Gov. Cuomo Awards $83 Mil In Economic Development For LI Projects
Wednesday was a red letter day for Long Island, who received the largest piece of $716 million in New York State economic development funds.
Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that 98 Long Island projects received grants, tax credits and other funding totaling $83 million – the single most of all 10 regional economic development committees in the state. Appointed by the governor, each committee fights for state funding for project designed to create jobs.
"It's a competition we have 10 regions in the state and they compete. The best plans win," Cuomo said.
Over the years, Vision Long Island has supported at least a dozen of these projects. These 12 alone received $10 million in funding.
The Glen Cove Waterfront project received the lion’s share, pulling in $2.5 million in grants for elevating the road, upgrading utilities, adding enhance drainage systems and installing ADA-compliant sidewalks. Once the contaminated home of industrial factories and a marina, the City of Glen Cove partnered with RXR Realty in 2007 to design a mixed-use future for the Superfund site.
The 52-acre site will now include a luxury hotel, a spa, 860 residential units, 50,000 square feet of office space, 25,000 square feet of retail space, 85 new boat slips and nearly 20 acres of accessible public open space. The redevelopment also includes the Glen Cover Ferry Terminal and Boat Basin. Groundbreaking began in 2010, with construction of the 2,700 square foot terminal building underway. The ferry is expected to save 48,000 vehicle miles daily by carrying 1,600 passengers every business day. It will also be available for recreational trips.
Another million went to another project in Glen Cove, the Piazza. The $60 million project is designed to revitalize the Village Square and add energy downtown with 142 multifamily residential apartments and 27,000 square feet of retail space across four five-story buildings. A 12,000 square foot decorative brick plaza is at the heart of the project. Applicant GCVS received $1 million for construction, expected to end in 2014.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s Connect Long Island project also received a large piece of state funding. Cuomo allocated $1.5 million to the county’s Department of Economic Development and Planning for creation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor along 17.2 miles of road. This includes retrofitting six buses, buying two new hybrid buses and creating BRT stations. The BRT system could run north-south along Route 110, Sagtikos Parkway and Nicolls Road with existing east-west railways. Bellone was accepting proposals to begin a study back in March.
Suffolk County also received $1 million for sewers in Kings Park. The Department of Public Works is working with the Town of Smithtown on a $22 million sewer expansion into downtown Kings Park. The 110-acre Kings Park Central Business District has 140 lots and is adjacent to the LIRR station. While there’s no shortage of discussion on the project, neither a construction date nor complete sources of funding have been identified yet.
Another $1.34 million for sewers was award to the Town of Riverhead Community Development Agency. Those funds will help defray the $20 million cost of upgrading the sewage treatment plant at Calverton Enterprise Park. The upgrade from secondary to tertiary treatment is expected to prove economic development and environmental benefits. Riverhead officials are currently seeking additional funding, including private investors and $6 million from the state DEC.
Back in the Town of Babylon, two projects in Wyandanch received state funding. The Town’s Wyandanch Rising project was awarded $1 million to build an ice rink adjacent to the LIRR station and two pedestrian bridges at nearby Geiger Park. This is a small part of a $500 million public/private redevelopment including new mixed-use development. Groundbreaking happened over the summer.
The other Wyandanch project is a proposed STEaM Center. The Suffolk County Office of Film and Cultural Affairs secured a $100,000 grant to explore development of a center that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math. If constructed, the STEaM Center would assist Suffolk County in revitalizing Wyandanch and could broadly create new industries and job opportunities.
Two other projects in Suffolk County were awarded state funding from Cuomo. The governor allocated $500,000 to the Town of Babylon to perform a redevelopment study for a mixed-use application at the intersection of Route 110 and Conklin Street. The area is adjacent to Republic Airport and the most dense employment corridor on Long Island.
The Town of Babylon also received $200,000 to develop a conceptual site plan, a regulating plan, and will adopt a form-based code to guide the redevelopment of approximately 136 acres in East Farmingdale. This project is intended to attract businesses that are economically viable and sustainable, while stabilizing the existing residential neighborhood through a well-managed and constructed mixed-use development that provides much needed amenities to the community.
Across the border, Nassau County received $500,000 for parking on the 77-acre Nassau Hub property. The state funding will go towards a feasibility and economic analysis study for a potential shared parking structure. The project is designed to maximize economic development in the area. Developer Bruce Ratner, who signed a lease with Nassau County to upgrade the Nassau Coliseum in August, made waves last week when he said the Hub isn’t suitable for housing, offices, retail and technology companies.
Nassau County also received a $200,000 grant to plan, design and being construction on the Long Island Parks and Preserve Access Improvement Project. This will create a set of pathways for residents and tourists to walk, bike and ride from the Long Island Sound to the Great South Bay and Jones Beach.
Cuomo also allocated $250,000 for bulkhead replacement in the Village of Freeport. Those state funds will help cover the cost of replacing 1,065 square feet of bulkhead at Waterfront Park. The chromate copper arsenate-treated timber bulkhead is degrading, allowing soil erosion and causing unsafe conditions that force the restriction of public access and recreational fishing at the waterfront section of the park.
For more about the grants, check out the state’s announcement and this Newsday story (subscription required).
No Deal In Ruland Road Apartments, Trial To Begin In February
The NAACP and Town of Huntington are headed back to court after negotiations again failed.
Both parties participated in a conference call over proposed Ruland Road development on Thursday, with the judge setting a February trial date.
The issue began in 2002 when NAACP and Fair Housing in Huntington sued the Town of Huntington for discrimination about another Half Hollow Hills development. They added the 8.1-acre Ruland Road property in 2004, which had been zoned for one-bedroom use.
Huntington’s Planning Board approved the Sanctuary at Ruland Road in 2010. That same year, a judge dismissed part of the 2004 lawsuit and allowed the development to go through. Both the NAACP and Fair Housing sued again in 2011, although Fair Housing is no longer part of the case.
After the Melville Chamber of Commerce, NAACP and others rallied at Town Hall last week, Supervisor Frank Petrone and his town board discussed the property and an alternative development offered in the lawsuit – Ruland Knolls. The 117-apartment complex would have 77 one-bedroom units, 34 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units.
Vision Long Island spoke in favor of the Ruland Knolls project, which would be built by developer D&F Development Group. A copy of that testimony is available here.
The board, however, opted to go with continued negotiations instead of accepting the settlement. Councilwoman Susan Berland has been the most vocal opponent on the board, advocating only for owned one-bedroom units.
But when the NAACP met on Thursday night, Huntington Township Housing Coalition President Richard Koubek said 28 leaders agreed to escalate the case.
“They are hell-bent on returning to court,” Koubek said.
NAACP Huntington chapter Vice President Ulysses Spicer did not return requests for comment.
Philip Ingerman, the Town of Huntington’s director of Intergovernmental Affairs, confirmed a February trial.
Going to court makes no sense and will ultimately cost the taxpayers, said Mike DeLuise. The president of the Melville Chamber of Commerce added that he’s failed to see any argument against having rentals, other than narrow-minded xenophobia.
“At the end of this, there’s no good reason to discriminate against families and minorities,” DeLuise said.
Meanwhile, Koubek said the NAACP seems content with court.
“Right now they want rentals and they don’t want to compromise on that. If the town comes back with some interesting rental compromise…” he added.
For more coverage of this story, check out Newsday (subscription required).
Nominations Open For Huntington Chamber’s 30 Under 30 Awards
Know an up-and-comer here on the island?
The Huntington Townships Chamber of Commerce is looking for the next generation of leaders in business, government and nonprofits.
Nominations are now being accepted for the sixth annual Celebrate Long Island’s Young Professionals awards. The award celebrates the achievements of 30 professionals under the age of 30 who have an impact in their fields and the well-being of their communities.
Winners are selected by a panel of judges, who consider professional and educational achievements, as well as involvement in community activities, nonprofits and volunteerism. Applications will be narrowed down to a field of finalists from whom the final award winners will be chosen.
Winners will be announced at the Young Professionals Committee Business Blender on March 6, 2014. Winners will be formally recognized by the Chamber during a reception on May 6, 2014 at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Family, friends and colleagues are invited to toast the award winners.
“Every year we are inspired by the quality of the nominees from across Long island, and every year the competition gets stiffer,” said Robert Bontempi, Huntington Chamber co-chairman. “We are looking forward to reviewing this year’s crop of nominees, and to publicly recognizing their achievements.”
Nomination forms are available online at www.huntingtonchamber.com, or by calling Courtney Bynoe at 631-423-6100. All nominations must be submitted by Dec. 31.
Incorporated in 1925 the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business, industry, financial service, not-for-profit and other professionals of the greater Huntington region. Its mission is the promotion of business, economic development and job creation through the coordinated effort of its membership.
Housing Nonprofit Opens Door To New Website
A well-established housing agency helping New Yorkers find a place to call home is unveiling a new home of their own.
Concern for Independent Living went live with their new website on Monday.
Concern officials said the new system lets them upload content faster than ever, getting information and news to their subscribers even quicker. The new website also links to their new social media pages.
Concern is a nonprofit housing agency that helps those with low income or disabilities live in the community with dignity. Their options range from fully-staffed community residences in Suffolk County to mixed-use apartments in Brooklyn.
One of the largest housing agencies in New York, Concern serves approximately 850 individuals and families in more than 220 locations. They’ve been in business for 40 years, winning awards over the years, including a Smart Growth Award from Vision Long Island.
Visit Concern for Independent Living’s new website here, and find them on Facebook.
Schumer Criticizes EPA’s New Fire Hydrant Regulations
A federal mandate could flush away hundreds of thousands from Long Islanders’ wallets.
Senator Chuck Schumer publicly called out the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday for requiring municipalities to throw away brand new fire hydrants due to lead concerns.
Speaking at the Garden City Park Water District, Schumer said the EPA re-interpreted the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act of 2011 this fall that subjects fire hydrants to new, reduced lead standards. The law focuses on supplies of drinking water. Surprised municipalities said hundreds of hydrants – priced at more than $1,000 each – are sitting in stock across the state awaiting installation.
“The EPA simply must grant a waiver for existing fire hydrants so that Long Island cities, towns and municipalities can use what’s in their inventory, and provide a transition period for municipalities, hydrant manufacturers and others to prepare for these new rules,” Israel said.
Joined by Long Island Water Conference (LIWC) Chairman Michael Boufis (Bethpage Water District), LIWC 1st Vice-Chairman Michael Levy (Garden City Park Water District), Suffolk County Water Authority Chairman James Gaughran and superintendents from various Long Island water districts, the senator criticized the new interpretation. When the law was being written, he said, Congress did not intend for hydrants to be included in the reduced-lead drinking water standards. Bath tub and shower parts are already exempt. He added that lead poisoning via drinking water typically occurs from long-term exposure, e.g. drinking from the same kitchen faucet for years.
Cities, towns and municipalities across Long Island should be permitted to use up their existing hydrant supply, Schumer said, and given a transition period so they can work with manufactures and fire departments to correctly replace hydrants damaged after Jan. 4, 2014.
Schumer said the EPA decision will sap coffers for both Long Island counties. The Suffolk County Water Authority would lose $450,000 in stock and even more in ratepayer money to buy new hydrants that comply with EPA standards, while Nassau has hundreds of municipalities that will have to discard thousands in hydrants they already own.
Manufacturers, Schumer added, are worried about a lack of time to create new models that comply with the new safety and efficiency standards. New Hyde Park-based Pollard Water creates fire hydrants and would likely lose hundreds of thousands in stock.
If the EPA does not exempt the existing fire hydrant stock from these new guidelines, Schumer said on Monday that he would consider legislation to force the issue.
“If the EPA can’t do this voluntarily – and soon – then I will push the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation, which has already passed the House, to add fire hydrants to the list of devices that are already exempt from these reduced lead standards.”
The senator released a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking for an exemption and transition period. He also said they should allowing current hydrant manufacturers to ensure they can produce hydrants and parts that will both function properly and meet these new regulations in adequate quantities to ensure public safety.
Feds Embrace Pedestrian-Friendly Street Design Guide
This article was written by Robert Steuteville for New Urban News.
Last month, the Federal Highways Administration released a memorandum officially endorsing Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU)/Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) manual Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach. The manual will serve as a complement to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) “Green Book” in transportation planning nationwide.
From the FHWA memo:
“This memorandum expresses the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) support for taking a flexible approach to bicycle and pedestrian facility design. The AASHTO bicycle and pedestrian design guides are the primary national resources for planning, designing, and operating bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide and the ITE Designing Urban Walkable Thoroughfares guide builds upon the flexibilities provided in the AASHTO guides, which can help communities plan and design safe and convenient facilities for pedestrian and bicyclists. FHWA supports the use of these resources to further develop nonmotorized transportation networks, particularly in urban areas.” (FHWA.dot.gov)
“FHWA’s statement puts the ITE Street Guide front and center on every traffic engineer’s desk,” said CNU’s John Norquist of the monumental announcement. “This is exactly what we hoped would happen.” This endorsement bolsters CNU’s call for “context sensitive solutions” in transportation matters and builds flexibility into transportation planning that will help to further promote livable communities that are compact, pedestrian-scaled, and open to all modes of transportation.
Vision Long Island has been active in promoting this manual and many of our consultants helped draft the document.
“This manual is a result of years of research by CNU and ITE,” Executive Director Eric Alexander said.
CNU Boss Norquist Stepping Down After A Decade In Office
Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is looking for a new voice to rally the troops.
Former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist has confirmed he will resign as CNU president after the 22nd annual Congress in Buffalo this summer.
"After working full time for more than 40 years, I look forward to having time to write and teach," Norquist said.
Beginning his term in early 2004, Norquist led the organization in promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions for a decade. His career spanned the boom and bust of the housing industry, and was critical to maintaining and strengthening the organization.
The outgoing president helped nurture a partnership with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), resulting in a new standard for street design that serves the needs of everyone. Recently anointed by the Federal Highway Administration as a go-to guide for urban street design, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach is on its way to becoming an industry standard.
He also initiated the establishment of CNU chapters in America and Canada, and built partnerships with public, private and non-profit organizations that helped CNU grow to more than 2,500 members.
"One of John's great contributions has been to bring together people of all political stripes to understand that walkable communities are good for everyone," said Ellen Dunham-Jones, chair of CNU's Board of Directors. "He has put the organization's emphasis from being theoretical to action-oriented, advocating on behalf of CNU's great initiatives like urban highway removal, design for healthy neighborhoods and changing federal policies that limit mixed-use development."
Before assuming the mantle at CNU, Norquist served as the mayor of Milwaukee from 1988-2004. An extramarital affair with a subordinate overshadowed his last few years, but his experience leading the city offered political wisdom he applied to CNU. In 1998, he authored “The Wealth of Cities,” a book that describes and prescribes new urbanism to America's cities.
Incoming Board Chair Douglas Farr said "Norquist is leaving CNU in a strong position to expand the new urbanism movement."
The organization has formed a search committee and is accepting applications. A new president is expected to be announced by this spring.
Bringing Long Island ‘Vision’ Into Focus
This editorial originally ran in Long Island Business News on Nov. 26.
Over 1,000 small business, civic and governmental leaders gathered at Vision Long Island’s annual Smart Growth Summit, with a robust agenda to strengthen our downtowns and rebuild the region’s infrastructure.
The summit continued to support the activity, benefits and strategic advantages of LI’s downtowns. The good news is there have been recent successes.
In Farmingdale, a long-stalled community-driven vision plan is moving forward with the approval of a mixed-use zoning code that will allow more housing to be built around Main Street, including apartments over stores. Bartone Plaza just broke ground and will build apartments and retail space at an old warehouse near the train station, as well as needed multifamily housing across the street.
Master planning efforts in Glen Cove, Hempstead, Huntington Station and Wyandanch are seeing approvals and progress also, while Westbury’s newest project, “The Space at Westbury,” has opened its doors, providing a downtown music venue that’s helping area retail and restaurants. This adds to the tremendous value arts have added to local business districts – theaters and music venues in Riverhead, Patchogue, Bay Shore and Huntington, among other places, point to these successes.
Emerging high-tech companies are looking to situate downtown. Launchpad Long Island in Mineola and tech incubators in Hicksville and Huntington demonstrate that trend. On the retail side, we’re seeing national chains start to look at downtown communities and some of Long Island existing independent retailers are recognized as unique destinations.
Infrastructure investment for our region’s key projects is well underway. Due to the Smart Growth Infrastructure Act and the work of regional councils, some of these resources are directed to our downtown areas. The most promising development is the $455 million investment in the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant – possibly the largest single infrastructure grant ever made on Long Island – to upgrade a failing facility that services hundreds of thousands of Nassau residents.
Transit investments for Long Island are continuing with East Side Access, the LIRR’s Double Track to Ronkonkoma and East End Scoot Service, and a major upgrade to the Hicksville train station coming online. Strengthening bus services in Nassau and expanding services in Suffolk are also underway.
Post-Sandy, New York State has created the Community Reconstruction Program that is involving thousands of South Shore residents and business owners in planning efforts to strengthen their communities through infrastructure investments. This process is fueled by federal Sandy aid that will help implement a slew of community-driven infrastructure projects to help weather the next storm.
The picture is not all rosy. Challenges ahead include private financing, health department regulations, pockets of bureaucratic resistance and getting our fair share of public resources from our state and federal governments. In addition, not all Long Island communities want to change their character and associated density. Strategically identifying the communities that are looking to adapt versus the ones that aren’t, along with having a flexible approach that involves listening to constituents and assisting projects as per local needs, will be key moving forward.
In the end, any change on Long Island is driven by the will of the people and the market. Thankfully, the citizen and small-business movements that have been working to create great places on Long Island are driven by local communities and municipalities.
Toward that end, this year we have added support from local school districts, young people, seniors and minority-based small business. Over 250 community and regional plans have been underway for years, shaping many of these changes with broad-based public input.
Small businesses, parks, events, arts, culture and many religious and community gatherings center around our downtowns. There are thousands of Long Islanders actively making positive changes to these great places. These are the folks working now to organize events, open shops, beautify the local streets, renovate and redevelop buildings and improve public safety.
In short, folks are doing their jobs. Let’s learn and support each other to address the ongoing challenges and strengthen our communities.
The YMCA Boulton Center
37 West Main Street, Bay Shore
Ellen Ivers: An Nollaig "An Irish Christmas" - Friday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m.
A Rockapella Christmas - Saturday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here
Cold Spring Harbor
The John W. Engeman Theater
250 Main Street, Northport
Irving Berlin's White Christmas - Friday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.
Frosty - Saturday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15 at 10:30 a.m.
Tickets and more information available here
9 Railroad Avenue, Patchogue
Rubix Kube - Friday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m.
GSB Beer Dinner - Saturday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.
Saturday Night Dance Party - Saturday, Dec. 14 at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here