Check out this week’s Smart Talk highlighting Long Island’s first off shore wind farm being approved, a call for increased infrastructure funding on Long Island, an urgent Action Alert for bus funding and more…
January 22nd – 28th, 2017
D & F Development Group
The D & F Development Group, LLC (The D&F Group) provides the highest quality combination of experience and knowledge to make certain that project goals are attained. We offer an entire spectrum of real estate expertise from a single source – including project development, construction and property management.
The D&F Group is proud to be among New York’s premier developers of affordable family and senior housing, working closely with a wide array of for-profit and not-for-profit partners. Yet, their diversity and extensive background enable them to provide comprehensive services relating not only to affordable housing but to all segments of the real estate marketplace. Furthermore, their versatility means they can handle all aspects of a project from inception to finalization. Depending on the specific project, they can provide any one or more of the individual areas of real estate services they offer.
The D&F Group brings agility, efficiency and dedication to each project … committed to ensuring that all budgetary, scheduling, regulatory, aesthetic and other requirements are fulfilled.
“We are confident this is the first step to developing the tremendous potential of off-shore wind off Long Island’s coast and meeting Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard. This project is the right size, at the right location and demonstrates how smart energy decisions can reduce cost while providing renewable energy and clean air for all of Long Island.” – Tom Falcone, LIPA’s Chief Executive Officer, speaking on the recent approval of Long Island’s first offshore wind farm
“Our transition from fossil fuels to renewables has just taken a giant leap forward with this historic decision. This is game changer, a legacy that all New Yorkers will be proud of. By tackling climate change head on New York is proving to be a global leader.” – Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment
“LIPA’s decision to enter into an agreement with Deepwater Wind is good news for the Long Island labor movement. It is a first step in realizing the potential for a new American industry with Long Island at the epicenter. We thank New York State for their commitment to our energy future, an opportunity which includes union jobs. We are excited to put our skilled workforce on the job.” – John R. Durso, President, Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
LIPA Board Approves Long Island’s First Off-Shore Wind Farm
This past Wednesday, January 25, the Long Island Power Authority’s Board voted to approve a contract building the region’s first off-shore wind farm.
The South Fork Wind Farm, as it’s being called, will be located 30 miles southeast of Montauk and will provide 90 megawatts to the local grid, enough electricity to power roughly 50,000 homes. This development will be the first step in farming an area that could provide upwards of 1,000 megawatts of offshore electricity, and will be the largest in the Country once finished. The Board has contracted with Deepwater Wind, the company that built the recently opened first-of-its-kind wind farm off the shore of Rhode Island, to build the development.
“We are confident this is the first step to developing the tremendous potential of off-shore wind off Long Island’s coast and meeting Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard,” said Tom Falcone, LIPA’s Chief Executive Officer, “This project is the right size, at the right location and demonstrates how smart energy decisions can reduce cost while providing renewable energy and clean air for all of Long Island.”
LIPA’s board will engage in a 20-year pay-for-performance agreement that will allow for the authority to only pay for energy that is delivered. All costs for construction and operation will be shouldered by Deepwater Wind.
“New York leads the nation in pioneering clean energy innovation, and this bold action marks the next step in our unprecedented commitment to offshore wind, as well as our ambitious long term energy goal of supplying half of all energy from renewable sources by 2030,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy, but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change and help preserve our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers.”
This vote comes at a time when the state has been committing to renewable energy as a cornerstone for future energy development. As part of his State of State speeches, Governor Cuomo recently stated a goal of drawing 50% of the sate’s power from renewable energy by 2030. That number includes drawing 2.4 gigawatts from offshore wind, which would be the highest amount in the country and equal the capacity of the facility at Niagara Falls.
New York State Senator Phil Boyle said, “I applaud the Long Island Power Authority’s consideration of the proposed 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm east of Montauk and encourage the Board of Directors to approve the Deepwater Wind proposal. With major changes in NY’s energy markets in recent years, including retirements of coal and nuclear generation and an increasing reliance on natural gas, it is more essential than ever to increase local renewable energy sources on a large scale. The proposal by Deepwater Wind will create jobs, and will ensure the protection of NY’s coastline, the tourism industry, and the quality of life for all here on Long Island.”
This project was a key priority for the 90 member LI Lobby Coalition for many years and members were happy to see it advance:
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Our transition from fossil fuels to renewables has just taken a giant leap forward with this historic decision. This is game changer, a legacy that all New Yorkers will be proud of. By tackling climate change head on New York is proving to be a global leader.”
John R. Durso, President, Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO said, “LIPA’s decision to enter into an agreement with Deepwater Wind is good news for the Long Island labor movement. It is a first step in realizing the potential for a new American industry with Long Island at the epicenter. We thank New York State for their commitment to our energy future, an opportunity which includes union jobs. We are excited to put our skilled workforce on the job.”
“Kudos to LIPA for advancing this groundbreaking project that will help change the course of renewable energy on Long Island. This project has been thoughtfully planned for many years and will no doubt serve as a model for future efforts to meet New York State’s goal of 50% renewable power by 2030.” Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island
Governor Cuomo Calls for More Infrastructure Spending on Long Island
During his recent State of the State speeches, Governor Cuomo called for more spending on Long Island’s aging bridges and train stations.
As part of the State’s $1 Billion BRIDGE NY initiative, Cuomo announced $16.5 million in rehabilitiation funds to replace two of Long Island’s aging bridges. The two bridges selected for replacing are Horseblock Road over Long Island Ave. and Merrick Road over Milburn Creek, which will receive $11.5 million and $5 million respectively. These funds are the first part of what will ultimately be a $21.1 billion capital improvement plan aimed at upgrading roads, bridges, and other forms of transportation infrastructure across the state.
“Infrastructure is the key to our prosperity and through this program, we are providing funding to local governments in every corner of this state to help ensure their bridges remain reliable, resilient, and able to meet the demands of current and future generations of New Yorkers.” Governor Cuomo said.
In addition to this, the Governor also called for $120 million in investments for Long Island Rail Road during the State of the State. The proposed money will be used to improve connectivity and customer service along rail lines in both Nassau and Suffolk County. Specifically, $80 million would be invested directly into enhancing 16 Long Island stations, with upgrades such as Wi-Fi, public art, changing stations, and new waiting areas.
The stations that will receive funding in Nassau County are Great Neck, Bellmore, Stewart Manor, Valley Stream, Baldwin, Merrick, Syosset, and Farmingdale. In Suffolk County, Northport, Stony Brook, Port Jefferson, Wyandanch, Deer Park, Brentwood, Ronkonkoma, and East Hampton will receive funding. The remaining $40 million will be spent on new stops for the Ronkonkoma branch at Brookhaven National Laboratory and a new terminal at McArthur Airport.
Three Downtowns Funded with Restore NY Grants
This past Thursday, Governor Cuomo announced the fourth round of Restore NY grants for communities across the state, including three Long Island downtowns.
As part of this round, Riverhead will receive $500,000 for rehabilitation and reconstruction on three apartment buildings as part of a $30 million project aimed at creating affordable housing and mixed use in the downtown. Port Jefferson will also receive $500,000 for Upper Port Urban Renewal in the Village. Finally, the Town of Hempstead will receive $458,470 for the redevelopment of deteriorated properties on Grand Ave for mixed use in Baldwin.
Vision Long Island welcomes the granting of funds for mixed use in Baldwin, which has been a priority for the community, with several meetings conducted by Vision recently. We are also happy to see funding go to Riverhead and Port Jefferson, who have both received Smart Growth Awards in the past for their efforts at revitalization.
Long Island Railroad Breaks Modern Ridership Record
In 2016, Long Island Railroad saw ridership numbers totaling $89.3 million, the highest total number since 1949. This number represents a 1.9% increase over the previous year, fitting in with the five year average of 1.97% and capping a 10.2% overall increase over that same period.
The growth comes at a time of increased conversation surrounding capacity for the Railroad, as Governor Cuomo has proposed expanding the Main Line from two to three tracks between Floral Park and Hicksville in addition to re-envisioning of Penn Station. The LIRR is also currently building a second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma.
The increase also serves to highlight an increasing demographic trend among millennials, who are showing a greater reliance on the railroad than previous generations. This also includes an increase in the reverse-travel market, who stand to benefit greatly from a completed Main Line expansion. This all dovetails with the fact that younger generations are increasingly unlikely to own an automobile, instead relying on public transportation to reach their destination.
“Our data reinforces what we’ve seen elsewhere that millennials are more likely to opt for the railroad as matter of choice, and to embrace a lifestyle built around downtown activities and living than previous generations,” said William Wheeler, MTA Director of Planning. “We know that habits that are developed early in one’s adult life tend to stick with them through their entire working lives. So the trend bodes well as a long-term positive for LIRR ridership.”
A recent survey of LIRR customers found that for weekday travel 65% of trips were made to Manhattan for work, 14% were for westbound work travel elsewhere, 9% were for non-work travel to Manhattan, and 11% were for eastbound travel for work or non-work.
You can read the LIRR’s press release on ridership here.
Village of Westbury Holds Second Public Engagement Session
This past Wednesday, Vision Long Island, along with over 100 residents, attended the Village of Westbury’s second of three public meetings to engage the community on their $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding from New York State.
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a statewide effort to revitalize ten downtowns across New York State. Numerous downtowns across Long Island applied for the DRI and Westbury was chosen from them to receive a $10 million grant by the Long Island REDC. This planning process will result in a Strategic Investment Plan to direct how the funds will be spent.
A series of projects were proposed by numerous community speakers that fit a wide spectrum of themes. These included diversity, transit oriented development, walkability and creating an arts centric community.
Additional restaurants, similar to Farmingdale, supporting walkability, and incorporating the history of Westbury into the art and redevelopment drew a lot of support throughout the evening. Additional feedback included questions and concerns about parking, traffic, viability of additional retail and supporting existing senior services. Mayor Cavallaro was also sure to note that existing operations would not be effected, as there were questions on potential impacts to existing property owners.
It is important during this process that, regardless of the project or funding source, the Village maintains local control and that there are sufficient resources to embark on many of the ideas generated.
The final engagement session will take place on February 22, where the DRI team and Village will present to the community the final DRI Report. If you have comments or questions, please plan to attend the final session. Or, you can register your comments by emailing email@example.com, email to Westburydri@gmail.com, or visiting the Westbury DRI website here.
We commend Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro and all of the folks involved in the planning coalescing around a positive action plan and will report more information as it becomes available.
$1.6 Million Presented to Patchogue to Improve Transportation and Revitalize Area
Earlier this week Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone presented a check in the amount of $1.6 million to the Village of Patchogue to create a transportation center and revitalize the area behind Briarcliffe College. The move will also pave the way for Blue Point Brewery to complete a purchase of the school for their new location and make improvements before they move in. The Brookhaven Town IDA will provide financial relief for the brewery with a pilot program aimed at reducing mortgage taxes once the College has been renovated.
According to the office of the County Executive, the money will be use to improve a blighted parcel of about .84-acres located behind Bargain Bilge. The land will see improvements to physical infrastructure that will allow it to be transformed into a sustainable parking lot with a modern Bus Rapid Transit station that will link the community to Stony Brook University and Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, as well as Brookhaven National Lab. The project will also involve the reconstruction of the traffic intersection adjacent to the parcel that is located behind Briarcliffe. A scenic area will also be created abutting Patchogue Lake in an effort to improve the entrance to the Village.
“Thank you for the leadership here in Patchogue, none of this could have happened without the partnerships. It’s a great example of working together,” said Bellone. “This project is not only wonderful for Patchogue and the Town of Brookhaven but the county as a whole.”
The presentation ceremony was attended by Village Mayor Paul Pontier, Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Kennedy, Legislator Rob Calarco, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, and Bellone.
You can read more on this project here.
Senate Democrats Unveil $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
In a plan designed to bring much needed infrastructure spending to national attention and find common ground with the newly minted President Trump, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer along with Senate Democrats have unveiled a $1 trillion dollar, 10-year infrastructure spending plan, with $500 billion focused on transportation projects alone. The unveiling is a response to Trump’s campaign pledge to invest heavily in national infrastructure, one that Schumer is eager to hold him accountable for.
The plan is multimodal, increases competitive funding, is estimated to create 15 million jobs, will include $210 billion for roads and bridges, $180 billion for rail and bus programs, and has an emphasis on local communities and main streets. There would also be a $200 billion “vital infrastructure fund” that can be used to cover the costs of projects with national significance. This fund would make financing available for major road and rail network repairs and can offset damages made to transportation lines by natural disasters.
Non-transportation related items in the plan include $110 billion for sewer and water, $10 billion for VA refurbishing, $75 billion for school infrastructure, and funds to expand broadband access in rural areas.
“Senate Democrats are walking the walk on repairing and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” Schumer said. “We ask President Trump to support this common sense, comprehensive approach.”
The plan’s announcement coincides with a recent meeting between President Trump and Senate leaders of both parties, where the plan was discussed and Trump’s support was requested. However, there is contention among members of the Senate and Trump as to how the plan would be paid for.
A proposal by Trump’s advisors right after the election had called for $137 billion in tax credits in order to encourage private investment in infrastructure projects. However, investors tend to only ever provide funding for projects that can generate revenue, such as tolls, which are usually unpopular among the general public. Schumer has indicated that such a plan would be unacceptable to Democrats.
Senator Schumer was out on Long Island at the Ronkonkoma train station with labor unions, Vision and other advocates for infrastructure last month in an earlier call for federal investment.
You can read more on this plan and the discussion for funding here.
Contact Your Assembly Member and Senator for Bus Funding
As the New York State budget is released, public bus advocates on Long Island have taken note that there is once again no mechanism towards a dedicated funding stream from the state for Nassau and Suffolk bus systems outside of the State Transportation Operating Assistance funds (STOA) which has a fixed formula for funding throughout the state. As proposed in this year’s recommended budget, $5 billion will be appropriated for transit assistance; $4.5 billion will go to the MTA, with a $30 million increase, and other transit systems receiving $502 million collectively.
Non-MTA transit in the downstate region continues to receive less than its fair share in funding towards local operating and capital costs. With the fiscal climate in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties being seen as uncertain and challenging, cuts to public buses are once again being proposed in Nassau, and have already been seen in Suffolk, as a means to balance the budget. Without a dedicated funding stream for Long Island’s transit system, continuality of operations and needed expansions will again be in question, jeopardizing the livelihood of some of Long Island’s most vulnerable- especially as the only state funding for Nassau and Suffolk are at risk of being reduced due to cuts to the system, perpetuating a downward spiral.
All Long Islanders are urged to contact their Assembly member and Senator, urging them to add dedicated funding for Nassau and Suffolk’s bus systems’ operational and capital expenses to this year’s budget. You can find your Assembly member here, and your Senator here. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your organization would like updates and to pledge support towards upcoming efforts to get Long Island’s fair share in public transit funding.
TLC-HEART to Host Walk-in Clinic for FEMA Review and NY Rising Process
The Touro Law Center – Hurricane Emergency Assistance & Referral Team (TLC-HEART) will be hosting a legal walk-in Clinic with a focus on helping people through the FEMA review process and NY Rising, Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at the Freeport High School from 6:00-7:00pm. Immediately thereafter will be a Sandy Through Education Recovery Seminar from 7:00-9:00pm.
You can read more on TLC-HEART’s services here.
The 2017 Complete Streets Summit
Please join us for the 2017 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, March 30th, from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM at The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, located at 7180 Republic Airport in Farmingdale.
This event consists of a contingent of chambers of commerce, civic associations, local governments, engineering and professional trade groups, transit advocates and members of the public who want safe streets for all modes of traffic. The group looks to coordinate Complete Streets planning efforts, communicate on finding opportunities for local projects, and act as a clearinghouse for information and lobby with a united voice for safe roadways.
Past Complete Streets Summits, held at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale, have been gatherings of government leaders, planners, engineers, nonprofits and other community stakeholders who support policy changes to design roadways for all uses – not just automobiles. The Summit was a chance to remind participants of the campaign’s significance.
Online registration is available here. You can also register by contacting Vision Long Island at 631-261-0242 or email@example.com.
Technical Assistance Grants for Affordable Solar Projects Available
NY-Sun is now accepting applications for the Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance program. This new funding opportunity supports the development of solar projects for multifamily affordable housing and community solar projects serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, with up to $200,000 for each approved proposal.
Many LMI households are unable to access benefits from conventional residential solar installations. To help expand access to solar benefits for LMI households, NYSERDA is seeking proposals for projects leading to:
Projects related to on-site solar installations for owner-occupied houses are not eligible for funding through this solicitation. However, NY-Sun provides support to LMI homeowners through the Affordable Solar Program.
Applications may be submitted by local governments, affordable housing, community organizations and service providers working to make solar accessible to LMI communities in New York. NY-Sun will accept and review applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. Visit the program webpage for more details and the application.
If you have questions about the solicitation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOE Solar in Your Community Challenge Grant
The Solar in Your Community Challenge is an 18-month, $5 million prize competition to support community-based solar programs and projects aimed at providing solar access to low and moderate income communities. The Challenge is aimed at supporting innovators across the U.S. to create scalable solutions that will bring solar to nonprofits, LMI households and local and tribal governments. Selected teams will be provided with seed funding as they complete milestones, receive technical assistance from an online marketplace of qualified experts, and compete to win final prizes from May 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018.
If you are interested in learning more about the Solar in Your Community Challenge and forming a team, please visit the program webpage. The application deadline is March 17, 2017. This program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and is administered by SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
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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Vision Long Island Assistant Director Tawaun Weber Honored at LIBN’s Top 40 Under 40
Since 1998 Long Island Business News has been honoring outstanding members of the business community on Long Island who are 40 or under. This year, Vision Long Island was honored to have our Assistant Director Tawaun Weber honored for her accomplishments. We extend our congratulations to her as well as St. Joseph’s Communications Director and Vision Long Island Board Member Melissa Kuehnle, Local 338’s Ryan Stanton, Tech ACS Web Designer Juan Vides, and everyone else who won this prestigious award!
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