Smart Talk June 30th – July 6th, 2018

 

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we attend the Governor’s announcement of DRI funding for Hicksville, check in on Huntington’s plans for a parking garage, read about new shuttle service for Port Washington, and more…

 

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June 30th – July 6th, 2018


Regional Updates

Harras, Bloom & Archer

The Melville, New York, law office of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP is known for providing sophisticated legal representation to sophisticated clients. The Long Island real estate law and litigation attorneys work with diverse clients in a wide range of real property, land use and zoning and business litigation matters, and have contributed to the success of many notable projects in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Hudson Valley, New York City and the surrounding areas.

The firm’s top priority is to obtain the most favorable results possible as they pertain to the needs of Global retailers, Entertainment companies, Local developers of commercial and residential communities, Office buildings, Shopping centers, and Small businesses of all types.

Beyond representing a diverse clientele in complex litigation matters between companies and individuals, Harras Bloom & Archer LLP advises clients in legal matters taken before municipal boards, departments and government agencies. Ultimately, the most important aspect of these nuanced areas of law is helping clients make sound decisions with regard to investments and their bottom line. Founding partners John Harras, Paul Bloom and Keith Archer work relentlessly to this end, using their extensive legal resources and experience in the local legal community to achieve the results their clients are looking for.

“They don’t want to do the commute. They don’t want the big backyard and to cut the grass. They want those walkable, dense — ‘smart communities’ they’re called. And that has to be a new vision for Long Island, and that is exactly the vision that you have here at Hicksville.” – NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo said, speaking on young people trying to stay on Long Island.

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Governor Cuomo Announces Hicksville DRI Funding

Vision Board and staff were out this week along with the Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Committee to hear Governor Cuomo announce Hicksville DRI funding.

The initial round of funding includes money for train station upgrades, public space and pedestrian walkways, and support for ground level retail and housing.  These improvements have been priorities for the community over many years according to the Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Committee.

“They don’t want to do the commute. They don’t want the big backyard and to cut the grass,” Cuomo said, speaking on New York State’s commitment to funding downtown Hicksville. “They want those walkable, dense — ‘smart communities’ they’re called. And that has to be a new vision for Long Island, and that is exactly the vision that you have here at Hicksville.”

Vision was happy to see a good turnout from local community leaders representing four different civics, the chamber and the majority of the revitalization committee.  Elected and appointed officials also in attendance included: NYS Senator Elaine Phillips; Assemblymembers Michael Montesano, David McDonough, and Chuck Lavine; Nassau County Legislators Rose Walker and Laura Schaefer; Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joe Saladino; Councilmembers Rebecca Alesia, Michelle Johnson, and Lou Imbroto; Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey; and LIRR president Phil Eng.

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding – now in its third year – has been a priority of the LI Lobby Coalition for a long time now and Hicksville is the second winner of the grant after the Village of Westbury.

This funding from NYS will assist the implementation of the zoning plan that was shaped by the local community over the last 8 years and is now moving forward with the Town of Oyster Bay.  We are excited to see the Governor embrace the vision for downtown Hicksville developed by local residents and business owners who are in touch with what is needed in the community.

You can read more here and here.

Huntington Business Leaders Discuss Possible Parking Garage

A town committee for Huntington pledged to find a solution to parking issues has been speaking with local business leaders on the possibility of a parking garage in the village.

Bob Scheiner, who sits on Vision’s board, David Walsdorf, and Dave Panetta make up the steering committee for the Huntington Village Parking Consortium.  The Consortium is a collection of local business interests and stakeholders with an interest in solving the parking issues in Huntington Village. It is composed of the town itself, the EDC, the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, the Huntington Village Business Improvement District, and the Paramount Theater.  

This past Monday the steering committee met with a group of local merchants to discuss interest in building a garage as well as the results of a previously completed study on parking needs in the Village.  The 2013 study was commissioned by the Parking Consortium and was conducted by engineering firm Nelson Nygaard. The study produced several recommendations that have been implemented in recent years such as muni-meters with premium pricing in high traffic areas, valet parking, and shuttles.  

These changes along with land acquisitions and leases used to create 150 additional spaces have helped to alleviate some of the issues, but parking in the village is still consistently above capacity during peak hours.  The town has been strongly considering a multilevel parking garage in the center of the village, but is having difficulty finding a funding plan that doesn’t cause it to go over the 2% tax cap. One plan under consideration would be the creation of a public benefit corporation that could then bond the project like a municipality.

The committee consulted with Bethpage based Level G on how a privately bonded project could generate enough cash to pay for itself.  The proposed solution was to create a pay lot that generates 370 additional spaces on three levels. But it may require all municipal lots to become pay lots in Huntington in order to drive people to use it and generate the cash necessary to pay off the bond.  The committee acknowledged that parking issues would intensify during construction, which was part of the reason for looking to see how much support the project had.

There were not enough local business owners at the meeting to get a feel for local opinion, according to Scheiner, who stated that the committee will likely conduct a survey to see how owners who would be affected by construction felt.

You can read more here.

Northport Hotel Project Makes Progress

A proposed 24-room boutique hotel and restaurant proposed for downtown Northport on Main Street has been approved for a package of economic incentives by the Suffolk County IDA.

The $11 million project is part of efforts to revitalize the building at 255 Main Street, which has hosted restaurants and office space in the past.  The developers of the project are also the owners of the Engeman Theatre, which is located across the street from the proposed site of the hotel. The theatre is credited with bringing more than 110,000 people to the community each year and employs more than 200 people.

The company has pledged to bring 40 jobs to the area after completion in exchange for the economic package from the IDA.

“The proposed renovation will fill a void in an area absent of hotels and, in turn, stimulate the local economy,” said SCIDA executive director Tony Catapano. “The IDA is pleased to play a role in this project that will generate significant tax revenue for the Northport community.”

You can read more here.

New Shuttle Service Opens for Port Washington Commuters

A new shuttle service at Long Island’s Port Washington LIRR station is looking to alleviate some issues with riders vying for coveted spots.

Port Washington-based Jiffy shuttles will launch this summer with a singular goal of reducing the congestion caused by competing commuters.  The idea was originally proposed by the community in a late 2016 parking and traffic survey conducted for a Town committee. Port Washington received the most votes as the part of town most in need of a shuttle service.  Once the survey was shared publicly, a partnership between the village of Port Washington North, Jiffy Shuttle, and local Port Washington nonprofit Residents Forward was created to move the idea forward.

“Parking has been a problem in our community for so long and it’s only getting worse,” said Mindy Germain, executive director of Residents Forward. “People are looking for alternatives because there are really not enough parking spots.”

The shuttle service will require a $169 a month membership or a $49 ten ride pass. The membership will allow for unlimited rides during peak hours with 6 spots designated for pickup nearby.  Riders can recommend additional routes that will be reviewed for possible addition later. A soft opening date of August 20th has been announced with limited membership with an official launch coming in the fall. Preregistrations are ongoing.

“If it’s raining or if it’s snowing or cold, how do you get the prime spot?” said Village Mayor Bob Weitzner said. “I think one of the beautiful things about the shuttle, aside from weather, is to be able to time your train more to when you need to be at work as compared to when you need to get a spot.”

Port Washington joins Huntington village and Patchogue as the third community to introduce a shuttle service to help alleviate parking issues and boost transportation during peak hours.

You can read more here.  You can also check out the company and look in to preregistration here.

A 4th of July Message from our Director Eric Alexander

So on this 4th of July if you have been watching the news these last couple of years it’s hard to believe that what we are seeing is the America we have experienced and placed our faith in the last few decades.

So first the bad news that we all know but let’s get it out of the way:

The bulk of the news we see online represents a national, regional, political and corporate culture that in most cases has proven to be truly power mad, self serving, greed obsessed, elitist and radically out of touch with real people.

An entertainment driven culture that has made us narcissistic, food, entertainment and leisure obsessed playing to our worst instincts. An entire generation of kids have been prey to this nonsense and it shows in their level of entitlement.

An elitist culture that has radically lost touch with working people of all incomes and backgrounds.

A corporate press that thrives on conflict and drives the news daily with a broader populace that has lost the ability to discuss, communicate and sort out issues with each other. Worse yet we have allowed varying emotionally unhealthy, extremist voices to dominate our culture.

We have allowed technology, and the communication platforms that it provides, to treat us like zombies, zap the spirit of humanity, take our privacy, time, make us susceptible to bullying and lead us to higher levels of depression. Hell the internet is now our drug dealer – go on the dark net and grab some cocaine or opioids. Worse yet stay on your phone at a concert, through a conversation, meeting or time with your friends and family. A true deadening of the human spirit.

But that is not all that we are and damn if we should allow all that garbage to define us. We as individuals, communities and a nation are better than that and have choices.

Just in my experience of living and working with good people on Long Island:

Local businesses anchor our main streets and provide jobs. Labor leaders are working to provide jobs, training and apprenticeships.

Environmental leaders protect our water defend against projects that are out of scale and assist our quality of life.

Artists and musicians create and inspire every day for minimal financial reward.

Athletes compete for the love of the sport and bring pride to their families and communities.

Local governments and community leaders work hard each day to solve problems and keep a sense of place in our many neighborhoods.

Education, health, public safety professionals and volunteers help us through learning, treatment and emergencies each day.

Community, religious and service organizations assist some of the neediest among us.

Diverse cultures make their way on Long Island with the vast majority integrating into public life and contributing to the fabric of our communities

And the bulk of us are simply folks working, managing their families, friendships with a good spirit.

Use this time to strengthen these family and community relationships and continue to believe in America and not all this division shoveled our way.
Believe in the people and communities that are the bedrock of the spirit of this great nation and the freedoms it brings.

Happy 4th of July!

Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery to Hold Outreach Event on July 18th

The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s (GOSR) invite you to attend the M/WBE, Section 3 Business, and SDVOB Outreach Event on Wednesday, July 18th. The purpose of the outreach event is to connect Minority, Women-owned Business Enterprises, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, and Section 3 businesses to GOSR’s Contractors in the Housing, Infrastructure, and Community Reconstruction Programs.

The event will take place on Wednesday, July 18th, from 10:00 am – 1 pm, at 510 Grumman Road West in Bethpage.

Event highlights include the following: M/WBE and Section 3 Businesses will have the opportunity to meet with existing GOSR Contractors for the Housing, Infrastructure, and Community Reconstruction program; GOSR Contractors will also provide information on their current contracts and any upcoming contracting opportunities; The event is free and only open to New York State-certified M/WBE and Section 3 Businesses.

Registration is strongly encouraged. Please Click Here  to complete the registration form. The registration deadline is Friday, July 13th 2018.

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!

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!

NYSDOT Offering Funding for Clean Air Act Complaint Transportation Projects

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program NYSDOT is making available up to $100 million in funding to support bicycle, pedestrian, multiuse path and transportation-related projects and programs that help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. These funds are provided through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ).

Eligible applicants include local governments, regional transportation authorities, transit agencies, natural resource or public land agencies, tribal governments, local or regional governmental transportation or recreational trail entities and NYSDOT (for CMAQ only). A total of $100 million is available, with $56 million for funding under TAP and $44 million for funding under CMAQ. The deadline is August 16, 2018,at 4 p.m.

Contact TAP-CMAQ@dot.ny.gov for more information or head to their website www.dot.ny.gov/TAP-CMAQ

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.

Where American Politics Can Still Work: From the Bottom Up

It was great to see this piece by Tom Friedman in The NY Times acknowledging the tremendous work that is happening in local communities across the country. 

Really reflective of what we see happening with local groups around LI’s many downtowns. Give it a read here.

Smart Talk

Editor:
Eric Alexander, Director

Contributors:
Christopher Kyle, Communications
Director;

Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;

Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

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Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
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