Check out this week’s Smart Talk with infrastructure goals by Sen. Schumer, Hempstead ground breaking, and more….
December 11th – 17th, 2016
St. Joseph’s College
Since 1916, St. Joseph’s College has provided an affordable liberal arts education to a diverse group of students. Independent and coeducational, St. Joseph’s prepares students for lives of integrity, intellectual and spiritual values, social responsibility and service; lives that are worthy of the College’s motto, Esse non videri — “To be, not to seem.”
St. Joseph’s Long Island Campus challenges its approximately 3,300 students to develop their full potential and a joy of learning. With more than 400 faculty members, the College enjoys a student-to-faculty ratio that provides individual attention in an open, supportive atmosphere.
The Long Island Campus of St. Joseph’s is located in Patchogue at 155 West Roe Boulevard, directly off Sunrise Highway. Located on the South Shore of eastern Long Island, the Long Island Campus is just minutes from the Great South Bay, Long Island MacArthur Airport, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Orient Point and many of Long Island’s ocean beaches. New York City is just a short ride on the Long Island Rail Road.
“This effort will provide much-needed, high-paying construction and permanent jobs to our residents, expand our tax base, enhance public safety and restore pride to the Village of Hempstead. This has been a long journey, and I want to thank my team, the master developer and the people of the village for their ongoing support to reach this milestone.” – Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne Hall speaking on the recent downtown revitalization groundbreaking
“While this ceremony represents the fourth groundbreaking that my Company has been a part of this month, there is something truly special about today. This one really allows our Company to showcase the true value of socially, environmentally and economically responsible development – the Triple Bottom Line.” – Renaissance Downtowns Founder Don Monti speaking on the recent downtown revitalization groundbreaking in the Village of Hempstead
“I think we have a real potential to get things done. We need the federal government to do what it’s always done and step up to the plate. We need real expenditures, direct federal investments, not just tax gimmicks to get it done.” – U.S. Senator Chares Schumer speaking on the need for Infrastructure spending on Long Island
Hempstead Breaks Ground on $2.5 Billion Downtown Revitalization
After seven years of planning with the Village of Hempstead and Renaissance Downtowns, and decades of prior planning, a groundbreaking occurred for their downtown redevelopment. Over 300 local residents, small business owners and government officials witnessed a statement of support and momentum for the $2.5 Billion project that starts with 1000 units of mixed use housing and commercial space.
Sean McLean, Renaissance Project Manager MC’d the program starting with a prayer from Antioch Baptist Church Pastor and Nassau County Deputy County Executive Phillip Eliot. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who secured $20 million in sewer infrastructure dollars for the project addressed the crowd in full support.
The ceremony marked the start of demolition of 178 Main St., the former home of the Mack Markowitz Oldsmobile dealership, which will be the site of a new mixed-use project that will bring 96 workforce apartments and 5,500 square feet of restaurants and retail shops. This site is one of four that has received site-plan approval by the Village of Hempstead, headed by Renaissance Downtowns and RXR Realty. “It is the ideal location in which to create a modern, mixed-use destination, combining residential, retail, hospitality, cultural and office space,” Scott Rechler, RXR’s CEO said. “What we are in the process of creating will once again make Hempstead Nassau County’s downtown for the next generation and generations to come.” The entire downtown revitalization initiative is projected to create 12,000 construction jobs and 6,000 full-time jobs, generating tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue. More than $30 million in public infrastructure improvement have taken place in effort to transform Hempstead into a vibrant, mixed-use, walkable neighborhood. Renaissance Downtowns’ Don Monti said that at least a quarter of the jobs coming up will be dedicated to Village residents while discussing the passion he has to carry this vision out.
Village of Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall spoke of the ten years’ worth of planning this initiative took and the results that will bring back Hempstead to its prior place as the true HUB of Nassau County. “After nine years of debate, an extensive RFP process, countless public hearings, volumes of legal and engineering reports, complicated zoning revisions, lawsuits, appraisals and contract negotiations, today we are proud to break ground on the future of the Village of Hempstead and its new downtown,” Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall said in a written statement. “This effort will provide much-needed, high-paying construction and permanent jobs to our residents, expand our tax base, enhance public safety and restore pride to the Village of Hempstead. This has been a long journey, and I want to thank my team, the master developer and the people of the village for their ongoing support to reach this milestone.” Vision’s Director commented on the unity of all of the community overcoming regional naysayers who told them this project couldn’t get done. Rev. Benjamin spoke of the jobs that are in store for the community including the first contracts for demolition and security awarded to local firms.
The village sold 14 vacant parcels to Renaissance last year for $8 million because the mostly vacant parking lots were off the tax rolls. Renaissance plans to develop 17 properties and build 1,000 apartments as well as shops, restaurants, a hotel, a movie theater and parking during the next eight years. You can check out media coverage of the long-awaited groundbreaking in Long Island Business News and Newsday.
Five-Story Mixed Use Development Proposed in Downtown Riverhead
Downtown Riverhead is ready to host to another housing complex, with a plan to add a five-story, 170-unit apartment complex that would feature a mix of affordable and market-rate rentals.
After presenting to the Riverhead Town Landmarks Preservation Commission and Architectural Review Boards with mostly positive feedback, the developers hope to push the project ahead, and are currently under contract to purchase the former Sears property and three adjacent properties that were demolished earlier this year. The Sears building was built in 1949 and was one story. Tentatively called 203-213 East Main Street, the proposed building would be next to another building that is up and coming, which will have 117 units and a restaurant and retail space on the ground level. “These are the two most important developments in Riverhead,” said Gary Jacquemin, a member of both the Landmark’s Commission and the Architectural Review Board of those two proposals.
The 203-213 East Main Street development would feature a 120-space parking garage on the lower level, 4,000 square feet of retail, and three 60-foot wide green spaces between the buildings with a swimming pool for residents. Most recently, Riverhead has been host to two other complexes; the 52-unit Summerwind Square and the 19-unit Woolworth apartments, both of which are affordable rentals. Riverhead Township’s 2004 master plan calls for a cap of 500 new apartment units in the downtown, with this proposal giving the downtown a total of 403 units.
The project is expected to come back before the ARB and Landmarks commission at later dates. It will also need other approvals, such as site plan approval from the Town Board, before any work can start. You can read more about the proposal here.
Fire in Sag Harbor
This morning a fire broke out on Main Street in Sag Harbor Village that engulfed several buildings, including the iconic Sag Harbor Cinema.
The fire was spotted around 6:00 AM and was first reported on a deck for Sag Town Coffee before quickly spreading to nearby buildings. Flames continued to be reported at 7:30 AM, with local apartments being evacuated while firefighters worked in the frigid weather. Mayor Sandra Schroeder has declared a state of emergency for insurance purposes.
As of 10:30 AM the flames had mostly died down, but the water was creating icy conditions with slick roads and frost forming on firefighter’s coats. The community has been helping out by allowing firefighters to come into their businesses to warm up and bringing them hot food and drink. “That’s why we all live here,” the mayor noted.
“If anybody needs things, we’ll try to help them.” said Deputy Mayor Robby Stein, “I think this is times when communities come together.”
Thankfully, no injuries have been reported. Our deepest sympathies go out to those who have lost posessions or their place of business or both this morning.
This situation is still ongoing as of this writing. You can check for updates at the East Hampton Star’s website here.
Senator Schumer Pushes for Massive Infrastructure Spending to Help Long Island
Vision was out this week with US Senator Chuck Schumer at the Ronkonkoma Long Island Railroad Station, joining labor, the LIRR Commuters Council, and other organizations to support a large scale infrastructure bill. Numerous sewer, transit, roadway and other infrastructure projects have been planned with the support of municipal officials, local residents and small businesses.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, investing in infrastructure would positively impact the country, resulting in long-term economic growth and increasing GDP, employment, household income and exports. Schumer pledged to work with President-elect Donald Trump early next year to craft an infrastructure bill that he says will help modernize Long Island’s aging infrastructure. “I think we have a real potential to get things done,” Schumer said at the press conference. “We need the federal government to do what it’s always done and step up to the plate. We need real expenditures, direct federal investments, not just tax gimmicks to get it done.” The incoming Senate Minority leader said that he favored a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which is idea put on the table by the President-elect. Projects such as the LIRR second track, the East Side Access project to connect the LIRR to Grand Central Station and other projects were mentioned as examples of needed infrastructure improvements, as were wastewater treatment plants. The Senator said one of every four wastewater treatment plants in New York State is operating beyond its useful life, and that almost one-third of the state’s 22,000 miles of sewers are more than 60 years old.
Although ways to fund such a robust undertaking are unclear, Schumer is committed toward forging ahead. “Though the devil is in the details, it is clear that Long Island is ready, willing and able to make these repairs. We just need the funding to get the job done,” Schumer said.
“Local civics, chambers and municipal officials have been planning key infrastructure investments for many years to help grow our local economy,”said Vision Long Island director Erioc Alexander, “Resources for transit and sewer projects from Washington will help jump start downtown redevelopments, clean our waterways and provide transportation access to seniors, young people, families and small businesses. Kudos to Senator Schumer for continuing to work in a bi-partisan fashion to connect the needs of Long Island communities with Washington priorities.”
Public Meeting Held for Nicolls Road Bus Rapid Transit Project
Suffolk County held a public informational meeting this week at Suffolk Community College in Selden regarding the proposed Nicolls Road Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System. The preliminary plans
Bus Rapid Transit is an innovative public transportation solution offering many of the advantages of a light-rail system but at a fraction of the cost; both for the passenger and to the municipality. BRT Systems feature: State-of-the-art, comfortable, Wi-Fi-equipped buses; dedicated bus-only lanes, with priority traffic signaling for less stops due to automobile traffic; level boarding using pre-paid fare cards and electronic passes; modern, safe and comfortable stations with real-time transit, fare and location information; and connection to transit hubs for multimodal transportation, e.g., other bus systems, railways, airports, etc.
BRT Systems have been implemented in over 190 cities across the world, allowing passengers to arrive to their destination faster while avoiding traffic and helping to reduce road congestion. New York City operates 10 BRT routes, known as “Select Bus Service”, with dedicated bus lanes, off-board fare collection and signal priority being featured. The Nicolls Road BRT project would be vying with the progress at the Nassau HUB for Long Island’s first BRT project.
The transformation of Nicolls Road into a multimodal corridor will establish the first direct north/south connection between three Long Island Railroad lines, after a 2014 feasibility study explored 35 possible routes; linking Brookhaven National Lab to Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College; connecting the Patchogue and Ronkonkoma Hub downtowns to Long Island MacArthur Airport; and creating an extensive hiking/biking network. North-south routes to enable riders to connect are sorely needed, especially in light of recent Suffolk Transit cuts this year, which include reduced routes to help move riders north-south.
This BRT project would be the first part of a greater plan, Connect Long Island, which will aim to have three BRT rotes running north-south; Amityville to Huntington, Babylon to Kings Park, and Patchogue to Stony Brook. This particular proposed route would connect the Innovation Zone of Stony Brook University and hospital, Suffolk Community College, Ronkonkoma Hub, MacArthur Airport, St. Joseph’s College, and Patchogue LIRR stations through the BRT lane with an accompanying hiking and biking trail. Destinations such as The Boulevard in Yaphank and Brookhaven National Laboratory are hoped to be accessible to the LIRR Yaphank station to the BRT route once the Yaphank LIRR train station gets moved about a mile east near William Floyd Parkway. Environmental studies and assessments of the effectiveness and consequences of the recommendations of the plan are underway to ensure that the proposal is feasible. There are hopes to increase overall daily bus ridership by 45 percent by 2040, with a projection of 53 percent of BRT trips replacing automobile trips and over 2000 weekday BRT rides.
Feedback from the public can still be submitted by email at Liinnovationzone@suffolkcountyny.gov .
$62 million Awarded to Long Island for 101 Projects
Long Island was awarded $62 million in state aid last week through efforts of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council. Vision Long Island board member John Durso from the LI Federation of Labor is a representative on the LIREDC.
The LIREDC – a four-time “Top Performer” in Empire State Development’s annual funding contest, which marked the completion of its sixth round Thursday with an Albany awards ceremony – had submitted an ambitious agenda filled with 112 projects covering biotechnology, synthetics manufacturing, aerospace and half-a-dozen other key industries. Although it fell short in comparison to last year’s $98.3 million in awards, the $62 million will still go a long way toward fortifying the Long Island regional economy, according to LIREDC Co-chairman Kevin Law. “While we may not have won a top prize this year, we are still bringing back $62 million to our region for some very important economic-development projects,” noted said Law.
Among the grantees the following downtown and Smart Growth related projects were funded:
Additionally, $5 million was set aside for the Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for future projects including business investments in targeted industries that are within the region and that create or retain jobs, create capital investment, and $35 million to be made available for state and local government issuers to sell tax-exempt bonds for eligible economic development, infrastructure and community revitalization efforts. You can read more about the projects that were awarded in Newsday, and see all projects that were awarded here.
LIBN’s Top 40 Under 40 Ceremony on January 19th, 2017
Vision Long Island’s Assistant Director Tawaun Weber was recently named as one of Long Island Business News’ Top 40 Under 40 for 2017.
Since 1998, Long Island Business News has taken nominations for outstanding members of the business community on Long Island who are 40 or under. These future leaders of Long Island have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector. They have a proven track record of career success, are involved in mentoring and promoting their profession and find time to give back to their communities.
This year’s honorees will be awarded at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Westbury on January 19th, 2017 from 6pm to 9pm. Tickets are still available for this event. To see a list of all of this year’s honorees and for more information or to register, click here. Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!
National Conservation Innovation Grant Available From the USDA
The US Department of Agriculture has announced their 2017 National Conservation Innovation Grant, with a total of $25 million being awarded to recipients.
The purpose of the Conservation Innovation Grant is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) to EQIP eligible producers, into NRCS technical manuals and guides, or to the private sector. CIG is used to apply or demonstrate previously proven technology in order to increase adoption, with an emphasis on opportunities to scale proven, emerging conservation strategies.
Eligible entities include Indian Tribes, State and local units of government, non-governmental organizations, and individuals. Complete proposals will undergo a two tier review process, and are due by January 9th, 2017. For more information on this opportunity, click here
$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.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we “wear many hats,” and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
What’s happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
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Port Jefferson Historical Society
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Don’t forget to shop in your Local Downtowns this Christmas!
Shopping online may seem convenient, but there’s much more than just shopping to be had. Check your local papers and websites to find out what sort of family activities are still going on, along with great food and plenty of hot chocolate. Come on out to support your local mom and pops!
And as Christmas draws closer please don’t forget that there are numerous deals to be had in your local downtowns as well!
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