Smart Talk May 26th – June 22nd, 2018

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we look in on Nassau County’s RFEI for the HUB, review funding and opportunities across Long Island, attend PinkTie.org’s annual event, go to the movies in Lynbrook, and more…

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May 26th – June 22nd, 2018


REGIONAL UPDATES

National Grid

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world – covering Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and the UK.

They are at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society—delivering clean energy to support our world long into the future. Every day they work with stakeholders to promote the development and implementation of sustainable, innovative and affordable energy solutions.

They are proud of the contributions their work and their people make to the prosperity and wellbeing of their customers, communities and investors.

“We are casting a wide net and looking for innovative proposals. We want as many ideas as possible and are very interested in a corporate employer and high-wage jobs.” – Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive, speaking on the newly issued RFEI for the Nassau HUB

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Nassau County Releases RFEI for Nassau HUB

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has formally released an RFEI to gather proposals for the future development of the 72 acres surrounding the Nassau Coliseum, known as the Nassau HUB.

The Request for Expressions of Interest will attempt to solicit plans from developers and corporate organizations who are hoping to develop the property.  The draft copy refers to the area as the “Nassau Hub Innovation District,” and comes three weeks after a rejected proposal from the Blumenfeld Development Group.  That proposal had called for a build-out of an “arena district” that would have included entertainment, retail, housing, and office space.  Curran’s administration had indicated that they thought the proposed plan might compete with the plan for a new Islanders arena at Belmont Park.

Instead, Curran will look to others in order to gather as many options as possible before choosing a way forward.  “We are casting a wide net and looking for innovative proposals,” Curran said. “We want as many ideas as possible and are very interested in a corporate employer and high-wage jobs.”

“Kudos to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran for putting out an RFEI for the long planned Nassau Hub redevelopment,” said Vision’s Director Eric Alexander. “Some progress has been made in recent years with sewer upgrades at Cedar Creek, a grant for a parking garage and a newly refurbished Coliseum despite the loss of the Islanders. With a new round of proposals that will reflect the current market possibilities there is an opportunity to finally get the planning right involving the local community and surrounding uses as well. Vision and a number of other groups backed this decision and are very happy to see it move forward.”

You can read more here.

NYS Provides Funding for Pedestrian Safety on Long Island

Vision was encouraged to see New York State provide dedicated funds for pedestrian safety in this first grant round, which will start to address some of LI’s dangerous roadways.

A total of $12.78 million has been allotted for pedestrian safety projects on Long Island, including:

• $2.78 million for locations in the towns of Huntington, Islip, Brookhaven, Smithtown and Babylon, for pedestrian signals.
• $4.13 million for locations in the towns of Huntington, Islip, Brookhaven, Smithtown, Riverhead and Southampton, for Phase 2 of Suffolk County’s Pedestrian Signal Safety Improvement project
• $330,000 to Nassau County for a project in the village of Great Neck Plaza in the town of North Hempstead for curb extensions at the intersection of South Middle Neck Road and Barstow Road
• $4.22 million for locations in the towns of Hempstead, Oyster Bay and North Hempstead, the village of Freeport in the town of Hempstead, and the city of Glen Cove, for safety improvements at crosswalks
• $1.32 million to the Town of Brookhaven
Special thanks to Governor and legislature for approving the funds in the budget and for the advocates from the LI Complete Streets Coalition and LI Lobby Coalition who pressed for the many improvements.

You can view the full document containing approved funding for projects across the state here.

10 Opportunity Zones get Approval on Long Island

The federal government has given its blessing to 10 “opportunity zones” across Long Island in an effort to boost local prosperity.

Opportunity Zones is the name used to refer to economically distressed census tracts that are being offered the opportunity to increase investment.  Part of that is the reduction or elimination of capital gains taxes incurred at the end of 10 years.  The program examines poverty levels and offers the designation to zones that meet those requirements as well as adjacent zones that may benefit the first.  Enterprise Park in Calverton is the only Long Island designated zone that does not meet poverty requirements.

The 10 approved zones include census tracts located in Hempstead, which had 2 such zones, Long Beach, Glen Cove, Huntington Station, Wyandanch, Central Islip, East Patchogue, Riverhead, and Enterprise Park in Calverton.

The designation is part of the recently approved federal tax law, which states that 20% of the residents must be below the federal poverty level.  This will free up tax incentives for local developers to spur new construction and create jobs.  Governor Cuomo chose 500 tracts to submit to the federal government out of 2,000 qualifying applicants.  The final round of approvals came earlier this week.

Vision Joins PinkTie.org for their 6th Annual Fundraiser

Vision Long Island Board and staff were at the Carltun in Eisenhower Park this last week for the 6th Annual PinkTie.org fundraising event to help out Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Over 2,000 people took part in the festivities, which included great local food and drink, cigars, fireworks, music and sports celebrities.  It was great to also see Nassau County Executive Laura Curran drop by to support this very unique model of corporate philanthropy.  Congratulations to Rich and Mike Cave from 1st Equity Title and Pink Tie, and their team including Trinity Solar and others for putting together another top notch event.

Special thanks goes to Run for Cover and the Electric Dudes for donating their talents on the second stage.

Regal Cinemas Opens in Downtown Lynbrook

This past Thursday saw the long awaited grand opening of the new Regal Cinema in downtown Lynbrook.

The new theater is expected to be a big draw in the incorporated Village’s downtown, and increase foot traffic to the surrounding area.  The project experienced some delays and was pushed back from its previous opening date set for Thanksgiving of 2017.  To celebrate opening their doors, Regal held four days worth of events culminating in a Thursday night screening of the new Jurassic Park film.

“It’s wonderful for the Village of Lynbrook that the movie theater is opening,” Mayor Alan Beach said. “We are all extremely excited and anticipate plenty of foot traffic downtown from our surrounding communities.”

The new building was built on the site of the previous antiquated movie theater that was shuttered in January 2016 and razed later that summer.  The new building contains 13 auditoriums, with 12 ranging from 60 to 100 seats and the primary one holding 160.  There are also spacious recliners, digital projection systems including 3D, kiosks for automated ticket purchases, and mobile tickets that are purchasable on Regal’s app.

Parking was somewhat in contention with Vision conducting a parking analysis this year on the Village’s ability to accommodate the theater’s needs.  51 spaces were eliminated for the new building, but Lynbrook’s Mayor Alan Beach expressed confidence in the surrounding area to accommodate moviegoers.  He noted that most local businesses are closed during prime movie times in the evenings and weekends.  There will also be valet parking available, and Beach noted that the Village will make 695 parking spaces permissible for four-hour parking to allow for Regal patrons.

You can read more here.

Southampton Looks to Create New Sewage Treatment Options for Riverside

The Town of Southampton has approved the purchase of a land parcel to serve as the site of a new sewage treatment plant to help increase capacity in downtown Riverside.

The board voted last week to approve the purchase of the land and set in motion the construction of the new plant on a vacant, 1.5 acre property located on Enterprise Zone in Riverside.  The purchase will use Community Preservation Fund money which was authorized in 2016 for water quality improvement projects by local voters.  The Fund can now use up to 20% of CPF money for such projects, but was initially only authorized for purchasing open space or farmland development rights.  The CPF itself is the result of a 2% real estate transfer tax.

The cost of the new plant is unclear at this point, but purchase of the land will not exceed $407,000.  The purchase also comes at a time when the Town Board is looking for options to help increase sewage capacity and help grow businesses in Riverside.  Southampton is also currently examining legislation that would allow smaller community wastewater systems in densely populated residential areas in the Town.

You can read more here.

Huntington Hopes to Ease Parking Woes with Qwik Ride

The free app-based shuttle service Qwik Ride is looking to expand in to Huntington Village, and local business owners are mulling new employee requirements.

Huntington Village has become notorious for difficult to find parking, especially on prime restaurant nights when the local Paramount Theater is hosting a show.  Qwik Ride is looking to help out with that by using shuttles that will transfer people from outlying parking lots to the heart of the Village.  It is hoped that local businesses will ask their employees to use the new service and help free up some of the prime parking that gets locked up for hours by workers during their shift.

“At peak times there’s just not enough spaces for people to park. That’s when you see people circling around and around. It hurts business,” said Huntington Village BID President Jack Palladino.

Qwik Ride originally launched on Long Island at Patchogue Village on Cinco de Mayo in order to move patrons from waterfront restaurants that suffer from a dearth of parking to more accessible village lots.  In about 6 weeks, the ride sharing service has given out nearly 600 free rides for around 1,000 people.  The small, neon shuttles seat 6 and rely on advertising dollars to keep rides free.  Local businesses will also have the option for cross marketing with “I Don’t Take Up Space” signs and buttons.

Business owners are mulling over employee requirements, but a model in Patchogue requiring businesses that are open in prime times to limit employees taking up space has shown the plan can work.

You can read more here.

The American Society of Civil Engineers Honors Baldwin Study

Vision Long Island Board and Staff members recently attended the awards ceremony for the LI Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

It was great to see the ASCE honor the Baldwin Downtown & Commercial Corridor Study with a resiliency award. We congratulate the project team leaders, Nassau County and VHB, as well as project funder New York State. Vision was part of the team as well, and was happy to partner with the Baldwin civic and Chamber, who played key roles.

It was fitting to see Nassau County Executive Laura Curran receive the honor as she pushed this project forward in her district as a legislator.

Supreme Court Decision Opens Door for States to Collect Online Sales Tax

The Supreme Court has ruled that states can now force internet based businesses without an in-state presence to collect sales tax.

The 5-4 ruling in favor came from a lawsuit filed by South Dakota to compel online giants like Overstock.com, home goods company Wayfair, and electronics retailer Newegg to collect sales tax.  South Dakota and other states who have made similar attempts say that they’re missing out on billions in revenue while local business owners have said it creates an atmosphere of unfairness.  The decision overturned a previous ruling from 1992 that stated that states can’t collect on businesses without a physical presence.  Customers were supposed to report and pay that sales tax themselves, but there was no mode of enforcement to compel them to do so.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the court’s majority opinion, stating that “Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States. These critiques underscore that the physical presence rule, both as first formulated and as applied today, is an incorrect interpretation of the Commerce Clause.”

South Dakota’s law was designed to challenge the previous interpretation.  It requires out-of-state sellers who do more than $100,000 worth of business in the state or more than 200 transactions in a year to collect taxes and turn them over to the state.  South Dakota has no income tax and estimated that it was losing out on over $50 million in revenue each year due to the law.

This decision is a big win for downtown brick and mortar businesses, with the allowance of internet sales tax going a long way to level the playing field. The Nassau and Suffolk Chambers, LI Business Council, Vision Long Island, the LI Lobby Coalition and both County Executives are on the record in support of an internet sales tax so today’s action by the court helps move the issue forward.

You can read more here.

Trump Administration Proposes Nearly $1.5 Billion in Infrastructure Grants

The U.S. administration is proposing almost $1.5 billion in grants in an effort to rebuild infrastructure across the country.

The 26 grants were announced by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and will span 23 states.  She referred to the grants as a down payment on the administration’s efforts to address transportation needs in America.  The effort to do so was a campaign promise for President Trump, but has yet to see any real movement since he took office.

Trump has previously proposed a budget that would kick in $200 billion over the next ten years while asking state and local governments to partner with private investors for an additional $1.3 trillion.  However, the $200 billion has received very little support in Congress in the face of rising deficits.

You can read more here.

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!

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.

Dominos Starts Filling Potholes as Local Governments Fall Behind

In an effort to preserve fresh pizza for their customers, Domino’s Pizza has begun working with local governments to help repair damaged roads.

Domino’s has already worked with several municipalities in California, Texas, Delaware and Georgia to patch hundreds of potholes.  Though the effort is ambitious, it is a symptom of how much America is lagging behind when it comes to maintaining critical infrastructure.  National public construction as a percentage of the GDP is at its lowest level in decades.

You can read more 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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