Smart Talk July 27th – August 2nd, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk featuring the Lt. Governor unveiling of projects for Central Islip DRI, Long Island’s first-ever mead festival, and more…

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July 27th – August 2nd, 2019


Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP

Founded in 1976, Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP is one of Long Island’s largest and most distinguished law firms.

The Firm represents a broad range of clients, including national, regional and local businesses, public, private and family-owned companies, major real estate developers, property owners and operators, contractors, banks, municipalities, educational institutions, not-for-profits, foundations, and individuals. Personal attention and quality representation that is both practical and cost-effective are hallmarks of the Firm.

With over 60 attorneys, the Firm is able to provide expertise in nearly 20 different practice areas, with the talent, skill and experience necessary to meet the legal needs of virtually any client. These attorneys are supported by a dedicated team of paralegals, law clerks, administrative and support staff, and cutting-edge office and communications technology.

Headquartered in Uniondale, NY, in one of Long Island’s premier office buildings, the Firm is conveniently located for clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as those in New York City.

“We’re building on that growth by funding projects as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative that will make needed infrastructure upgrades, streetscape improvements, and add housing and retail for residents. We are focused on revitalizing the area by supporting economic development that creates jobs, continues to attract businesses, and strengthens the economy of Long Island.” –Hon. Kathy Hochul, NYS Lt. Governor

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High-tech Pioneer Craig Plunkett Passes at Age 56

Craig Plunkett, remembered in part as a former Cablevision executive, passed away on from Pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. Considered a true high-tech pioneer on Long Island, Plunkett was instrumental in creating wi-fi hot spots throughout Long Island.  Long before it was fashionable Craig was looking to provide internet access to all local communities.  Vision Long Island had many meetings and calls with him regarding ways to make downtowns hot spots for wireless technology.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones. For more about Craig Plunkett, visit Newsday.

Lt. Governor  Hochul Unveils Transformative Projects for Central Islip

On Thursday, Vision Long Island staff joined a select group of community residents and elected officials as Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled the winning projects to receive funding from the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Iniative (DRI) award announced last year.

Among those in attendance were NYS Senator Monica Martinez, Assemblyman Phil Ramos, Senator Phil Boyle, County Executive Steve Bellone, Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Councilwoman Trish Bergen-Weichbrodt, as well as staff from various departments and members of the Regional Economic Development Council.  Community organizations such as the Coalition for Good Neighbors and the Central Islip Civic Council were in attendance as well.

The Lt. Governor addressed the crowd discussing the goal of the state to capitalize on the underused downtown core.  She spoke of how this transformation was similar to efforts done throughout the state and specifically her own experience with this type of community revitalization effort.  “We’re building on that growth by funding projects as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative that will make needed infrastructure upgrades, streetscape improvements, and add housing and retail for residents. We are focused on revitalizing the area by supporting economic development that creates jobs, continues to attract businesses, and strengthens the economy of Long Island.” The Lt. Governor spoke about the importance of transit oriented development to be created with this funding and the necessary infrastructure needed to do it.  She discussed the goal of retaining and attracting millennials and empty nesters to live in the downtown area.  “People want to live with other people in downtown areas.  And those of us in government have to reverse some of the policies of the past that prohibit that or create limitations.”

The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include: 
Enhance the Pedestrian Experience in the Downtown Corridor: Install streetscape improvements along Carleton Avenue between Suffolk Avenue and Smith Street to enhance pedestrian safety and experience of the corridor, and to strengthen connections between downtown and other community resources. Improvements include corridor-wide amenities, as well as site-specific lighting, signage and trees defining a northern gateway to the corridor; a new Clayton Place Plaza adjacent to the fire department; and lighting at additional key locations. 
Install Infrastructure along Carleton Avenue: Introduce a sewer system in downtown Central Islip to eliminate current limitations to the area’s development and support a more varied and vibrant mix of commercial activities, including ‘wet uses’ like restaurants. This project consists of installing new sewer line along Carleton Avenue between Suffolk Avenue and Smith Street, promoting dense, mixed-use development along the corridor and laying the foundation for future investment. 
Redevelop Site of Former Train Station into a Mixed-Use Development: Transform the site of a former Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station into a transit-friendly, mixed-use development providing community members with affordable and market-rate apartments, retail space, a cultural facility, and a public plaza – all accessible from the current LIRR station. DRI funds will help the Town of Islip secure a developer for the site and offset costs associated with site acquisition, on-site improvements, vertical construction, parking, and gap financing. 
Create a Central Islip History Trail: Celebrate Central Islip’s history by developing a five-mile hiking and biking trail extending from the Federal Courthouse to the Historic Heines Homestead, with interpretive signage at historic sites along the way, encouraging historical tourism and active lifestyles. DRI funds will be used for trail costs within the DRI area, such as signage identifying six downtown sites, audio/phone enhancement, and distance markers. 

Construct a Downtown Mixed-Use Development: Construct a 26,000 square foot mixed-use multi-story building at 108 and 110 Carleton Avenue with ground-floor retail or commercial use and upper-story affordable apartments, parking, providing opportunities for downtown living, enabling new commercial uses, and increasing foot traffic. 
Create a Mixed-Use Development on a Prominent Downtown Corner: Build a two-story, mixed-use building on a highly visible corner of the corridor at 69 and 75 Carleton Avenue to provide opportunities for new commercial uses, parking, a mix of studio and one-bedroom residences for a multi-generational community, and a downtown destination for visitors and residents. 
Establish a Commercial Property Improvement Fund: Establish a grant program supporting the rehabilitation and improvement of buildings within the DRI area to support owners’ and merchants’ investment in the Carleton Avenue area, shift perception of the corridor, and attract new businesses, activities, and customers. Potential projects include façade enhancement, signage, or interior fit-out improvements. 
Central Islip developed a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Central Islip examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.

After the unveiling by the Lt. Governor, various elected officials each praised the governor, Lt. Governor, and the legislature for providing this funding opportunity to the community of Central Islip.  Many noted that this is a long time in the making and a huge step in the right direction for the revitalization the community has been looking for.

Senator Monica Martinez said, “Central Islip is now on the cusp of great things and we are all excited to see these projects come to fruition. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s smart economic polices like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, communities across Long Island are thriving and growing.”

 Assembly Member Phil Ramos said, “Thanks for Governor Cuomo and the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing Central Islip’s potential. The community will indeed make the most of these investments, which will pay dividends for years to come.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “This is a proud day for Central Islip, as we learn what projects will be funded through Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. These investments are smart in that they are targeted and structured to support further growth for our community.”

Town of Islip Supervisor Angie M. Carpenter said, “I am so proud of our Town and certainly Central Islip-today even more so as we see long-awaited investments come to life. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, our community will see positive growth and endless potential.”

Community leaders were happy to hear that the commitment to this project is still strong, however they voiced their disappointment in some of the projects not chosen for funding.  Projects such as upgrades to the community and senior centers were a top priority for the community and seen as a necessity.  There were also questions of how far into the community will the benefits stretch on some of these improvements like facade and streetscaping improvements.

Overall, the community continues to be invested in this project and will continue to follow the state closely on its progress. 

For more on this story, visit LIBN or Newsday. For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to:

Community Input Will Lead to New Look of Lynbrook Motel

This week Antony Bartone of Terwilliger and Bartone announced that the firm has purchased the Capri Lynbrook Motel.

The blighted motel has been a point of contention for the Village of Lynbrook causing public safety and quality of life issues for years. Residents have voiced their concerns about the motel and were on board with a new use for the site, however felt Bartone’s previous plan was too aggressive for the area resulting in the village denying the proposal.

With the pending purchase underway, both the village officials and residents seem optimistic for a plan more fitting to character and size of existing buildings. Bartone, a Vision Long Island board- member and past Smart Growth Award winner, explained that he heard the community’s concerns has set no plans to forward until he receives community input noting it as his top priority. He will be holding an open house on August 20th to get ideas and feedback from residents. “We don’t have a plan drafted yet because we want to make sure the community is engaged in the process,” Bartone said. “We want to meet with our neighbors and talk with them. At the end of the day, tearing down the Capri motel, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Currently environmental inspections are underway but no plans have been said until after the community meeting. Bartone expects to submit a proposal to the village in September with hearings to be held in October.

Bartone has been looking to develop in the Lynbrook area for several years calling the community “a gem”. With things moving forward, the Mayor Beach noted “I think it’s wonderful and we’re going in the right direction, and it seems very positive… What’s better than getting rid of such a tremendous headache for the village?”

For more on this story, visit LI Herald.

LIRR Introduces Special Kiosks to Aid Disabled Riders

“The Help Point is just one of many examples of the things that we’re doing to improve our relationship with our commuters,” said LIRR Government and Community Affairs Representative Vanessa Lockel. These special kiosks are a part of the LIRR’s imitative to improve commuter services and pedestrian safety around the train stations specifically designed for those with disability.

This new piloting technology provides panels on both sides of the track that are easily accessible and allow commuters access to customer services, emergency services and an array of services like boarding assistance with the simple push of a button. This panels are clearly marked and have various indicator lights which alerts LIRR personnel to the type of assistance that is needed and lets the commuter know help is on the way. 

Generated from feedback by commuters, particularity those in the LIRR Care program, LIRR President Phil Eng felt that The Help Point kiosks would give commuters “more confidence that they will be observed, but also help our employees better observe that there is somebody on the platform in need.”

This is the first step in the launch of the program which looks to install them at nearly 124 stations.  Eng also mentioned that they will look into other ways to improve that new system that is increasingly beneficial for those outside of mobility challenges as mentioned by several groups representing disabled commuters.

For more on this story, visit the LI Herald.

How do we keep young people on Long Island?

We are at a turning point on Long Island. The lasting impacts of the Great Recession and the student debt crisis are exacerbating the trend of young people struggling here and ultimately fleeing the area.

This isn’t about a theoretical future. It’s happening now, and it has a dollars-and-cents impact on everyone’s bottom line. Our tax base is shrinking. The more young people leave, the higher the tax bill our residents pay.

A new report from the Long Island Association shows that the number of people under age 19 fell 7.5 percent over the past seven years, raising concern about a worker shortage on the Island as birth rates continue to fall. According to another study, 67 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said they plan to leave Long Island in the next five years.

We must act now to address this problem head-on, which is why my administration has prioritized an agenda that focuses on reversing the “brain drain” and keeping our young people here.

Now that nearly the entire millennial generation is in the workforce, we must take seriously the need to adapt to meet its lifestyle needs. I firmly believe that securing a prosperous future means embracing change and reinventing our suburban model.

Let’s not beat around the bush: The cost of living here is too high for most young people. There isn’t enough affordable housing. Getting around can be difficult without a car.

The good news is that we have a clear path forward and boundless opportunity we can tap into. We’ve seen sustained job growth in the metropolitan area, while a population equal to the city of Boston moves into the region every decade. But if we expect to be part of this regional growth, we’ve got to work harder than ever to make Long Island attractive to new residents, businesses and workers.

From 2010 to 2017, suburban Long Island added only 16,000 housing units, and saw a decline in its young workforce. Other areas in our region are doing much more — such as northern New Jersey, which added 151,000 units in the same time period that Long Island added one-tenth that number, and has seen strong increases in its next-generation workforce.

There’s no way around it: We need more affordable housing options. That’s why I’ve supported new tax agreements that will enable developers to build affordable rental units in places like Garden City and Great Neck. We’re committed to continuing this momentum to create more realistic housing alternatives for our residents.

In Nassau County, we’re closing the deal on new, attractive destinations for young people like the Hub, which will be a residential, recreational and innovative district with high-wage, high-tech jobs. We’re promoting investment that creates high-wage jobs in industries like biomedical and information technology.

I’ve also encouraged our Industrial Development Agency to refocus its mission to attract next-generation industries and invest in forward-looking projects that will deliver sustainable economic benefits to Long Island.

Our young people also want a different neighborhood vibe. They’re attracted to walkable downtowns with apartments, restaurants and entertainment. Across the county, we’re focusing on revitalizing our downtowns and promoting transit-oriented development.

Farmingdale, Great Neck Plaza, Hicksville, Mineola, Rockville Centre and Westbury have focused on developing transit-oriented housing and retail options in vibrant, walkable downtowns. With greater building density where it makes sense and proximity to Long Island Rail Road stations for easy commutes, apartments are rapidly filling up, some with waiting lists.

We must continue building on these efforts and raise our voices in support of more transit-oriented development and walkable downtowns. I’m pleased to see that Baldwin and Valley Stream are now seeking grant funding from Empire State Development to pursue their own downtown revitalizations.

We will also continue our push for the zoning changes necessary to create more affordable housing options. I applaud Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney‘s new commission to study zoning, with an eye toward welcoming more density and mixed-use development. I was delighted to join King Sweeney and Town Supervisor Laura Gillen for the recent kickoff meeting.

I urge my partners in both the private and public sectors to work with the county to meet this challenge. I will continue this dialogue wherever I go, no matter the audience — at civic associations, senior centers, school boards, business roundtables or houses of worship.

Our young people need us to act now. Building a Long Island that can continue to thrive requires us to embrace forward-looking change, and not wait until it’s too late.

-Hon. Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive

LI Herald

Long Island’s First-Ever Mead Festival

Long Island’s only mead and honey festival! Hosted by the Lindenhurst Chamber of Commerce and W A Meadwerks.

Join us on National Mead Day at the Lindenhurst Village Gazebo to sample amazing local and national meaderies. Including Beacon Meadery, Enlightenment Wines, Haymaker Meadery, Meridian Hive, Mutiny Distribution, MYSTO MEAD, Remarkable Liquids Distribution, Slate Point Meadery, & W A Meadwerks with more being added every day. Sample on site or purchase bottles/cans to go*.

Also featuring: Sandt’s Honey Co., The Long Island Beekeeping Society, live demonstrations, live music, and food trucks. Vote for your favorite mead in the home mead making competition between: Brewers East End Revival, Handgrenades Homebrew and Craft Beer Club, and Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts.

Don’t delay getting your ticket! Tickets go up in price day-of and may be sold out. If not sold out, general admission (GA) tickets will be available day-of online and at the door for $45.

For more information or for tickets, click here.

Board Game Themed Cafe Among Latest Trendy Themed Destinations on LI

More and more, Long Islanders are starting to unplug and head out to enjoy the diverse selection of entertainment Long Island has to offer. Whether its paint night, escape rooms, or just dinner at a local main street restaurant; trendy themed activities are drawing people to staycations close to home. 

Neil Goldberg, the owner of Main St. Board Game Café in Huntington has joined the trend. Goldberg, a former NY1 sports producer and longtime board-game enthusiast, decided to bring his idea of a board game eatery to Long Island after seeing a similar café in Manhattan. “Nostalgia-based entertainment is very big these days,” he said. “Parents love to share something they did as a kid with their kids.”

“The expansion of experiential activities on Long Island enhances our destination from a live, work, play perspective and showcases the wonderful quality of life and memory building experiences we offer to both residents and visitors,” Kristen Jarnagin, President and CEO of Discover Long Island. “It’s wonderful to see an increase of support for our local businesses which result in local job creation and generates local tax revenue that benefits every Long Island resident.” 

For more on this story, visit LIBN.

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; 
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

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