Check out this week’s Smart Talk with updates from the governor on funding for Long Island projects, Hunting Stations sewer plan moves forward, Senator Flanagan talks about this year’s agenda, and more…
January 8th – 14th, 2017
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“We will expand sewers in Kings Park and Smithtown” – NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking at his recent State of the State speech on Long Island
“We are absolutely delighted that our community based vision plan has caught the attention of our state representatives and look forward to a brighter future in Kings Park.” – Tony Tanzi, Kings Park Chamber of Commerce
“NYS wastewater treatment funding coming back to Long Island to directly aid downtown growth is critical for the health and vitality of our business districts. Perseverance pays off as It is great to see these local communities get what they have been asking for over these many years.” – Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island
Governor Cuomo Announces $40 million for Kings Park & Smithtown Sewer Funding
During the recent Long Island leg of the State of the State tour across the New York, the Governor made a most welcome pronouncement, stating that $40 million in state funds would be allocated for Kings Park and Smithtown sewer improvements. The funds will allow for a greater sewage capacity for both businesses and residents, and set the stage for future growth and revitalization.
This funding for sewers have been a priority recommendation from local civic and business groups through the recent Visioning process for downtown Kings Park. Vision managed this program with the Kings Park Civic and Chamber and produced a community based downtown revitalization plan that is the basis for the economic growth for Main Street. The sewers have also been a key request of the 90 member Long Island Lobby Coalition for many years.
“This is really the beginning of not only revitalization of our hamlet,” said Linda Henninger of the Kings Park Civic Association, “which holds so much potential, but we shouldn’t forget the positive impact it will have on the environment. Sewering is not only important for economic reasons, but also environmental. We’re very happy and look forward to rolling up our sleeves and continue to work hard for and with the community. The civic association is very excited about this funding. Economic revitalization of Kings Park hinges on this effort. This welcome news is the first step in revitalizing”
“We are absolutely delighted that our community based vision plan has caught the attention of our state representatives and look forward to a brighter future in Kings Park,” said Tony Tanzi from the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce
“NYS wastewater treatment funding coming back to Long Island to directly aid downtown growth is critical for the health and vitality of our business districts. Perseverance pays off as It is great to see these local communities get what they have been asking for over these many years,” stated Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island.
Vision Long Island, the Kings Park Civic Association, Kings Park Chamber and numerous government officials will be out at another press conference hearing about County and regional plans for downtown Kings Park on Friday.
Check out Vision’s Facebook page for updates.
Huntington Station Sewer Study to Move Forward
The Huntington Station revitalization led by master developer Renaissance Downtowns, took a step forward on Monday with the newest announcement by Suffolk County Legislator Doc Spencer. Joined by County Executive Steve Bellone, Leg. Steve Stern, Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, and town board members Susan Berland and Tracey Edwards; Leg. Spencer announced that the county would be moving forward with funds for a feasibility and design study for new sewers in Huntington Station. There are currently no sewers in that area. Officials believe that once completed, sewers would provide a significant boost to the local economy and housing opportunities, and accelerate revitalization efforts.
The study will look at the feasibility of installing sewers from the Huntington Long Island Rail Road Station south to the Walt Whitman Shops. It will take into consideration direction, design, the number of pump station needed, among other aspects.
The $1.25 million approved last month by the county will come from the Start Up New York/Suffolk County program which is a state-sponsored business incentive program working in conjunction with Suffolk County to promote economic development. If the study proves feasible, the $20 million set aside by the 2017 Suffolk County Capital Budget will be allocated in 2018 to begin and continue through the following few years.
“Sewers are the backbone for any vibrant community… When you look at developing and building a community, proper sanitary flow is really important,” said Leg. Spencer. In a written statement by the legislator, he said “Investing in sewers is the foundation of advancing the revitalization and will open the door to a bright future for the community.” He also commended the town on their partnership in moving revitalization efforts forward saying, “With engaged partners in the town and community moving this forward, the sewers will enable Huntington Station to once again reclaim our strong sense of place and become an attractive downtown.”
Last month, the Town of Huntington transferred a half-acre property on the corner of New York Avenue and Northridge Street which Renaissance Downtowns recently took title of. The parcel will be home to a mixed-use building with 16 rental apartments and over 6,500 square feet of retail space. This is just one of several projects slated as part of Huntington Station’s revitalization. Renaissance has also proposed a hotel and office building for New York Avenue and Railroad Street, across from the train station, and artists’ lofts in what is now a municipal parking lot at New York Avenue and Church Street.
In regards to the sewers, Supervisor Petrone said “Hopefully the study will come in that this is feasible, and we believe it is, and how to actually to do it.” He also noted that “It’s an opportunity to see a dream come true for the Station, where developers can come in and do commercial projects, start redoing buildings, people will sell buildings, others will buy them, strip malls will convert and start to revitalize, all increasing the economy of the Station.”
Governor Cuomo Comes to Long Island to Deliver State of the State Address
In a new format, Gov. Cuomo has taken his State of the State Address on tour rather than the usual gathering in Albany. This 6 stop tour included a visit to SUNY Farmingdale on Tuesday as the governor addressed over 600 Long Islanders. Elected officials in attendance included NYS Assemblyman Joe Saladino, Nassau Comptroller George Maragos, Nassau Legislators Laura Curran and Ellen Birnbaum, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk Legislators Kate Browning. Kevin McCaffrey & Rob Calarco, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilman John Cochrane, Town of Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio, Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro and Village Board, and others.
The governor began his address by noting that the state of the state is strong. He mentioned some of the progress that the state has had including leading the way in being the first to pass paid family leave and the passing of the minimum wage increase while continuing to generating more jobs statewide. As a result, unemployment came down from 8.5 percent to 5.1 percent.
Throughout his address, he spoke to several items that have been a part of the Long Island Lobby Coalition agenda including $40 million for Kings Park & Smithtown sewer expansion, $2 billion statewide water fund, LIRR Station improvements in 16 stations, offshore wind, and a ride-share surcharge that would help support Nassau and Suffolk buses.
As part of his list of infrastructure improvements, he discussed his goal for the state to have a state of the art drinking water treatment systems, replace failing water infrastructure and protect drinking water at its source. He explained that this $2 billion investment is necessary because, “These are our children who are drinking it. I don’t want to find out in 10 years that our water had a chemical that was causing some disease.” He is also looking to provide funding specifically mentioned in Suffolk County to help homes hook up to sewers as Suffolk has a significant lack of sewers throughout the county. “$388 million dollars in Suffolk county to connect more than 10,000 homes to sewage systems. It is not sexy but this is essential.” Requested by Long Island Lobby Coalition agenda, $40 million for Kings Park & Smithtown sewer expansion as part of these improvements.
$80 million will be invested to modernize 16 major MTA and LIRR stations. The station enhancements will include new facilities, Wi-Fi, charging stations, clearer signage for travelers, and public art in every station. An additional $20 million will be used to connect Brookhaven National Laboratory to the Long Island Railroad in an effort to boost job growth potential. $20 million will also be directed to connecting the MacArthur Airport terminal directly to the Long Island Railroad as part of the improvements the governor is looking to make at that airport. “MacArthur Airport has vast potential. If we can get MacArthur up to scale it can save people hours and hours on commute. It can take traffic away from JFK. It can take a load off LaGuardia. We have to make MacArthur more useable, more accessible,” said Gov. Cuomo.
Gov. Cuomo called on LIPA to approve a 90-megawatt wind farm which would be located 30 miles southeast of Montauk. He assured that the farm will not be visible from the beach by jokingly saying, “Not even Superman standing on Montauk Point could see these wind farms… But the upside is tremendous”. The wind farm has enough capacity to support 50,000 homes. It would be the largest offshore wind project in the nation’s history. “Its jobs. It’s clean energy and its inexpensive energy which then drives the economy. And we are not going to stop there. We have a mandate of 50 percent renewable power by the year 2030. We want to get 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 and we are not going to stop until we reach 100 percent renewable because that’s what a sustainable New York is really all about.”
Ride-sharing was also on the governor’s agenda as he noted that it is currently only legal in NYC and this is something he wants to change. “Ridesharing creates jobs, it saves lives, it produces alternatives for people, it gives people choice—let’s pass ridesharing for Long Island and let’s do it this year,” he said. Ride-sharing will not only be beneficial for the reasons listed by the governor, but it will aide in funding Nassau and Suffolk bus. The governor’s ride-sharing proposal has the opportunity to provide a .50 surcharge on rides to support bus service in both counties which is a top priority for the Lobby Coalition.
Members of the LI Lobby Coalition in attendance included: Robert Fonti, LI Business Council, Gina Coletti, Suffolk Alliance of Chambers, Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, John Durso, Roger Clayman, LI Federation of Labor, Bernard Macius, AARP, Don Monti, Renaissance Downtowns, Jorge Martinez, American Sustainable Business Association, Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, Kim Skillen, Neighbors Supporting Neighbors, Babylon, Linda Henninger, Kings Park Civic Association, Jon Siebert, Friends of LI, Randi Dresner, Island Harvest, David Viana, Baldwin Civic Association, David Stonehill, Old Linemere Civic Association, Corey Bearak, Queens Chamber of Commerce and Michael Harrison.
To hear more of Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address, visit the governor’s website.
NYS Senator Flanagan Sworn in as Temporary President and Majority Leader
NYS Senator Flanagan was sworn in last week as the Temporary President and Majority Leader of the New York State Senate. After being sworn in, Sen. Flanagan addressed the members of the Senate as they opened up the 2017-18 Legislative Session.
Senator Flanagan is among several NYS Senators from Long Island that have been reappointed to high-ranking committees including Senators Hannon, Marcellino, LaValle, Boyle, and others. Many of the committees directly oversee various aspects of state-wide funding.
The senator, along with the Senate, plan to take a harder look at Cuomo’s economic development programs to ensure that the outcome from tax breaks and aid to employers to retain and attract jobs is produced as intended. In his opening remarks, Sen. Flanagan made it clear that his goal is to see equal power restored to the Senate and Assembly, quoting Article 3 of the state constitution which states that “The legislative power of this state shall be vested in the Senate and Assembly,” and he added “Not the attorney general, not the comptroller and not the governor… “I am going to stand up for the primacy and independence of the body.”
The Future of Downtowns Looks Optimistic
Recently, a study was conducted to evaluate the future of downtowns across America. The focus of the study including downtowns in four areas: Market Street in Sunbury, Lewisburg and Selinsgrove and Mill Street in Danville.
Each community consisted of a consisted of a specific focal point in the downtown that would draw residents. While very different, each community was seeing positive results that they believed would continue in the future. The all also share the concern of the effects national chains would impose on their downtowns. However, they believe if they continue to grow their downtowns to meet the needs of their community, their future is nothing but optimistic.
“Across the country, we have towns with a couple hundred people or big cities, there’s a real sense of optimism,” said Hannah White, director of outreach and engagement for the National Main Street Center in Chicago. “There’s a renewed interest and support for the local economy. Main streets across the country have proven that to be true.”
Jim Wilson, executive director of the Danville Business Alliance spoke to the success of his downtown saying, “To the extent they evolve with the times and remain commercially and culturally vibrant, they will continue to be important to regional identity and success. In fact, without them it would be fair to say regions would not exist. The healthier downtowns are, the healthier any region is. So, while there are no guarantees, I believe the future of downtowns is bright, with the caveat that no downtown remains static; change is inevitable, necessary and must be faced; and in the end, everyone gets the downtown they deserve.”
Leaders from each community talked about some of the ways to create and maintain a successful downtown. Having a focal point will help to attract people downtown but there should also be a focus on meeting their daily needs. There should also be an understanding that some businesses may come and go in your downtown because that is just the cycle of the market but attention should be given to filling those vacancies.
Some changes to promote growth were ed by municipalities. In Danville Borough, they combined pro-development policies, practices, and tax incentives to make it more attractive to new businesses and development.
While each community has taken their own approach to maintaining their downtown revitalization effort, they share similar practices and feel optimistic about their futures. For more on these communities, visit The Daily Item.
Public Comment Welcome for LIRR Third Track
The Long Island Railroad and Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be conducting six public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Third Track Project.
The hearings offer the public opportunity to ask questions and make comments on the initial findings.
In a DEIS issued in late 2016, the project is described as enabling improved passenger experience, boosting motor vehicle safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and more. The report is available online.
The public hearings will be held in three locations on three days:
Comments can also be submitted online, by mail or in person until the close of the DEIS comment period, Jan. 31, 2017 at 5pm. All comments received during this period will become part of the public record and be considered as part of the project studies.
To deliver comments by mail or in person, contact:
Edward M. Dumas
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!
Next Week! Sustainable Living Film Series – Just Eat It
Sustainability Institute at Molloy College cordially invites you to the Sustainable Living Film Series screening of the multi-award winning documentary Just Eat it
We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash?
Filmmakers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a nation where one in 10 people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling.
JUST EAT IT looks at our systemic obsession with expiration dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, and reveals the core of this seemingly insignificant issue that is having devastating consequences around the globe.
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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