Long Island Main Street News March 3rd, 2021

presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance

March 1st, 2021

Quote of the Week

“With the help of Vision Long Island and Hicksville community and business leaders, we received a great deal of feedback from community stakeholders and developed a new zoning district for Hicksville that paves the way for a vibrant and walkable downtown area with new housing opportunities, restaurants, shops and office space.” – Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino
“Kudos to the Town for making this happen after years of community input. The new code focuses redevelopment by the train station and not on every commercial property in Hicksville and sets up design guidelines to improve the look of new projects as well.” – Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance

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Oyster Bay Approves New Zoning Code for Downtown Hicksville

On Tuesday, February 23rd, the Town of Oyster Bay unanimously approved a new zoning code for the train station area in downtown Hicksville that will allow for mixed use development after nearly a decade of work by the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, the Hicksville Community Council, Vision Long Island and local civics, businesses and government.

The goal is to achieve a walkable, vibrant downtown with a mix of uses that benefit from its location proximate to transit, to transform Hicksville into a destination anchored by the LIRR station.

Hicksville’s central business district emits from the intersection of the LIRR station and state Routes 106 and 107. The rezoning divides the existing Hicksville Downtown Central Business District into three new zoning districts, designated as Hicksville Downtown I, II and III.

“The Hicksville Downtown Core District would allow for development of retail and office uses and apartments with building heights up to 50 feet; the Hicksville Downtown Gateway Transition District would be zoned for a mix of uses with buildings as high as three stories or 40 feet; and the Hicksville Downtown Residential Subdistrict is targeted for single-family and two-family homes and townhomes, as well as owner-occupied next-generation and senior housing up to two stories or 30 feet,” Long Island Business News summarizes.

The new zoning opens the door to buildings ranging from two to four stories, less than the existing allowable height of 60-feet high or six stories. It also requires setbacks for new buildings to create broader sidewalks and will ensure complete streets recommendations, such as pedestrian and bike safety, traffic calming measures and streetscaping.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino stated, “With the help of Vision Long Island and Hicksville community and business leaders, we received a great deal of feedback from community stakeholders and developed a new zoning district for Hicksville that paves the way for a vibrant and walkable downtown area with new housing opportunities, restaurants, shops and office space.”

Supervisor Saladino added, “We also set forth design guidelines to produce the right aesthetics and create a cohesive feel in the downtown with specific details to items such as storefronts, signage, street lights, awnings and more. Together, these new policies are an important step in the process for Hicksville’s renaissance, and it complements the recently completed traffic study performed by Nassau County.”

Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance, stated, “Kudos to the Town for making this happen after years of community input. The new code focuses redevelopment by the train station and not on every commercial property in Hicksville and sets up design guidelines to improve the look of new projects as well.”

Mr. Alexander further stated, Vision Long Island would like to thank longstanding and active members of the Hicksville Downtown Revitalization committee: Joel Berse; Lionel Chitty; Ray Givargis; Irene Guarasci; Phil Heckler; Diane Hoeberlein; Stan Kobin; Elissa Kyle; Harry Malhotra; Paul Molinari; Paul Munoz; Susan Petrosillo; Mary Piccolomini; Linda Ruggiero; Eric Alexander.

Vision also sends special thanks to Harry Single from Hicksville Community Council for his support, as well as early members of the Committee: Charles Montana; Nicholas Brigandi; Henry Goessmann; Val Pakaluk; Tom Pfeifer; Philbert Robertson; Wendy Slavsky

Thank you also to Supervisor Saladino and members of the Town Board for making these important changes; Economic Development Director James McCaffrey for carrying the plan through the Town’s process internally; and the decades of leadership by former Hicksville Chamber President Lionel Chitty.

You can see the PowerPoint presentation of the new code that was presented at the public hearing in December 2020 here.

You can see the LIBN coverage by David Winzelberg, February 26, 2021 here.

Bike Share Possibly Coming to Riverhead

Bike-sharing could be coming to Riverhead. PedalShare, a Southampton-based company that has been running bike-share programs in several communities on eastern Long Island, made a presentation before Riverhead’s Town Board on February 25th, reports Riverhead News-Review.

In early 2020, the Town had hoped to participate with Suffolk County on a bike-sharing program operated by a business called Zagster. Due to financial impacts from the pandemic, Zagstar went out of business.

With PedalShare’s program, there is no cost to the municipality. Individuals can download the smartphone app called Bloom, from either the Apple “App Store” or from Google Play, and sign up to use the program, which shows riders where bikes are located, the rate, and all the information needed to rent a bicycle.

According to PedalShare, the prices are $4 per hour; $35 per day; and $59 for an annual membership, which does unlimited one-hour rides. The service year would run from May 1st to November 1st.

“Councilman Ken Rothwell said the concept was brought to the town’s alternative transportation committee. He said they were excited about having bike-sharing at the town’s Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial park in EPCAL, which has a nine-mile bike and hiking trail around it. He also stated the bike-sharing program can be used in promoting Riverhead as a destination. He said people could bring their bikes by train and then ride from the train station to the downtown area,” Riverhead News-Review reports.

“I’m glad to see it back on the table,” Councilwoman Catherine Kent said of the bike-share program. “This is a win-win.”

Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance, states, “We hope this proposal comes to fruition.”

You can read the full Riverhead News-Review article here.

Local Businesses Call for Increased SBA Outreach for PPP Program

Local Chamber and Minority Small Businesses called for increased outreach and utilization of critical SBA programs to provide economic relief through the spring.

Last year’s rounds of SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and their other grants and loans benefited bigger businesses and smaller businesses were at a huge disadvantage.  Many minority owned and the smallest, hard to reach, local shops still have not accessed these programs.

Thankfully new rule changes from the SBA allow small businesses with under 20 employees to exclusively be processed until March 9th. So the smallest businesses can now move to the front of the line. The government agencies in charge of these programs have done minimal outreach to let local businesses know the availability of funds and this critical window of opportunity.

The deadline for the entire program is March 31st and the program still has billions of Federal funds left so there are still 30 days to fix this, continue outreach and APPLY for funds.

We discussed outreach strategies and technical assistance that is still needed.

Representatives from the following organizations joined us at Shaheen Plaza in Hicksville for a call to action for increased outreach on the SBA programs:

LI Main Street Alliance
NY South Asian Chamber of Commerce
Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce
LI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
LI African American Chamber of Commerce
Town of Oyster Bay
Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs
Asset Enhancement Solutions
East Meadow Chamber of Commerce
Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce
Hempstead Chamber of Commerce
Black Business Zone
Pink Tie’s “Think Small” Initiative
Vision Long Island
Local minority owned businesses

Please see the flyer below for more information:

Bar Games Receive Approval to Reopen in New York

Pub games that include darts, pool, and axe-throwing will all get be allowed to resume in New York beginning March 5th, provided that bars comply with certain restrictions.

The new guidelines spell out new specifics for the rules, noting that the order will apply to both establishments that provide space for games, such as bars, and ones devoted solely to it, such as pool and billiards halls.  Tables will need to be at least six feet apart, lanes or physical barriers must be erected between them, players must wear masks while not actively eating or drinking, and parties must maintain separation from parties at other tables.

Venues will also be required to vigorously clean and disinfect rented or shared equipment such as bowling balls, darts, pool and billiard cues, etc.  Standard restrictions are still in place as well such as the 50% capacity rule and places with liquor licenses still needing to be closed by 11 pm.

Bar owners have expressed support for the idea of reopening their bar games, which will help with business.  Most will need to figure out best practices with the new restrictions, but it’s not the first time that they have had to adapt to a changing landscape thanks to the pandemic.

What is still hurting restaurants and bars, however, is the 11 pm curfew, which curtails business more than restrictions on pub games has.  While it is encouraging to see some movement back towards “normal,” if the NYS really wants to help out local businesses then they should look into removing that restriction.

You can read more at New York Upstate.

New York State Releases More Guidance for In-person and Catered Events

New York State has announced that beginning March 15th weddings and catered events can resume in the state with specific guidance in place. The Governor made this announcement on January 29th, but updated guidelines have just been released. 

Guidelines include:

  • Venues are restricted to 50 capacity, with no more than 150 people per event.
  • All patrons must be tested prior to the event.
  • Sign-in with contact information required to assist with potential contact tracing.
  • Venues must notify local health departments of large events, above the social gathering limit, in advance.
  • Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking.
  • A plan must be made detailing a “plan of movement” throughout the venue.
  • Live music and entertainment are allowed under certain restrictions.
  • Ceremonial and socially-distanced dancing allowed under strict guidelines.

“This is a bit of good news,” states Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance. “This not only helps the catering halls and their employees, but the many who have been negatively impacted down the chain, such as distributors who deliver to these venues. They have been also been getting killed.”

You can find complete guidance on the new guidelines here.

Plan for Congestion Pricing in NYC Advances

Last year, when New York became the first U.S. city to embrace congestion-pricing, after ten years of debate, political maneuvering, and confusion, a plan was authorized by the 2019 New York State budget and was anticipated to launch in January 2021.

The plan would require drivers to pay a surcharge to enter certain heavily trafficked Manhattan neighborhoods. It was estimated to raise up to $1 billion annually in fees to help the MTA pay for much needed improvements to mass transit. Advocates expressed that congestion pricing offers environmental benefits, such as improving air quality, as well as a reduction of traffic.

The plan had been delayed under the Trump Administration, but under the Biden Administration, there appears to be advancement.

Reported by StreetsblogNYC, recently the Federal Highway Administration told Law360 that the agency “is making New York’s congestion pricing plan a priority.”

According to an article in Curbed, the city’s congestion-pricing plan is still on, and it is getting a boost from US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who is granting the approval that had stalled due to inaction by the previous administration. “In recent weeks we’ve heard from the Federal Highway Administration that they are going to fast-track our environmental process,” confirms MTA’s chief development officer Janno Lieber.

Even as the congestion-pricing green light is a piece of good news for the financially desperate MTA, Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance, notes, “No Long Island based organizations that Vision is aware of have been briefed on the plan or are publicly in support.”

“Vision has supported past congestion pricing plans and sees it as a potential resource for our public transit system,” Mr. Alexander states. “One of the problems with this plan is that there was absolutely no public process out here on Long Island to help shape it. How much this plan helps Long Island is a question no one can answer yet.”      

You can read more at Curbed and StreetsblogNYC

SCEDC Looks to Move Forward with Regional Rail Study

The Suffolk County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) held its virtual annual meeting on February 25th.  The mission of the Suffolk County Economic Development Corporation, created in 2010, is to promote the economic welfare, employment opportunities and quality of life of the residents of Suffolk County. The primary purpose of the SCEDC is to promote economic development in Suffolk County by assisting not-for-profit corporations in their acquisition of capital projects.

The agenda included a motion to move forward with a Regional Rail Study. The board voted unanimously to do so.

According to Jonathan Keyes, Executive Director/CEO of SCEDC, the Rail Study will be a high level economic and business case study analysis of potential investments in the New York and New England regional rail network. In essence, with the new administration’s proposed infrastructure investment package, the SCEDC anticipates there will be significant attention paid to rail and mass transit in the Northeast. As such, Suffolk would stand to benefit with significant economic growth from any such investment. This study will provide an overview to quantify those economic and related benefits.

Once the study is completed, a presentation will be made to SCEDC board members.

Latest Edition of 92nd Street Y Features Conversation with Senator Schumer

Check out the latest video for 92nd Street Y, a series a video where Scott Rechler, chair of the Regional Plan Association and CEO of RXR Realty, hosts a conversation series with leading thinkers and decision-makers to tackle crucial questions focused on how to recalibrate reality to create a better, brighter future for New York.  This video features a conversation US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.  The conversation centers on how to move forward in New York.

Check it out here for a great view of what’s going on within our region

Long Island Main Street News, Under Production, makes Extended Interviews with Local Leaders Available

Vision Long Island has been in the process of interviewing some of our community partners: local civics, small business/chamber friends, municipal officials and local food pantry and religious leaders. 

As part of these efforts, we have reached over half of the communities we work in and are starting now to connect to some of our friends not rooted in any one community from development, design and infrastructure professionals and environmental leaders as well.   These interviews will be pieced together into a future show titled “Long Island Main Street News,” but, in the meantime, you can view an extended version of these interviews here.

Special thanks to our guests for sharing their experiences, to our friends at Pink Tie for providing access to their studio, and to Rob Comforto from Videomasters for the filming and production.

We were back last week with another edition of the LI Main Street News interviews, this one featuring Sol Marie Alfonso-Jones from the LI Community Foundation.

Ms. Aflonso-Jones presented her philanthropic work bringing resources directly to local community organizations that help advance issues in housing, community development, environmental and racial and social equity.  The LI Community Foundations assistance through the Coronavirus pandemic has been critical to address emergency needs like food insecurity and other immediate issues hard hit communities have faced.

We had a robust discussion about the need to increase corporate philanthropy on Long Island and LICF is a fantastic vehicle to help move that forward.  Ms. Alfonso-Jones has been a phenomenal advocate for a range of local needs through the years and has been successful helping so many organizations.  It was great to have her in the studio

Check it out here.

Our next interviews featured Michele Gervat from the American Heart Association LI Chapter.

Ms. Gervat shared the work of the organization and the importance of heart healthy living.  We also had a conversation about the health benefits of increased walking and biking and health needs for local communities through the pandemic.

Check it out here.

This next interview featured Beth Fiteni principal of Green Inside and Out.

Ms. Fiteni is a longtime environmentalist who uses her work with Green Inside and Out to break down simple things folks can do in their lives to improve our local environment.   We had a robust discussion about green dry cleaners, food waste, energy choices, walking/biking, managing the pandemic and a number of other issues.   She also has a ongoing radio program with guests that dive deeply into substantive environmental work.

What was really pleasant about the conversation is Ms. Fiteni presents an practice of environmentalism without shame and divisiveness but practical action.  

Check it out here

Our good friend Bernard Macias from AARP Long Island joined us for the next conversation.

This interview included the Vision’s Tawaun Weber and Elissa Kyle and covered a range of issue areas from adaptation through the Coronavirus, walkability and downtown walking audits, small business assistance, joint lobbying efforts and all of the projects that AARP continued to work on through the pandemic.

Happy to see Bernard and his team at AARP adapt to the needs of their members to continue to provide services for the 50+ population out here on Long Island.  

Check it out here.

Keep an eye on Vision Long Island’s Facebook page here, where we’ll be premiering a new Main Street News Interview daily! Simply follow us if you have not already and you should get alerts before a new video debuts.

Here is our upcoming schedule of interviews for the rest of the week, so be sure and tune in for any that you are interested in:

Monday, March 1st
Randi Dresner, Island Harvest

Tuesday, March 2nd
Dr. Jeff Reynolds, Family & Children’s Association

Wednesday, March 3rd
Greta Guarton, LI Coalition for the Homeless

Thursday, March 4th
Roger Clayman, Ryan Stanton, LI Federation of Labor

Friday, March 5th
Darren Krantz & Darren Krantz Jr., Recommerce
Mike Passantino, Trinity Solar, Pink Tie

NYS Vaccination Guide Now Available

The State of New York has prepared a guide to help eligible New Yorkers schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at a state-operated distribution site.

· Appointments are REQUIRED. To make an appointment, you can call the hotline or go the New York State eligibility website using the links below;
· New York State Vaccination Hotline: 1-8333-NYS-4-VAX (833-697-4829). The Hotline is open 7 days a week from 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM;
· Check your eligibility at this site:  https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ You can also locate the site by googling “New York am I eligible.” If eligible, you will be able to move forward and search for an appointment near you at a state-operate distribution location;
· For further information, the New York State website is a great resource: www.ny.gov/vaccine.

The federal government has increased the weekly supply, but New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

The ‘Am I Eligible’ screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. Starting next week, local health departments will also receive vaccine allocations for these individuals. New Yorkers can use the following to show they are eligible:

  • Doctor’s letter, or
  • Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or
  • Signed certification

A reminder: Appointments are based on vaccine supply. Supply is currently limited.

Eligibility update, March 1st 2021: Vaccine eligibility has been expanded to public facing hotel worker, food banks and pantries, and home-delivered meal programs.

New York is currently vaccinating what they are referring to as Phase 1a and Phase 1b groups. Please head to the state’s website here to confirm if you are eligible for vaccination.

YouOffice to Host Small Business Pop-Up on March 20th

Small business owners in Glen Cove have a variety of options when considering where to keep their office. One unique opportunity is found at YouOffice of Glen Cove. YouOffice, which sits in the heart of the Glen Cove business community, surrounded by shops and restaurants, offers boutique office suites and coworking space which cater to small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

On Saturday, March 20th, from 2 PM to 5 PM at 50 Glen Street, YouOffice is hosting a Small Business Pop-Up, featuring a diverse selection of small businesses found on Long Island. There will be businesses specializing in fashion, art, vintage, wellness, beauty, home decor, jewelry, artisanal foods, crafts, local services and more.

YouOffice is also hosting a giveaway for vendors. Each vendor will have an opportunity to win a suite in the building for 6 months free of charge. 

For more information visit hello@youoffice.com.

Applying for the Second Round of PPP Loans for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been revived, with $280 billion available for a second round, for small businesses still struggling to make ends meet. Monday, January 11th, was the first day to apply for this new, potentially forgivable, federal loan.

What you need to know about PPP Loans:
PPP loans are forgivable loans, meaning the money doesn’t need to be repaid if it meets the criteria laid out by the Small Business Administration. They have an interest rate of one percent and the current batch will mature in five years. The loans require no collateral and come without fees. Borrowers must spend at least 60% of the loans on payroll, with the other 40% going to other eligible operating expenses. Forgiven PPP loans are not considered income for federal tax purposes.

Differences in Round 2:
Targeted funds are being made available for the most vulnerable businesses; restaurants can get bigger loans; the forgiveness process is simpler; the tax break for PPP loan recipients have gotten bigger; and there is an expanded use of funds.

Eligibility for PPP funding:
For round 2 of the PPP funding, both first-time and second-time qualified borrowers are eligible to apply. First-time borrowers can apply for loans up to $10 million.

PPP applicants who are seeking funding in addition to what they received earlier in the year (also known as Second Draw Loans) are eligible for loans up to $2 million provided they meet the following requirements:
–          Employ fewer than 300 people (down from 500);
–          Have used or will use the full loan amount granted to them in their first round of PPP funding;
–          Can show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019 (if a business was out of operation for a portion of 2019, they can use different quarters to compare gross receipts.)

How and when to apply:

SBA reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for First Draw PPP Loans the week of January 11, 2021. SBA will began accepting applications for Second Draw PPP Loans on January 13, 2021.

To promote access for smaller lenders and their customers, SBA will initially only accept Second Draw PPP Loan applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs), which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries. Paycheck Protection Program lending will reopen to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. At least $25 billion is being set aside for Second Draw PPP Loans to eligible borrowers with a maximum of 10 employees or for loans of $250,000 or less to eligible borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.

Applications close on March 31, 2021.

How much can a business borrow?
Loans are capped at 2.5 times an applicant’s average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan being issued (3.5 times for restaurants and other eligible hospitality businesses).
Loans are limited to a maximum of $10 million for first time PPP borrowers and $2 million for second time borrowers.

What can the money be used for?
The loan proceeds can be used to cover a business’s payroll and certain other expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures.

What about loan forgiveness?
If a business uses at least 60% of the loan on payroll expenses and maintains its employment levels during the covered period of the loan, it can apply to have the loan forgiven. Otherwise, the loans carry a 1% interest rate and a maturity of five years.

For further information, and to apply, click here.

Nassau County Reopens Restaurant Recovery Grant Program

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is pleased to reopen the portal below to accept more applications for the Restaurant Recovery Grant Program (RRGP).

The program is intended to support full-service restaurants – the industry hit hardest by the pandemic – during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited and as restaurants adjust to New York State’s COVID-19 safety restrictions and new mandates. Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) are encouraged to apply.

Nassau County is using funding made available through the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to provide grants to restaurants. Grant funds are valued at either $5,000 or $10,000 depending on the number of employees.

The deadline to submit an application is March 15th, 2021.

If you have not already begun the application process and would like to APPLY, click here: https://zoomgrants.tools/zgf/nassaurestaurantrecovery

Eligible businesses that have been APPROVED to receive Restaurant Recovery Grant Program (RRGP) funding are shown in the list at this link. These businesses will receive a direct email from the Restaurant Recovery team this week, requesting confirmation of bank details so that the grant can be disbursed. Please watch for the email from nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org.

Restaurants that have applied to the RRGP but do NOT see their business on the list at the above link must get in touch with the Restaurant Recovery team immediately to complete their applications at nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org and 1-646-825-9617.

For any questions, please contact the Restaurant Recovery team at nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org and 1-646-825-9617.


Please email any RRGP questions to the Restaurant Recovery team at mailto:nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org.

Check back to this webpage for any RRGP updates!

Program Eligibility Criteria

Eligible Businesses

• Full-Service Restaurants (NAICS code 722511) engaged in providing food services and meals prepared on-premises to patrons who traditionally order and are served while seated (i.e., waiter/waitress service)
• Restaurant Establishment must have a current and valid Nassau County Department of Health Food Service Permit

General Eligibility

• Located in Nassau County
• In operation on or before March 1, 2019
• Must have 50 or fewer Full-Time equivalent (FTE) employees
              o Maximum $5,000 grant – 0 (sole proprietor)-10 employees
              o Maximum $10,000 grant – 11-50 employees
• Must agree to create or retain at least one low/moderate-income job at full-time status
• Must certify and demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19

Eligible Expenses

• Grant funds to cover working capital and operating expenses including:
            o payroll, rent, utilities, purchase of PPE and sanitation supplies; lease or purchase of equipment like kitchen equipment or delivery vehicles; or COVID-19 related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology.

Ineligible Businesses

• Non-profit organizations
• Businesses with greater than 50 employees
• Businesses in violation of New York State Executive orders relating to the COVID-19 pandemic or other State, County or local ordinances
               o e.g., EO 202.74 effective Friday, November 13 at 10 PM
                               ▪ SLA FAQ: https://sla.ny.gov/Guidance-COVID-Related-Closing-Times

Keep an eye on the restaurant recovery page on Nassau County’s website for more information and to apply once the grant program becomes available.

Application period for the 2021 AARP Community Challenge Now Open

The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are accepted for projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more.

The program is open to the following types of programs:

  • 501(C)(3), 501(C)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits
  • Government entities
  • Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis

The following projects are NOT eligible for funding:

  • Partisan, political or election-related activities
  • Planning activities and assessments and surveys of communities without tangible engagement
  • Studies with no follow-up action
  • Publication of books or reports
  • Acquisition of land and/or buildings or a vehicle purchase
  • Sponsorships of other organizations’ events or activities
  • Research and development for a nonprofit endeavor
  • Research and development for a for-profit endeavor
  • The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services

AARP will prioritize projects that deliver inclusive solutions that meet the needs of diverse populations, as well as those that directly engage volunteers through permanent or temporary solutions that aim to achieve one or more of the following outcome areas:

  • Create vibrant Public Places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Deliver a range of Transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
  • Support a range of Housing options that increases the availability of accessible and affordable choices
  • Increase Civic Engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion
  • Support local recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic with an emphasis on economic development, improvements to public spaces and transportation services
  • Ensure a focus on Diversity and Inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community
  • Other community improvements. In addition to these areas of focus, AARP wants to hear about local needs and innovative ideas for addressing them

The following project types will be prioritized over those that support ongoing programming or events:

  • Permanent physical improvements in the community
  • Temporary demonstrations that lead to long-term change
  • New, innovative programming or services

You can read more details on the grant at the AARP’s site here.  You can apply for the grant here.

Applications are due by 8pm ET on April 14th, 2021.

Project Warmth Emergency Fuel Fund Opens for Families in Need

One out of three households on Long Island don’t earn enough to make ends meet or heat their homes during the bitter winter months. Many working families are not earning enough money to maintain self-sufficiency and seniors on fixed incomes are having a hard time making ends meet.

Since 1994, United Way of Long Island has helped area residents in need of home heating to keep warm by joining hands with individual donors, nonprofit, corporate and union partners in support of Project Warmth. Project Warmth began operation in 1994 to help Long Islanders who did not qualify for Federal assistance programs due to income guidelines.

If a crisis strikes any of these households, they may be forced into making financial compromises and trade-offs that could be detrimental or even life-threatening. Project Warmth’s Emergency Fuel Fund can make a significant difference for families in our region.

As Long Island’s only non-governmental, island-wide emergency fuel fund, Project Warmth is a safety net for financially struggling individuals and families who are unable to pay their heating bill. This program provides a one-time grant for fuel and/or fuel-related electricity. Payments are made directly to oil and utility companies on behalf of eligible residents facing heating emergencies. For the hundreds of families we help each year, assistance with an oil delivery or utility arrears means they have room in their budgets to cover essentials like food or medication.

If you or someone you know needs emergency heating assistance, call United Way’s 2-1-1 Long Island information and referral call center by dialing 2-1-1 (or 1-888-774-7633) Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm, for referrals to an intake site.

If you’d like to contribute to Project Warmth, you can do so here.  A listing of in-take locations is available here

Small Businesses can Apply for Emergency Funding Through the Barstool Fund

Barstool Sports, a nationwide sports company, has created the Barstool Fund in support of the 30 Day Fund to help small businesses survive.

The nonprofit 30 Day Fund was launched by Virginia technology entrepreneur Pete Snyder and his wife, Burson. Working with other business leaders throughout the nation, the Fund’s goal is to help save as many jobs as possible.

The funds disbursed do not need to be repaid, but if businesses who receive the Fund’s assistance do, at a later date, wish to “pay it forward,” they may do so by directing those dollars back to the Fund, which will disburse them to another business in need. To date, the 30 Day Fund has raised more than $8 million and is on the way to funding more than 2,200 small businesses.

Businesses in need can apply here.

You can read more on businesses that have received funding and contribute to the fund yourself here. l Delivery Option to Long Island Businesses

A new company on Long Island is providing a delivery service that could help hundreds of small businesses to drive down costs and provide expanded services to local customers.

Trellus is a new delivery service that was created by local business owners who were seeking to assist small retail and home-based businesses who are seeking to compete with national online delivery services.  They offer fast, same-day delivery that is reliable and convenient.

The company is also offering an integrated delivery option for a website shopping carts and can fill the shoes of a courier service used for sending supplies, documents, garments, and much more locally.

This new company offers a new chance for companies adapting to the changing circumstances of our economy.  The local aspect of it helps them to keep more jobs local while providing elevated service to customers who might instead rely on large, national companies that drain local resources.

If you are a local business owner, you can check their coverage area here and please consider signing up for a one-month free trial at Trellus here.

New York State Accepting Applications for NY Forward Loan Fund

New York State has opened pre-applications for the New York Forward Loan Fund. Loans from this fund are available to small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords in New York State. New York Forward loans must be fully repaid over a 5-year term with fixed annual interest rates of 3 percent for small businesses and landlords.

Small businesses may apply for the lesser of $100,000 or up to 100% of the average monthly revenues in any 3-month period from 2019 or the first quarter of 2020. This loan can be paid back over five years with first year being interest only.  However, if small businesses have received either a PPP loan or an EIDL loan from SBA, they would not be eligible to apply. NYS has set a goal of 18% of total funds under this Program for Long Island

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as industries and regions reopen however, priority for New York Forward Loans will be given to industries and regions that have been reopened. Resources are available to assist in preparing applications for small businesses, landlords and nonprofits in industries and regions that have not yet reopened.

To view more details, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, click here:

If you need technical assistance through this process, please contact an Entrepreneurial Assistance Center near you and inform the counselor that you need help for the NY Forward Loan application.  You can find your closest contact center here.

Today’s Sponsor

National Grid

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the US — serving more than 20 million customers throughout New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

They are at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society — transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Every day they work with stakeholders to promote the development and implementation of more sustainable, innovative and affordable energy solutions.

National Grid is proud of the contributions their work and people make towards the prosperity and wellbeing of our customers, communities and investors.

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Linda Henninger, Outreach Coordinator

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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