Please join us for the 2013 Smart Growth Awards!
Friday, June 14th, 2013
11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
The Huntington Hilton
For over a decade, Vision Long Island has been honoring the individuals and organizations that display true Smart Growth leadershipin advancing projects, policies, regulations and initiatives. Specific focus areas include mixed-use development, affordable housing, environmental health and safety, open space and historic preservation, traffic calming and pedestrian safety, transportation enhancements,clean energy, downtown revitalization and/or community-based planning.
Award recipients stand out in their ability to demonstrate one or more of these basic principles:
- Mix land uses
- Strengthen existing communities and achieve more balanced regional development
Vision is proud to announce this year's Honorees:
Vision is pleased to announce our newest honoree for Regional Leadership Congressman Peter King for his successful work against the odds in delivering the Sandy Relief Act this year and the Federal Transportation bill last year. We will be honoring him and an excellent group of LI leaders and projects.
United States Representative Peter King
Superstorm Sandy Cleanup and Rebuilding Volunteers
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Nassau County to seek federal aid to repair East Rockaway sewage plant
This week, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced that he would be seeking a portion of the $30 billion superstorm Sandy federal relief package, roughly $500 million in order to build an outfall pipe to transport treated sewage from Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Atlantic Ocean.
The announcement was made at the East Rockaway sewage plant where local residents wore gas masks and hazardous material suits in order to stress the odors that have lingered in the area since the storm hit in October.
“We are in a fragile state,” Mangano said. “We want to move as quickly as possible to begin the reconstruction and mitigation phases.”
In order to improve the plant’s electrical power supply and distribution system, odor control, and other issues in the plant operations, the County will also need an estimated $740 million of the federal aid. However, neither the state or the federal government can give a firm commitment on whether or not they can provide the funding for the plant repairs, said Mangano.
Executive Director of the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Adrienne Esposito, expressed her support for Mangano’s initiative to find funding for the plant repairs. On discussing the need for the services the plant provides, she said, “they are a basic human necessity, they are not a luxury item.”
The plant was shut down during the storm for a few days after the storm due to a large surge of saltwater which entered the facility, affecting over 500,000 residents in the area. A month after the storm, the plant was releasing about 65 million gallons of untreated sewage in the Reynolds Channel. The clean up took over 40 days to restore operations. Officials and environmental groups say the outflow pipe would prevent such a recurrences from happening.
For further reading, please visit Newsday.
Route 347 road project continues this month
Officials say that a reconstruction project in Port Jefferson Station, estimated at $25 million, will help improve safety at one of the busiest intersections in the Town of Brookhaven, routes 347 and 112.
The project is slated to start this month. It was announced on Friday by Governor Andrew Cuomo that the project, put forth by the New York State Department of Transportation, is one of three reconstruction projects series along Route 347.
The project, scheduled to be finished in 2015, will include several improvements such as a jug handle for left turns to reduce travel delays, fuel use and vehicle emissions, a new park to make the area appealing and a travel lane. In an effort to provide safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, Route 347 will be transformed into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles through the towns of Smithtown, Islip, and Brookhaven.
"This is one of the most heavily traveled roads in Brookhaven. It's been a congestion nightmare. Anything we can do to improve traffic flow and green space is good," Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said Sunday afternoon.
Improved drainage to aid roadway stormwater runoff, landscaping, tree plantings, new traffic and pedestrian signals and high-visibility pedestrian crosswalks are a few other feature that will be included in the project.
"Ensuring driver safety and improving this intersection will benefit both commuters; their communities," Cuomo said in a statement. "The new New York is committed to prioritizing stronger and smarter infrastructure projects that create jobs."
In a recent statement, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "this project is a win-win-win, which will improve traffic flow, create jobs and offer new amenities to the community.”
Vision Long Island worked to advance the long-stalled Greenway project, Executive Director Eric Alexander noted that, "We are glad to see the large number of jobs that this design creates as well as the amenities in the plan. The continued funding of this project and other improved roadways can transform the safety, aesthetics and the economics of our communities."
Proposed redevelopment plans for Island Park
Posillico Development, LLC, a Farmingdale-based developer, has plans to construct a 172 unit condominium in Island Park, specifically on Harbor Isle. The proposed site for this development is an 11-acre brownfield that was once used for oil storage. It is part of the New York State Brownfield program, which was created to clean abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities and toxic waste sites.
Two weeks before Hurricane Sandy hit, causing severe damage to the area, Posillico and Virginia-based Avalon Bay signed a deal which allotted Avalon 140 rental apartment units and Posillico a portion of the property on the water to build 32 condos. Glenn J. Ingoglia, President of Island Park Chamber of Commerce, notes that this structure will be able to satisfy the abundance of higher-income families whose homes were wrecked by Hurricane Sandy.
"The influx of people in the area earning high incomes could not come at a better time in the aftermath of Storm Sandy, when Island Park has lost a significant number of residents, not to mention these residents will offer a much-needed boost to our business community,” Ingoglia said.
Janet McEntee, a local of the corresponding area believes that this housing development will benefit businesses in Island Park, with a greater number of high-income families moving in.
"Island Park is in trouble," village resident Janet McEntee, 46, said at the meeting of about 150 people. "We have this wonderful opportunity...the stores are empty. There is no one here."
There are a few concerns over the $90 million project. Some worry it will accommodate fewer tenants than it is designed for, that a large portion of money is being invested in something that will not work. Others simply do not want to live near such a large scale development, for fear it may increase traffic congestion and disrupt the life quality for current residents.
“This project is good news for a community that was devastated by the storm,” he added. We have to work swiftly and have confidence that we will be able to move ahead," said Posillico.
Vision Long Island attended the recent community meeting where this new design was presented and spoke in support.
Freeport ribbon-cutting ceremony held to mark the reopening of the Nautical Mile
On Monday, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held in Freeport in to celebrate the reopening of the Nautical Mile. National Grid, who hosted the event, presented a total of $1.3 million to local businesses at Freeport’s Nautical Mile, helping 45 business owners rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. National Grid was joined by Mayor Robert Kennedy, Councilwoman Angie Cullin, (behind Angie) President of the Chamber of Commerce Charles Hirschberg, Leg. Dave Denenberg, President of National Grid Ken Daly, Director of Community and Customer at National Grid Mike Ruiz, and Freeport business owners.
Superstorm Sandy left the Nautical Mile, a popular summer spot on Long Island, completely submerged, causing local businesses to close down for months in order to clean up and repair the damages. In response, National Grid has committed $1.3 million in grants to the business community of Freeport. Local officials were in attendance to accept the money which will go towards helping the 45 businesses on the mile rebuild and open for the summer season.
In a continuing effort to assist in the revitalization, National Grid to date has awarded $4.2 Million to New York businesses.
“After seven months of rebuilding and National Grid’s help, this community has beaten Mother Nature,” said Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy. “It’s the nucleus of the village, I mean everybody knows the Nautical Mile and I believe that the property sales, the businesses, everything revolves around the Nautical Mile.”
Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander noted, "While it has taken some levels of government, insurance companies and not for profits months to distribute resources to hard hit communities it is impressive to see these grants benefit businesses directly with minimal delay."
Nassau County legislator Dave Denenberg said, “there’s no better place to be in the world then on the south shore of Long Island in the summer and it starts right here on the Nautical Mile...the south shore is back and it’s back for summer 2013.”
There are still several restaurants and businesses in the community that have yet to open since the storm hit in October, local officials say that the it is possible that a portion of these businesses may not be able to reopen again due to severe storm damage. However, there is still hope that the businesses in the community will be open in time for Memorial Day.
For further reading, please visit Fios1 News or CBS Local.
Friends of Long Island meet with FEMA
Last month communities from all over Long Island representing some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy came together to form Friends of Long Island. Since then, Friends of Long Island have become a unified voice speaking on some of the on the ground challenges communities are facing. As a result, the group identified the need to get a better understanding of FEMA ‘s role in disaster recovery.
On May 9th, the Friends of Long Island meet with FEMA representatives from various divisions representing their communities. The community groups were able to direct their questions to FEMA representatives about some of these challenges and how to move forward. FEMA spoke to what their role has been since the storm and how it will continue going forward noting that their involvement is not just for now but for 10 years from now also. They discussed the disaster case management, voluntary agency liaisons, the FEMA sequence of delivery for assistance, and the need for long term recovery and resiliency planning.
Friends of Long Island also welcomed to the group Sandy Support, Massapequa Style, Adopt a House, Island Park Chamber of Commerce to the group.
With a goal to get at least 50-100 more Long Islanders back in their homes, the Friends of Long Island group has embarked on a fundraising campaign to initially raise $500,000 for building materials and labor. All donations will go directly to these communities to aide in recovery efforts. If you would like to support the relief efforts, you can send your donations to:
Vision Long Island Sandy Relief
24 Woodbine Ave
Northport, NY 11768
The Long Island Business Council holds worksession with Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice
On Thursday May 9th, the Long Island Business Council held their most recent worksession with over 120 participants including featured speakers included Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead Kate Murray, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, along with additional remarks from Jed Morey of the Long Island Press. The speakers, though experts in three different fields, discussed how their work affects small businesses in communities all over the island.
Supervisor Murray provided some insight on the redevelop project for the Nassau Coliseum and the properties surrounding it and gave an overview of the development zone adopted by the town, the Mitchel Field Mixed Use (MFM) District Alternative, a key factor which would allow the project to move quicker and more efficiently.
“It is the largest piece of property in the area and an opportunity to create a great project...[and] a zone that is sustainable and economically viable.”
She discussed the importance of the site for both the Town and the County, which will provide for a significant amount of development density. It would also allow much needed and realistic roadway improvements, including “complete streets” with integrated bike lanes and walkways, which would complement a renovated coliseum in a new, vibrant mixed use development.
The property has many different permitted uses including hotel/conference centers, offices, retail stores, restaurants, research and educational facilities, non-commercial park and recreational spaces, mixed use housing, and parking/public transportation facilities. “With the zone in place, we have absolutely streamlined the process. The property is flexible and feel that there will be very little tweaking to be done.” She was happy and impressed with some of the developers and their proposals and acknowledged their quality and innovative work, “we want to provide assistance and be a partner in this scenario,” she said.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice pointed out that while a group of business leaders is not her usual crowd, safety in communities is an important factor for maintaining a strong business. She discussed the challenges she faced in streamlining a department that had for so long used traditional and often ineffective methods of public safety.
“It needed to be more proactive with a comprehensive vision. [The department] should be part of the community; its various civic groups, businesses, leaders, and places of faith...we went from being an island to a community,” Rice said adding that only standing on the frontlines and reaching out to the community for help is the first step in stopping crime.
The DA can play an important role in helping businesses in both the private and public sectors, Rice said. She discussed the links between safety and the economic viability of a community, highlighting that safe communities are economically secure communities, that people who are employed are rarely people who resort to crime, and that maintained public infrastructure are not only financially, desirable but they are “kryptonite for crime.”
Finally, she closed out by stressing the importance of ethical leadership and supporting healthy competition, not places who play by their own rules or cheat the system, is one step in that direction. Public and government officials, business owners, and community leaders should abide by a moral code in order to protect the people in their communities and help their businesses grow.
“Long Island is a unique physical and cultural place, it must grow and evolve from the provincial concepts. We need mixed use planning, green space and downtown transportation hubs. If we don’t evolve and let go of outdated suburban visions, we will continue to be the island of the forgotten. We all live here. When we move forward, our exploited neighborhoods will receive the business and investments they deserve.”
In the final remarks, Jed Morey spoke about the business of journalism and how economic growth and healthy businesses are important to journalism. “We didn’t have to wait until the financial crisis to know how important businesses are to our business,” Morey said, adding that his business relies on advertisements, especially because it is a free service which is delivered in print and can be found online, but that drops when businesses can’t afford to pay for it anymore, “we’re nervous when we see cutbacks and consolidations of newsrooms” he said.
He also discussed the matter of public trust in the info that they provide and how the media can affects the lives of the people in Long Island communities. “Great writing is key,” Morey said, “you need a tough and vibrant media, to hold public officials accountable...we challenge people to do better.”
“We need to be speaking about issues collectively. We have very bright and enthusiastic and engaged community members and there is a spirit of collaboration that is happening on this island,” Morey said.
You can read more on this meeting at Newsday.
Pictured (L-R): Bob Fonti - Long Island Business Council, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Rich Bivone - Long Island Business Council, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Eric Alexander - Vision Long Island
Pictured (L-R): Peter Florey - D&F Development, Dr. Elana Zolfo - Dowling College, Steven Rosetti - Suffolk County IDA, Dennis Grossman - DMI Group, Steve Schwimmer - Renaissance Merchant Services, Delores Rome - East Meadow Chamber of Commerce
Pictured (L-R): Bill Bonnesso - Forchelli Curto Deegan, Howard Avrutine - Avrutine and Associates, Warren Tackenberg - Nassau County Village Officials Association, Irwin Krasnow - Area Real Estate, Eric Weinstock - CA Rich, Linda Bianculli - Town of Oyster Bay, Dr. Nathalia Rogers - Dowling College
Pictured (L-R): Craig Rizzo - NuHealth, Rich Bivone - Long Island Business Council, Mike Deery - Town of Hempstead, Sal Ferrarra - Electrical Training Center, Sanford Berland - Huntington Town Democratic Committee, Huntington Town Councilwoman Susan Berland
Pictured (L-R): Vita Scaturra - Community National Bank, Scott Martella - Office of NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, Jeannine Maynard - Uniondale Community Council, Cory Bearak - Queens Chamber of Commerce, Luis Vazquez - Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Pictured (L-R): Bill Patterson - Town of Hempstead, Zahid Syed - Town of Hempstead, Henry Holley, Steve Schwimmer - Renaissance Merchant Services, Mayer Horn - Greenman-Pederson, Inc, Herb Flores - Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs
Sunday bus service bill passed in the Suffolk County Legislature
As of Tuesday evening, the Sunday bus service bill was passed unanimously by the Suffolk County Legislature. The bill, a result of a compromise between Legislator Jay Schneiderman of Montauk and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, is a major victory for Suffolk bus riders because it will create a better, more reliable service for those who depend on public transportation, especially for work, and bolster the County’s economy.
“This resolution is a step forward to expand bus service while cutting our deficit,” Bellone said. “Expanding bus service helps take cars off the road and provides opportunity and access for thousands of Suffolk County residents. I commend Legislator Schneiderman for his continued leadership to make Sunday bus service a reality in Suffolk County and working alongside me to expand service and provide deficit relief. I also want to thank our state delegation for their hard work to get Suffolk County’s transit aid increased by approximately $2 million.”
The bill is an amended resolution that directs $1.1 million in unanticipated State Transportation Operating Assistance, which was included in the 2013-2014 New York State budget, that will be used to expand the Sunday bus service for the Suffolk County Transit. The resolution also calls on the Suffolk County Department of Public Works (DPW) to apply for $1 million in federal Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) funding. Word on whether or not the application was accepted will be expected in June.
The additional service will be implemented as a one-year pilot period, after which a report will be created on the feasability of continuing it. The new service is an extension of the pilot program implemented two years ago that allowed for Sunday bus service between Memorial Day and Columbus Day on two East End routes. That service was subsidized by a 25 cent fare increase on those ride.
“We are building upon the successful pilot program for Sunday bus service we launched two years ago on the East End,” said Legislator Schneiderman. “Sunday is a busy day for retail and service-oriented businesses. Employees need to get to work and employers need a workforce they can depend on.”
The bill was co-sponsored by Legislator Al Krupski of Cutchogue, who noted that, “Many businesses on the East End, including in my North Fork legislative district, rely on public transportation to get workers to their jobs, especially during the summer season.”
This bill will help improve the lives of students, workers and community members that do not own a car and will have the opportunity to take advantage of one more day of public transportation. Expanding bus service could also help take cars off the road and provides opportunity and access for thousands of Suffolk County residents.
The passage of the bill is the result of the work of many organizations including: Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vision Long Island, Legislator Jay Schneiderman, and the Welfare the Work Commission of the Suffolk County Legislature. It is also due to the hard work of the Bus Riders' Union, Ana Giraldo, and Richard Koubek, the community outreach coordinator, for their tireless advocacy.
Vision Long Island supports the passage of this bill and applauds the County government for helping to expand service for those who need it.
“Source the Station” revitalization plan receives praise from the community
This past Tuesday, the residents of Huntington Station were revealed the latest revitalization plans, a presentation which took place at Town Hall, to turn the area into a vibrant, downtown with restaurants, shops, and live entertainment.
The Huntington Station Development Strategy was presented by Renaissance Downtowns, the master developer behind the plan. The presentation was followed by a brief question and answer session and though the residents had plenty of inquiries regarding issues such as parking, long term plans, vacant stores, and an estimation on when the plan would be completed, the plan received positive reviews. Many even showed up in their “Source the Station” t-shirts.
"I wanted to hear what they had to say and offer some ideas of my own," Tom D'Ambrosio said. "I like what I heard."
"Just imagine what this could be," Huntington Station resident Kimberly Hawkins said. "It's going to be an energetic, vibrant downtown that will boost up the area's economy."
The master developer's Source the Station website was one of the factors that helped garner community support, with roughly 800 members in total. If you go to the website, it asks its members to propose and vote on suggestions to revitalize the neighborhood. Voter submitted ideas included bookshops, restaurants and cafes, and retail center near the LIRR stop, and some food stands.
"We are taking a very collaborative approach," said Ryan Porter, vice president for planning and development for Renaissance Downtowns. "This is an ongoing iterative process with the residents, the town and other stakeholders."
There is, unfortunately, mistrust among the business owners and residents in the area in the government and the developers. The promise of revitalization has been made before, but none were followed through. Porter acknowledged these issues and ensured the public that his team will work hard to put these plans in motion.
Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said he is impressed with Renaissance and its process of engaging the community and the product that effort produced. "But more important than the product, is the comments from people in the community," he said. "Many that you have never seen before, they are not the regulars or the soapbox stars."
The reviews are in: New roundabouts in Huntington are a hit!
Drivers in Huntington may have noticed a couple of recent additions just north of the village on New York Avenue. The town has installed two brand new roundabouts in order to improve flow of traffic through what had been a couple of real bottlenecks along the heavily travelled road. As a follow up the local Huntington Patch recently asked residents what they thought of the new new circular additions and, for the most part, the comments have been very positive.
Here are a few select comments:
Babaloo stated, "The traffic circles on NY Ave work better than I ever imagined. The day they removed the traffic lights and opened the circles, traffic flowed with virtually no wait. A few people are a bit timid, but in time, they will get the hang of it. Sorry it wasn't done years ago. Nice job..."
Patch user Rachel noted, "YES they are perfect! I used to have to wait at that light for over 10 minutes if someone wasn't paying attention and now there is ZERO wait time. It is fantastic, I wonder why it wasn't done sooner!"
L P said, "I had my doubts, but I LOVE them No idea why the NY Ave pair work so well, and the Gerard street one is always the scene of conflict I think TOH should maybe have instructional signs of some sort Roundabaouts are relatively unusual here."
Regina Della Penna chimed in, "Absolutely think they are the best thing to happen to driving! Shaves at least 5 minutes off my commute! We need one at the intersection of Washington/Mill Dam/Lone Oak/Fleets Cove."
Jim R. also had a positve review, "Love them, they are fantastic. But I agree that people need to realize that you have to YIELD to the traffic in the circle. In addition, when in the circle, do not stop to allow cars to enter."
Seems as though residents are starting to the get the hang of driving in roundabouts! Vision is happy to see these improvements in place and is proud to have fought for the creation of Huntington's original roundabout on Gerard Street right outside the Huntington Post Office.
Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander noted that this is "Good news for the walkability and efficiency of our roadways. The Roundabouts in Huntington on NY Ave. are up and the early reviews are positive. Of course there are many other Roundabouts around our region in Patchogue, Middle Island, Huntington and Great Neck."
To join the conversation head on over to the Huntington Patch.
Robin Hood Foundation profiled on 60 Minutes
Robin Hood Foundation’s executive director David Saltzman and co-founder Paul Tudor Jones were featured on last week’s broadcast of 60 Minutes, which highlighted some of foundation’s grantees and their incredible work and provided viewers to take a closer look at their approach to combating the issue of poverty.
The Robin Hood Foundation is a charity which finds, funds, and partners with various programs that demonstrate they are an effective remedy to poverty. All proceeds and donations go directly to helping New Yorkers in need rebuild better lives.
Among the topics discussed was their successful 12-12-12 benefit concert at Madison Square Garden. The concert raised $50 million to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The event was organized within a matter of weeks and featured some of the biggest acts in history, such as Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen.
You can watch the full story in its entirety on CBS News. You can also find additional reporting on 60 Minutes Overtime.
Federal Government to make funds available for Sewage Plant upgrades
The federal government announced last Thursday that it will begin distributing funds to local areas in the form of loans and grants administered through the EPA and aimed at repairing and strengthening sewage plants with New York slated to receive approximately $340 million. The plan comes as a result of the estimated 11 billion gallons of raw sewage that flooded waterways and streets across the northern East Coast during Superstorm Sandy.
Long Island was included in that total with the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant on Nassaus's South Shore knocked out of service for over 40 hours with a result of around 100 million gallons of untreated sewage flowing into Hewlett Bay. The plant was not returned to full operations for 44 days, causing approximately 2 billion gallons of partially treated sewage to flow through the plant.
The Bay Park plant will apply for a grant through New York State's Revolving Funds Program according to a spokesman for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Mangano also released a statement saying, "We are presently working with a federal-state-county team that will clearly compete for those dollars to help mitigate our sewage treatment plants, implement clean water projects and help clean debris from our waterways."
A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stated that they are working with New York State to identify eligible projects for funding including installation of flood walls, watertight doors, backup generators, and relocation of electricalt systems or even whole treatment facilities.
Not everyone thinks so highly of the plan however, according to Angela Anderson, director of the Climate Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Citizens, equating it to a band-aid. "Handing out grants on a piecemeal approach is not the long-term answer,"she said, "The federal government needs a nationwide plan to provide funds to all coastal communities, not just the ones hit hard by Sandy, to adapt to the changes global warming is bringing."
Vision Long Island welcomes the influx of funding to help strengthen local infrastructure in a manner that will prevent spills such as the one that occured at Bay Park.
Complete Streets Summit pulls together residents and businesses to design safer roads; NYMTC announces $15 million pedestrian safety fund
On Thursday, April 11th at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale, Vision Long Island, Wendel Companies and Tri-State Transportation Campaign hosted LI's first Complete Streets Summit cosponsored by AARP and Greenman-Pedersen Inc.
Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander, Ryan Lynch of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Will Stoner of AARP informed the participants why a summit such as this was necessary including reasons like New York State is the fourth most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians over 65. Long Island, like much of the country, has struggled to overcome the notion that streets are only for cars. Complete Streets are about people's lives and safety.
Ryan Lynch of Tri-State Transportation gave an update on their annual report on the most dangerous roads in the region. Long Island is home to many of these most dangerous road. Long Island has over 1000 AARP members that are over the age of 100 and 8-10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day. Complete Streets allow people to age in place with increased mobility and independence since most people can walk longer than they can drive.
The event also featured Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco who co-sponsored the Complete Streets legislation for Suffolk County. Delia De Riggi-Whitton, Nassau County legislator also spoke and reached out to Calarco for advice on how to pass a Complete Streets law for Nassau County.
The keynote speaker, Mike Lydon from Street Works Collaborative, gave a presentation showing how many citizens have created walkable places and Complete Streets themselves. Many of the examples were low cost, temporary solutions to help give both residents and government officials a better understanding of the potential of a place and to work out any problems before any significant investment is made. Making significant changes to a roadway can be an expensive proposition and many municipalities may be reluctant to make changes without being able to see the impacts firsthand.
The next group of speakers were design professionals who have experience designing and installing complete streets locally and around the region. Each of the panelists covered different ways Long Island can incorporate complete streets through varying strategies.
Dean Gowen of Wendel, spoke about various components that make up a complete street, from the streetlamps to the underground infrastructure. Elements such as rain gardens and engineered soil help to manage storm water effectively and to prevent street trees from heaving the sidewalk as their roots grow. Improved streetscaping helps to spur private investment in the surrounding
properties which improves the vitality of the area. Linda Bailey of NYCDOT showed many examples of improvements that have been made in the city to improve pedestrian and bike infrastructure from the pedestrian Broadway in Times Square to shorter crossings at intersections in the Bronx. Several smaller, lower cost modifications such as pedestrian islands can make large improvements in the safety of the area.
Bill Tuyn of Greenman-Pedersen spoke more broadly about how the quality of public spaces such as streets, sidewalks and plazas can improve the quality of life for residents. Bob Eschbacher of VHB showed several local examples of built and proposed improvements for road on both Long Island and the surrounding region. Sandi Vega, whose daughter Brittney was killed while crossing Sunrise Highway spoke about the need for safer streets for our communities. She gave examples of initiatives that are happening in her communities as a result of her efforts. Lavena Sipes whose daughter Courtney was lost on Smithtown's Main Street spoke about the campaign to create improvements from NYS DOT.
The last group of speakers were elected officials and municipal planners who spoke about complete streets from a municipal point of view. the Hon. Jean Celender, Mayor of Great Neck Plaza presented several roadway improvements on the Great Neck peninsula
from a larger road diet project to smaller intersection improvements that made a big impact for a low cost.
Connie Kepert, Councilwoman for the Town of Brookhaven gave examples of complete street implementations in the Town of Brookhaven which included sidewalks in various communities and the Whiskey Rd. traffic circle. Michael Levine, Planning Commissioner for the Town of North Hempstead showed the recent improvements to Prospect Avenue in New Cassel but cautioned that other aspects, such as education of pedestrians is also important for the safety of roadways- design alone cannot solve all of the problems.
Dave Genaway, Planning Commissioner for the Town of Islip spoke about ways to get private investment to help finance improvements. Developers are often required to install sidewalks in new developments. In certain cases where the surrounding neighborhood may not have sidewalks and adding new ones just in front of a few houses may not make sense, developers can pay an equivalent amount into a fund that is used to make sidewalk improvements in other parts of the town where they may be needed
One of the lost most exciting parts of the day was Larry McAuliffe from NYMTC announcing a $15 million fund for pedestrian safety amenities. Please also see the announcement for the Transportation Enhancement program from NYS DOT. To access information NYMTC recommended information from NYSMPOS.org on Complete Streets click here.
New Proposals submitted for rebuilding the Nassau Coliseum
Photo Credit: SHoP Architects
Photo Credit: SHoP Architects
At a meeting of the Nassau Business Advisory Council this past Thursday, four seperate developers submitted proposals to revive the aging Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale into a top tier arena capable of generating millions in revenue by attracting big name concert and sporting events. The 17 person panel is comprised of local business leaders who will be advising County Executive Ed Mangano on selecting a developer. The site will also feature development by Master Developer of the Nassau Hub project, Donald Monti of Renaissance Downtowns.
The developers presenting to the panel included Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner, the Madison Square Garden Company, Edward Blumenfeld based out of Syosset, and Bayville's New York Sports LLC. The RFP was issued by County Executive Mangano earlier this year and will require final approval of any contract by the legislature.
Mangano had previously requested an anlasys of long-term uses by Mr. Ratner, who had suggested a smaller, more family-friendy venue capable of hosting minor league sports, children's shows and concerts. The various proposals from Thursday all included entertainment venues, convention center space, areas for restaurants and bars, retail space, a bowling alley, and an outdoor amphitheater.
All of the developers also noted that the financing would be privately funded with costs ranging from $60 million to $250 million. The proposals would also provide the County with a portion of generated revenus, but the firms were all asked not to publicly discuss the proposed percentage the County would receive.
The proposals began with Mr. Ratner, Executive Chairman of the development company Forest City Ratner, proposing a $229 million project for a mixed sports and entertainment complext. The proposal included a 13,000 seat arena that could be changed to 4,000 for smaller shows. Next to the arena would be a 2,000 seat concert venue and club, a 2,5000 seat outdoor amphitheater, up to six restaurants, a movie theater and generous retail space. The proposal would also place a monument to Long Island veterans on the southeaster section of the property.
"We must reinvent and reimagine brand Nassau," said Barclays Center chief exectuive Brett Yormark in relation to the proposal.
Ratner also pledged to work with Charled Wang, the owner of the adjacent Long Island Marriott, to transform the exhibition hall below the arena into a convention space. The project will also include 309 events per year including six regular-seasion Islanders games, a Brooklyn Nets preseasion game and 83 outdoor events. Ratner also expressed confidence that a minor league hocker team would relocate to the arena.
Hip-hop superstar Jay-Z, who's Roc Nation entertainment company would play a hand in drawing top acts and is also associated with the project, was also on hand for the presentation but did not speak.
The project is estimated to generate almost $11 billion in economic activity for up to 30 years and will genetate over 1,300 construction jobs and more than 2,500 permanent and seasonal positions accorind to Ratner spokeswoman Ashley Cotton. The plan will also include 5,000 parking spots as opposed to the 6,800 currently in place and will leave 10 acres available for development by Renaissance Downtowns.
Madison Square Garden Company, partnering with Cordish Companies and RXR Realty, also laid out a proposal, pledging $250 million to renovate a 14,500 seat arena as well as a mixed-use entertainment complex, similar to the "Power Plant Live!" venue in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, that would be directly adjacent to the Coliseum and operate year-round.
Hank Ratner, MSG's president and CEO, noted that he believed that anything less than 14,500 seats would simply not attract top-tier concert acts, but that a flexible seating design could allow for as few as 1,700 seats for more intimate shows. "We believe we can bring a heroic ending to this story as well as usher in a historic new beginning of sports and entertainment on Long Island," Ratner said.
MSG also noted that at least one of its sports franchises - NY Ranger's minor league affilaite the Connecticut Whalem, WNBA's NY Liberty, or Knicks' D-League team the Erie Bayhawks - would play at the Coliseum. They also said that the Knicks and Rangers could hold open practices at the Coliseum and the the arena could play host to college basketball, professional tennis and wrestling, figure skating and track and field events.
The mixed-use complex would be called "Long Island Live!" and would be built in conjunction with Baltimore-based Cordish Companies. The complex would feature restaurants, sports bars, a bowling ally and a billiards hall as well as an "MSG Zone" that would have additional bars and restaurants as well as a studio for broadcasts and Garden memorabilia. It will also feature up to 180 events each year in addition to 150 free concerts, events and festivals.
The complex is estimated to generate $11 billion in economic activity over 30 years with more than $300 million in sales and entertainment taxes, 1,200 contruction jobs and 2,500 permanent and seasonal positions.
The proposals also included Bernard Shereck's Bayville-based company New York Sports LLC, who would spend $90 million to refurbish the Coliseum with no changes to the exterior. The downsized arena would feature 8 to 10 thousand seats, reduce parking to 3,600 spots and would attempt to bring in a minor league hockey team and a professional Lacrosse team. Shereck noted the development would generate between 10 and 20 million dollars in annual revenue.
Blumenfeld Development Group and existing Coliseum operator SMG also presented a proposal to spend $180 million in order to tear down the existing Coliseum and build a brand new 9 to 12 thousand seat arena. The site would also include a 100,000 square foot convention center, retail space, restaurants, office space and apartments. The group also pledged to purchase an AHL team in order to move them to the new arena and that they would recruit Big 10 college basketball and hockey teams to play. This plan was estimated to generate betwen 10 and 20 million dollars in annual sales tax revenue for the county.
Vision is hopeful that the refurbishment of the Nassau Coliseum combined with the plann from Renaissance Downtowns on the surrounding acresbrings life to central Nassau County.
For more information on the proposals and the site please check out and the media book for the Forest City Ratner Proposal here.
Huntington Station Development Strategy document now available for public viewing
The Development Strategy document, prepared by Renaissance Downtowns in partnership with the Town of Huntington, the Huntington Economic Development Corporation, property and business owners, and the Huntington Station Community, has been completed and is ready for public viewing. This document outlines the strategies that Renaissance Downtowns would like to take in continuing to revitalize downtown Huntington Station.
Some of the goals outlined in this document include ensuring economic redevelopment efforts at Huntington Station that will both complement and support businesses in the the village, creating regional, vibrant destination through diverse uses of the space (a live, work, shop, learn, play setting), creating economic value, jobs, and careers opportunities for residents, and provide an avenue for private-public partnerships and foster the redevelopment of underutilized assets for the benefit of the community.
The hopes is that it will provide quality development and commercial revitalization to the community of the Downtown Huntington Station. The final product will look like a downtown development, which includes commercial, retail, residential, office, hospitality, parks, open space, cultural and civic uses.If you would like to download, view, or learn more about the document, please visit the Source the Station website. You can also read more on this at .
Walkable communities may decrease chances of adolescent obesity
As of recent, neighborhood design features have been associated with health outcomes and according to a new study, that includes the prevalence of obesity. The study called “Bridging the Gap” published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine examines the link between walkability and adolescent obesity, weight, and health issues in a national sample of public secondary school students and their communities.
Physical activity plays an important role in fighting obesity and overweight. The physical environment of communities can significantly impact physical activity and, therefore, health outcomes.
The study finds that the chances of adolescent obesity or overweight youth are decreased when living in communities that have higher walkability index scores. Data collection included student surveys and community observations between February and August 2010. Analyses were then conducted in Spring 2012 using a sample size of 154 communities and 11,041 students. A community walkability index and measures of the prevalence of adolescent overweight and obesity were constructed. Multivariable analyses from a cross-sectional survey of a nationally representative sample of 8th-, 10th- and 12th-grade public school students in the U.S. were run.
Some of the key findings include that the average prevalence of adolescent overweight and obesity was 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively, the mean walkability index across communities was 6.38, and that key street features associated with reduced prevalence of obesity included increased presence of sidewalks and public transit.
The study has a few listed limitations such as missing information of student home addresses, no direct evaluation of the association of the walkability index with physical activity, and potential understatement of weight. Nonetheless, these results can inform policy debates and discussion around government funding of infrastructure in communities.
For further reading or to view the report, please visit the American Journal of Preventative Medicine website.
Schumer calls on Department of Housing and Urban Development to increase Fair Market Rent for victims of Superstorm Sandy
Last week, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to increase the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for Superstorm Sandy victims on Long Island. Since the storm, rental and housing stock has been reduced and in turn has been driving up the rent.
HUD provides subsidies for those in need of housing. In previous disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, HUD responded to the regions of New Orleans and Baton Rouge by increasing FMR. In both Nassau and Suffolk County, the FMR was reduced despite the loss of housing stock on Long Island as a result of the storm and the subsidies currently provided by HUD are too low for the expensive housing market on the Island.
Eligible participants a certain percentage of their income towards rent, under Section 8 housing rules, HUD then pays the difference between what the renter can afford and the FMR. To determine the maximum amount of rent that can be covered by the government for individuals and families who are part of Section 8, HUD calculates the FMR for each geographic region. A major issue is the cost of housing in the area. Long Island is the fourth most expensive metropolitan area in the country and has the most expensive 2-bedroom housing market in New York State, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s annual housing study.
“In a part of the country where rental housing is so expensive, especially after Superstorm Sandy destroyed so much housing stock and cast thousands into an already tight rental market, HUD shouldn’t be reducing their support for those in need,” said Schumer. “In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, people across Long Island, including victims of domestic violence, the disabled and homeless veterans rely on this program to find decent housing, and HUD needs to make sure their needs are being met. New Yorkers pay far more in taxes than they get back, and the federal government shouldn’t be short changing New Yorkers in need.”
The reduction of FMR means that agencies and Section 8 housing programs will also be affected by reduced reimbursements, despite the increases in their clients’ rents. The reductions in the fiscal year of 2013-2014 total roughly $538,000 for the agencies’ housing programs and other services.
"Some agencies are considering reducing or closing down some of their permanent housing units because they can't afford the additional financial burden, and others are scrambling to find housing [with] these new fair-market rents," said Executive Director Greta Guarton of the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless.
Schumer asked for HUD to grant Long Island the same consideration as New Orleans and Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina by conducting the necessary examination to determine whether Long Island’s FMR should be increased. He explained that Superstorm Sandy’s devastation seriously impacted Long Island and some of the most vulnerable citizens are now being priced out of housing. For further reading, please visit .