing a free screening of the film Albatross.  The film documents how plastic pollution has wreaked havoc on a community of 50 albatross in the North Pacific Ocean and draws many parallels to how such pollution can effect Long Island waterways. 

The screening will take place on Monday, November 19th at the Madison Theatre located at Molloy College in Rockville Centre.  Doors open at 6:30 pm with the film beginning at 7:00.  Registration is free for this event and you can register by texting MASC ALBA to 56512. 

For more information about the screening, please call 516-323-4513.  You can view the trailer here.

Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference Turns 40

For 40 years the Greenbelt Trail Conference has included a group of local volunteers who organize guided hikes around the island.  Around 150 such ventures take place each year as they reveal Long Island parks and trails to new hikers every year.

The group also helps to maintain the 32-miles of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail.  They are active in both counties and every township, and is the only hiking group in the area to do so.

You can read a profile of the group of the years here.

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director

Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

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