Smart Talk June 23rd – 29th, 2018

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we attend Walk Audits with AARP Long Island, review the latest NYS legislative session in Albany, look in on efforts to improve Huntington Station, and more..

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June 23rd – 29th, 2018


REGIONAL UPDATES

Zucaro Construction

Founded in 1978, Zucaro Construction has grown to become one of the most respected and competitive General Contractors in the Long Island and the Metropolitan Area. Its founder, Andrew Zucaro, formed his company with the traditional values and attention to details that have guided him throughout his professional career.

With field experience and an extensive background in commercial, industrial and high-end residential construction management,coupled with “old school” business ethics as his foundation, it is not surprising to find Andrew Zucaro on site, managing each project in detail from beginning to end, ensuring satisfaction every step of the way.

Over the last 32 years, specializing in General Contracting and Construction Management, Zucaro Construction has paid great focus in compiling a lineup of seasoned and polished sub-contractors that meet Andrew Zucaro’s very high standards of workmanship and reliability. When combined with Zucaro Construction’s in-house crew, the result is a powerhouse team.

“Participating in a walking audit helps you see a place from a different perspective.  Most of the time we drive along a busy road and never really understand how difficult or even dangerous it can be for others. The walking audit helps you experience what it’s like to walk in a place and how it can be improved.” – Elissa Kyle, Vision Long Island Placemaking Director

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Vision and AARP Conduct Walk Audits in Nassau Downtowns

Vision was out this month with AARP Long Island volunteers to conduct Walk Audits in four Nassau County downtowns. The Walk Audits took place in the downtowns of Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Hicksville and Freeport around and adjacent to their LIRR stations.

Some of these areas have seen a high amount of pedestrian and bicycle crashes over the past several years, and are among some of the most dangerous roads in downtowns for pedestrians and cyclists on Long Island .   These areas were chosen from our study results and were presented at the Complete Streets Summit in April.

Many communities in the United States were designed exclusively or almost exclusively for automobile travel, with very little consideration given to the needs of pedestrians. A scarcity of sidewalks, multi-lane roadways that are unsafe to cross, and a lack of street maintenance are some of the factors that discourage or outright prevent people from walking. One of AARP’s goals has been to embrace Complete Streets policies for not only their members who are over the age of 50, but for people of all ages through Age-Friendly Communities. By promoting Age-Friendly Communities, those who commit benefit from diverse citizen engagement by encouraging signatories to engage residents in a process to identify the community’s needs, and develop and implement an action plan to address those needs. Currently, there are 263 Age-Friendly Communities in the U.S., including the Village of Great Neck Plaza, City of Glen Cove, Towns of Brookhaven and North Hempstead, and the County of Suffolk on Long Island.

“Participating in a walking audit helps you see a place from a different perspective,” said Vision Long Island’s Placemaking Director Elissa Kyle. “Most of the time we drive along a busy road and never really understand how difficult or even dangerous it can be for others. The walking audit helps you experience what it’s like to walk in a place and how it can be improved.”

Those participating in the Walk Audits were able to give their individual perspective on their downtown’s strengths and opportunities in terms or walkability and safety, and provided suggestions for improvements. Among things observed were crossing and traffic signal availability and timing, turning lanes, curb cuts, sidewalk availability and repair, crosswalk and vehicle stop lines, signage, vehicle speeds, bus shelter availability, visibility of vehicles and pedestrians, ADA compliance issues, and availability of shade along the walks. Some of those participating used canes, walkers, wheelchairs, strollers and crutches to walk in the shoes of and provide suggestions for improvements for those with functional needs.

Information gathered from the Walk Audits will be compiled and analyzed in the near future, and findings and suggestions will be provided to the respective government agencies for suggested action. The results from the study and continued study in other areas will be forthcoming, so stay tuned for more information. 

You can learn more about AARP’s efforts through their Livable Communities initiatives here. You can also read about Long Island’s most dangerous roads here.

NYS 2017-18 Legislative Session Roundup

The Long Island Lobby Coalition, of which Vision is a founding member, was pleased to see that this year’s NYS Legislative Session ended with many positive developments from the 100 member LI Lobby Coalition agenda.

The diverse group was founded in 2009 with a goal of unifying the numerous community, environment, small business, labor and human services groups into a single force for change. Since then, the Coalition has been able to get ten bills passed, numerous budgetary and regulatory proposals enacted, and several key Long Island infrastructure projects funded through our collective efforts.

In early March of 2018 they would return to Albany for its 10th annual Lobby Day so as to push for many of Long Island’s priorities and needs. The agenda for the trip is based off suggestions drawn from the groups and individuals who make up the coalition. They would meet with members of the NYS Assembly, the NYS Senate, and staff from the Governor’s office, who were all receptive to the message brought by the group.

The results from this year’s lobbying efforts include:

Under economic development, small business and jobs:
– The Internet Sales Tax was not advanced in the budget or by legislation, but the US Supreme Court paved the way for future legislation on this critical issue while support was rallied by local chambers of commerce and Counties around the State.
– The Small Business Savings Accounts passed the Senate again but was not voted on in the Assembly.
– The NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative was funded for a third round and NYS AIM funding stayed stable.

For Transportation:
– Bus funding for NICE and Suffolk County Transit stayed stable. 
– NYS Pedestrian Safety Action Plan funding was released to local municipalities with LI receiving $12 million in the first round for local traffic calming improvements.
– The Commuter Benefit Ordinance received slight changes that will make the program more usable for businesses.

For Environment, water and energy issues:
– Manufacturer Funded Safe Disposal Program was passed.
– Off Shore Wind continued to be a priority for NYS

On Housing & Human Services:
– Funding from DHCR for housing and human service saw an increase.
– There was a small increase in Child Care funding with past cuts also restored.
– The Secure Choice Savings Program was in the budget.

Critical Infrastructure Projects:
– Sunrise Highway Traffic Calming is slated to move forward in specific locations.
– Hicksville Train Station & Traffic Calming after funding from the NYS DRI and the County traffic study improvements and repaving are advancing.
– Kings Park sewers and land transfer – $20 million for the sewers was passed in last years budget but the land transfer was approved by the Senate, but held up in the Assembly
– Huntington Station land transfer – This bill was passed.
– Route 347 Greenway – local community and businesses are in support but money has not been advanced yet.

All told, progress was made in a number of areas this session but work still needs to be done. The exciting news is that diverse coalitions of supporters have emerged around each of the key items on this agenda, which will help ensure future passage.

Cross Sound Bridge Plan Scrapped After Coalition Forms to Fight Project

Governor Cuomo’s administration announced on Thursday that they had abandoned a proposal to build a bridge or tunnel across the Long Island Sound.

NYS had previously conducted a $5 million study on the subject and found that a cross sound connection would only be viable from the Town of Oyster Bay to Westchester or from Kings Park to Connecticut.  The study would also go on to state that a cost of $31.5 billion to $55.4 billion would be incurred and that the connection would create economic growth in the area.  This study has been disputed by local officials, who are concerned with the environmental and quality of life impact such a project would have had on local communities.

The announcement comes just as a new coalition with plans to stop Governor Cuomo’s proposal for a cross sound connection had been formed with a collection of private and public officials.

The Coalition Against An UnSound Crossing held their first press conference just this last week at the Syosset-Woodbury Community Park.  Coalition President Heather Johnson and Executive Director Peter Janow stood with more than a dozen lawmakers from the area in and around Oyster Bay.  The coalition cited the environmental impact of the project and how it could adversely affect water quality.  Elected officials present and in support included Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, State Assemblymen Michael Montesano, Edward Ra, and Charles Levine.

“For almost a century, state leaders have looked to build a crossing, and for almost a century, environmental activists and concerned local residents have come out in force to block these plans,” said Peter Janow. “Our mission is to provide the same detailed facts on environmental impacts, traffic studies and economic concerns that have resulted in the end of these proposals for so many decades.”

Vision Long Island’s board had not taken a position on the proposal for a cross sound connection.  While transportation upgrades do often increase opportunities, there are numerous local infrastructure and transportation projects that require attention before such a large undertaking.  It is also important that any such project has input from local communities that are most affected by them.

You can read more the coalition herehere and here, and the scrapping of the plans here.

NYS Approves Land Transfer for Huntington Station Redevelopment Plans

4 acres of state owned land near the Huntington train station and central to Huntington Station’s redevelopment plans have been approved for transfer to the Town.

The property includes a portion of the parking lot next to the Community First Aid Squad, which will go towards plans to build a hotel, and a linear lot between Railroad and Church, which will have artist lofts on the site.  The land will be assessed at fair market value and then sold to the Town, who will then sell the land to Renaissance Downtown for development.  Terms of the transfer to Renaissance have not yet been finalized.

This serves as another bit of good news from a fractured and chaotic NYS legislative session. After over three years of lobbying for the move, Vision and Long Island Lobby Coalition are happy to see the NYS Senate and Assembly approve the transfer.  The land can now go from an underutilized parking lot in Huntington Station to help assist in the long-awaited revitalization.  NYS was instrumental in tearing down the old downtown over 40 years ago to create parking lots, and now can help bring back a true center.

We would like to give a special thanks to Long Island members of the NYS Senate and Assembly who pushed for this change, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci who fought for it as an Assemblyman, Master Developer Renaissance Downtowns, and members of the LI Lobby Coalition for regular meetings to help keep this project going.

You can read more here.

Riverhead Planning Clean-Up Day for LIRR Station

The Town of Riverhead is preparing to announce a clean-up day for their Long Island Railroad station according to Supervisor Jens-Smith.

The goal of the event will be to visually clean up the area ahead of planned MTA improvements that include fixing up the bricks on the station house and repainting columns.  The Town also stated that they are working with Suffolk County to move the nearby bus station further west in order to allow two buses to pull in at the same time.

It is hoped that these improvements will increase the sense of walkability surrounding the station.

The station has also been having issues with people loitering in the area. The Town is hoping to reduce that as part of their effort to reduce littering around the station.  The Town Board will try to to organize an anti-littering campaign with local volunteers and input from residents.  The thought is that such a campaign will increase awareness and keep people using the station from littering.

You can read more here.

Habitat for Humanity Suffolk Seeks New Executive Director

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk seeks a dynamic, passionate Executive Director for this thirty year- old affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat Suffolk partners with families in our community to help them build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Our new Executive Director should be committed to the work and mission of Habitat, desiring to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the new executive will be a strong and visionary leader, setting goals and creating the strategies to meet them that promote Habitat’s mission of homeownership.

You can view the full job description and list of necessary requirements for the position here.

To apply, e-mail cover letter explaining why you are a great fit with the position’s requirements, your resume, and your salary requirements for this position to: Habitat@raffa.com  (e-mail applications are required).  For other inquiries contact Ginna Goodenow at ggoodenow@raffa.com

Help Long Island Coalition for the Homeless with the Scott Martella School Supply Drive for LI Kids

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless is honored to partner with the family of Scott Martella, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Long Island Cares for the Scott Martella School Supplies Drive!  The goal for the ONLINE portion of the drive is to collect 1,000 items – to help toward a goal of distributing up to 4,000 *brand new* back packs with school supplies for Long Island kids in need!

YOU CAN HELP! Please use this link to donate school supplies through “You Give Goods”, or visit the website www.addressthehomeless.org for a list of locations where you can drop off donations throughout Long Island (the list is GROWING and is updated weekly!).

Want to conduct your own drive? Let them know! They can provide boxes, fliers, and assistance. Please contact lburkhardt@addressthehomeless.org for more information!

Save the Date for AARP Long Island’s Racial and Ethnic Disparities Forum on September 6th

Please join AARP Long Island in an important forum about the significant rcial and ethnic disparities that currently exist among New York’s 50+ multicultural communities. The event will take place on Thursday, September 6th, from 8 to 11 am, at the Hofstra University Club. We will update this article with registration information as soon as it’s available, so keep an eye on this spot!

NYS Consolidated Funding Applications Available

NYS Consolidated Funding Applications are now available, with a firm deadline of 4:30Pm on July 27th. Applicants are encouraged to apply before the deadline. A total of 11 NYS agency’s funding streams are in this collaborative process. These opportunities can be open to municipalities nad non-profit entities.

NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) has been created that will streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. Utilizing the CFA serving as the single entry point for access to economic development funding, applicants will no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects will use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive.

It is important to note that there are 11 different agencies involved in this process, each having different criteria. The system allows for applicants to see what grants they are eligible for, and use previously submitted applications.

If you would like more information you can see upcoming Town Board meetings with CFA overviews, workshops, and ESD open houses as well as access the CFA application here.

Sustainability Grants Available From Shell

Shell is making monetary grants to nonprofit organizations within the U.S.  Priority consideration will be given to organizations in or near communities where Shell Oil Company or its affiliates in the United States have a major presence.

Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to submit proposals if they meet the general eligibility criteria and contribution guidelines.  Shell will consider charitable contributions to eligible nonprofit organizations with priority consideration given to organizations serving in or near US communities where Shell has a major presence.  Focus areas for funding are civic and human needs in the community while promoting healthy lifestyles, energy awareness with special publics, increasing interest in technical careers among students and professional development in science and math among educators, and biodiversity initiatives with support to programs that restore critical eco systems, address water, air quality research, preserve wetlands and sponsor wetlands initiatives.

You can find further requirements and restrictions for the grants here.

Smart Growth Action Grants Available from National Association of Realtors

Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The Smart Growth Program offers state and local REALTOR® Associations to way to engage with government officials, community partners and the general public in planning and designing community’s future.

Smart Growth Action Grants support a wide range of land-use and transportation-related activities. These activities must support REALTOR® engagement in land-use and/or transportation-related community issues with the primary goal of affecting public policies that support development that meets one or more of the 10 Smart Growth Principles. The project should also raise the profile of REALTORS® as community leaders and enhance REALTOR® relationships with local elected officials. There are no program prerequisites to applying for or being awarded a Smart Growth Action Grant.

You can see the different types of grants available and how to apply here.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee of New York Releases Summertime Cyclist PSA

Summertime means more cyclists on our roadways. Check out this new PSA developed by the AAA, and the League of American Bicyclists in conjunction with the GTSC and other NYS safety groups. Bicycle riders are people’s children, spouses, and siblings. They have the same responsibilities as drivers to follow traffic signs and signals, but give them space (safety advocates suggest 3 feet) and respect their right to use the road. And, cyclists, don’t forget to wear a helmet and be visible!

Check out the video here.

Smart Talk

Editor:
Eric Alexander, Director

Contributors:
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; 
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program 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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