Smart Talk November 2nd – 18th, 2019

Check out this Monday edition of Smart Talk where we look in on progress in Lindenhurst, join the Nassau Council of Chambers for their annual Shop Local campaign, and more…

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November 2nd – 18th, 2019


Cameron Engineering

Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP is a full service multi-disciplined consulting engineering and planning firm founded in 1985. The Firm is comprised of experienced and qualified engineers, landscape architects, planners, facility operators, and environmental scientists dedicated to providing professional, timely and responsive services to our clients.

A comprehensive knowledge of municipal codes, government regulations, and industry standards is incorporated into all of their work. This assures that they provide quality engineering and up-to-date solutions. The principals and senior level management are continuously involved in the planning, control, implementation, and quality review of each project. Their timely submissions and quality engineering are the primary reasons for their clients to request their services on a repeat basis..

“The process has moved along faster than I expected. We’ve tried to fast-track businesses. We’ve been excited to see what’s going on. Four or five new places have opened in just the last few months.” – Lindenhurst Village Mayor Michael Lavarota
“Everyone is supporting everyone and networking together. We’re always looking to go to places within the village. It’s a good place to be and it’s exciting to see what’s going to happen in the next year or so.” – Naomi Corbo, owner of Studio Trio, Lindenhurst

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Village of Lindenhurst is on the Road to Redevelopment

The Village of Lindenhurst revitalization program was featured in Long Island’s Business News  The cover story touched on the redevelopment and zoning aspect, the new restaurants, the walkability study and action items and of course the positive promotion they have undertaken.

Lindenhurst has moved in recent years to make itself a more welcoming downtown for both residents and people looking to spend a day out.  The current push was born in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, where local residents began wondering if restoration of residential damage couldn’t also extend to a flagging downtown area.

Beginning in 2016, action began to take shape as the village held a number of visioning meetings designed to draw inspiration from local models of restoration.  Lindenhurst has since enacted a number of changes that include a floating zone to fit a number of different uses, a streamlined approval process, the hiring of Greenman Pedersen, Inc (GPI) to gather data on walkability for a master plan, and approved a new apartment complex in the area.

“The process has moved along faster than I expected,” said Lindenhurst Mayor Michael Lavarota. “We’ve tried to fast-track businesses. We’ve been excited to see what’s going on. Four or five new places have opened in just the last few months.”

And the results are starting to come in as people take notice of the changes.  Though there are still vacancies and growth can never come fast enough to a downtown looking to revitalize, there are plenty of signs that a buzz is starting grow around the downtown. Lindenhurst received a $350,000 grant to improve their downtown just recently and new restaurants are also beginning to open up and Northport-based Sand City Brewery is looking to expand into a new space in the downtown.

“Everyone is supporting everyone and networking together, said Naomi Corbo, who owns local hair salon Studio Trio. “We’re always looking to go to places within the village. It’s a good place to be and it’s exciting to see what’s going to happen in the next year or so.”

Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance, who has assisted with the village’s downtown initiative, said it is yielding results with a range of new restaurants and bars and new housing options.

“The Village of Lindenhurst has taken many of the needed steps to revitalize its downtown that include proper planning, changing codes, focusing on new business, housing, walkability and positive promotion,” Alexander said. “Their village leadership has been working with a slew of local organizations and community leaders to make these changes with the community.”

Congratulations to the Village of Lindenhurst Mayor and Board of Trustees, GPI on the walkability work, along with all the new business that are making investments in the community. Like in many other downtown areas the collaboration between the well managed Village, new businesses and the many local organizations has been the nucleus of their progress.

This thorough Long Island Business News article is definitely worth a read.

Modera Metro Mineola holds Lottery for Affordable Housing Units

Vision was out in the Village of Mineola at an affordable housing lottery for a newly built Transit Oriented Development project, the Modera Metro Mineola.  Corpus Christi Church hosted the event.

The event, which was hosted by Corpus Christi Church, featured a lottery conducted by the LI Housing Partnership along with Village officials and Mill Creek Residential Trust for the Searing Ave redevelopment.  Almost 200 people applied for the affordable units and, of course, those that were called by lottery were thrilled with the opportunity.

Mill Creek’s redevelopment, located on Searing Ave, is a Smart Growth Award winning project and has had significant community support at their public hearing.  It includes a number of amenities from rooftop decks to fitness centers to landscaped courtyards and more.

This experience was yet another reminder of the need for affordable housing in our many communities. Glad to see Mineola take action to address some of these needs as planned by their local community.

You can visit Modera Metro’s website here.

Port Washington Residents Celebrate New Mural

Vision staff joined over hundred Port Washington residents who came out to celebrate the 4th installation of the Port Washington Mural Project.  Local group Residents Forward launched this project in 2017 to bring community pride to life and more vibrancy and foot traffic to Port Washington’s Main Street.

“For almost fifty years, Residents Forward has worked to improve the 5.6 miles we call home,” Executive Director Mindy Germain explained.  She also underscored the importance of art and community collaboration in the expression of pride in Port Washington.

The fourth winning mural design is the concept of Diane Luger Moen and is titled Town Crier.  Painted by Jason Diaz in twenty-seven days, the mural illustrates Port Washington’s rich history in an enjoyable and effortless way. The Town Crier mural can be found at the corner of Main Street and North Maryland Avenue.

The hard work and dedication of all who collaborated on this project, and others like it, show how expressions of history through art brings pride to Main Street and can be a driving force in the revitalization and sustainability of our downtown communities.  It was also great to see elected officials out in support including NYS Senator Anna Kaplan, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi Whitton, North Hempstead Councilwoman-elect Mariann Delimonte, and others.

Kudos to the following on the success of this amazing project: Residents Forward; Artist, Diane Luger; Presenting Sponsor, Hearts PW funded largely by Damon and Rachelle Gersh; Community Sponsors, The Brodsky Family, The Krieger Family, Cow Bay Contracting, Dejana Family Foundation; Project Manager, Michelle Gurfein-Shain & Artist, Jason Diaz.

You can visit Residents Forward’s Facebook page here.

Great Neck Village Officials Host Meeting on Downtown Revitalization

Vision was out last month with Great Neck Village officials at a meeting covering strategies for downtown revitalization and complete streets improvements.

The event had a very thoughtful dialogue with the group talking about local challenges, particularly in the retail sector.  The peninsula has great proximity to Manhattan and rail service, which creates a lot of potential for the downtown area.

The area is already a great destination thanks to the work that Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender has been doing for decades.  Special thanks to Great Neck Estates Mayor William Warner for inviting me out to connect with his membership.

Check out the coverage of the meeting in The Island Now.

Shop Local Campaign Enters 14th Year

Vision Long Island and the LI Main Street Alliance were out earlier this week in downtown Merrick, along with the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, for the annual “Shop Local” press conference urging folks to patronize Main Street businesses this holiday season.

These press conferences have been held annually since 2005, beginning in downtown Farmingdale, and the message has really spread to communities across Long Island.  This partnership with the Chambers has continued to advocate for leveling the playing field between brick and mortar stores and internet stores.  It has done this with annual lobbying and the eventual passage of taxing internet sales to bring revenues to local municipalities as well.

Julie Marchesella from both the Nassau and Merrick Chambers hosted the event in her shop Queen of Hearts along with Nassau Legislator Steve Rhoads, Nassau Chambers Vice President Frank Camarano, Femy Aziz, Joe Ponte, and Juan Vides, who all joined along with the local Veterans associations.

The benefits to patronizing your local small businesses are enormous this holiday season and every day, so spread the word!

You can find read more about the Shop Local Campaign in the Long Island Herald.

Natural Gas Moratorium Continues to Hurt Small Business

LI Business News recently ran a cover story that focuses on the impacts of the natural gas moratorium. It was good to see the focus of that story on local small businesses and downtowns.

A number of small business owners across the island are being squeezed when it comes to the moratorium.  Across the region new businesses are being forced to look elsewhere for energy as new natural gas hook-ups are being denied.

Meanwhile, NYS is looking closer into the situation and is examining whether or not National Grid is able to meet the demand of new hook ups.  Governor Cuomo has even threatened to revoke the license of the company, foisting the blame on them for not planning for the future.

Like a lot of issues these days the loudest voices in this debate are off island climate change folks that don’t believe that we should use one more drop of fossil fuel and some of the extreme pro-business and development folks who aren’t in a rush to find clean energy options.

The good news is that local chambers, small business community, and government leaders are not playing to the extremes but simply calling for action on the pipeline while we also move forward with renewables.

You can read more in Long Island Business News.

Huntington Chamber Honors Richard Koubek with Klaber Award

Vision Board and staff were join with the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce to honor Dr. Richard Koubek, who received the Klaber Award for community service this past week.

Dr. Koubek’s recent decades of activism and community work included organizing local housing coalitions around Long Island and being a strong advocate for the immigrant community.  His leadership on affordable housing, particularly in Huntington, have led to the passage of inclusionary zoning, the affordable housing trust fund, and the newly approved accessory apartment law.

Dr. Koubek has also been an advocate for expanded bus service in Suffolk County and chaired the Suffolk Welfare to Work Commission’s groundbreaking report on poverty.  He is a principled and thoughtful leader in the activist community and has become a powerful public voice in Huntington and beyond.

Congratulations to Dr. Koubek for this recognition, and Ken Christensen from the Huntington Chamber for another great event.

You can find more information at the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce’s website.

NYSOFA Awards Nassau County Grants for Age-Friendly Planning and Mentoring

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), along with the New York State Department of Health and State, have jointly announced fourteen county award recipients of an Age-Friendly Planning Grant, including Nassau County.

The county itself has been awarded two separate grants based on criteria that counties from the separate New York economic regions all competed in.  Counties had four options under which to submit plans, and Nassau won in both the 3rd and 4th options, the only county win in two separate categories.  The 3rd option was a combined category where Counties agreed to the first two.

As part of the grant, Nassau has agreed to create a county level version of the Governor’s executive order instructing local agencies to incorporate health concerns into all planning activities and to sign up and initiate activites necessary to become certified as age-friendly through AARP and the World Health Organization.  As one of only two recipients of the 4th option, Nassau County will also commit to becoming an Age-Friendly Center of Excellence and further develop such policies, and will also provide mentorship to other participating counties under all other options.

“These grants provide a lifeline for economic prosperity, longevity, and health,” New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.  “Governor Cuomo’s Age Friendly Community Approach is a national model that properly focuses state resources into integrated, smart community-based planning grants which enhance opportunities for older adults and families. Enhancing age friendly policies benefits people of all ages, and provides continuity of care, increased public health, better economic conditions, and smart infrastructure in our communities.”

The grant is part of an innovative program and a public/private partnership to invest over $1 million, along with additional leveraged resources, into age-friendly projects, ordinances, and programs.  Partners for this program include AARP, the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York (HFWCNY), and the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM).

You can find more information at New York State’s Office for the Aging website.

Kids for Kids Hosts Annual Gala Event

Vision Board and staff were at OHEKA Castle last week for the Kids for Kids Foundation gala.

The Kids for Kids Foundation is a community of friends, families, and colleagues raising money for organizations that support children and families struggling with medical challenges.  The event was successful in raising nearly $200,000 solely through outreach for this one night. The money raised will go directly to hospitals and human services for health related needs.

We were happy to see Smart Growth supporters from Southern Land Company, Sabre Real Estate, Cronin & Cronin, and Bohler Engineering out to support the work done by this organization.  It was also good to see corporate philanthropy that goes directly back to local services.

You can find more information, including how to donate, at the Kids for Kids Foundatiuon website.

Hostra Center for Suburban Studies Hosts Annual Diversity Dinner

Vision Board and staff joined together at the annual Hofstra Center for Suburban Studies Diversity Dinner this past week.

As always, the event saw great turnout with over 500 people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures that always brings a richness to the room. Each year this event strives to honor and exemplify those who work towards promoting and celebrating diversity in our region.  Honorees at the event ranged from human rights activists to local philanthropists among others.

Great job by Larry Levy and his team at the Hofstra Center for hosting an enjoyable and unique event.

You can read more information about Hofstra’s Center for Suburban Studies here.

Long Island African American Chamber talks Opportunity and Networking

Vision staff joined with close to fifty local business owners at the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce general meeting earlier this month.

This important regional chamber gives small business owners an opportunity to network and provide an atmosphere to help members grow their enterprises to the next level.  LIAACC President Phil Andrews spoke about the organization’s new campaign at the meeting, titled “Retool, Refocus and Rebuild” Black Businesses in New York.

Mr. Andrews discussed the important role chambers play in providing local businesses access to programs, activities, and each other in order to build the capacity and longevity that small businesses need to succeed.
Congratulations to Phil for being named SBA New York District’s 2019 Small Business Champion.  His advocacy for minority owned small businesses is unmatched.

You can find more information at the Long Island African American Chamber’s website here.

Tuoro Law School Hosts Conference on Regional Planning

Vision Board and staff recently spoke at a conference at Tuoro Law School in Central Islip along with about 100 regional planning folks.  Vision Board members Nick Halstead from Mill Creek, Steven Krieger from Engel Burman and Neal Lewis from Sustainability Institute at Molloy also spoke on different panels.

Our good friend and supporter James Powers from Bohler Engineering moderated a fun panel that included Dave Pennetta of Cushman & Wakefield, Jim Coughlin of Tritec, Joe Bolano of Colliers, and Vision’s Director Eric Alexander.  The message of the panel focused on the status of varying development sectors across the Island.

Congratulations to Touro’s Michael Lewyn and his team for hosting along with conference coordinator Keith Brown.

Tou can read more about Tuoro Law School at their website.

16th Annual Long Island Fight for Charity to be Held on November 25th

The 16th Annual “Long Island Fight for Charity” will take place on Monday, Nov. 25, at 6 pm and feature local volunteer businesspeople getting in the ring to fight.    The event will take place at the Hilton Long Island/Melville at 598 Broadhollow Road.

Fans are welcome to come and support their favorite boxers, network and take in the excitement.  Over 30 local restaurants will be providing food and beverages for the event.  Vision Long Island’s own Director Eric Alexander will be one of the judges for the event as well!

The 16th Annual Long Island Fight for Charity aims to help raise funds for those in need from the Long Island community. Charities supported by the event include the Long Island Community Chest, Genesis School, National Foundation for Human Potential and more.

You can call 877-240-7821 for more information or visit for tickets or to donate.

News Conference: Real & Powerful to be Held on December 3rd

The News Conference: Real & Powerful will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019,from  8 am – 4 pm at the Garden City Hotel

A breakfast Town Hall on the state of media today will open the event and feature ProPublica President Richard Tofel, BuzzFeed.News Editor in Chief Ben Smith and Sree Sreenivasan, Loeb Visiting Prof. of Digital Innovation, Stony Brook University.

A luncheon will follow featuring a fireside chat & Q&A with CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon and Margaret Hoover, Host of PBS’ Firing Line and CNN Political Correspondent (and great-granddaughter of the 31st president of the United States). He’s independent, she’s conservative, and they’re married.

In addition to that, 12 panel discussions to increase your media savvy and provide you with everything you need to become part of the public conversation will be going on. Networking, story pitching, exhibits, and more will be discussed.

You can view the program and reserve tickets or sponsorships here.

FTA Announces New Mobility for All Pilot Program

The Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) has announced funding for new programs to develop and deploy innovations in technology and improve access and mobility.  FTA today published a notice of funding for the Mobility for All Pilot Program, which is seeking to improve mobility options and access to community services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and people with low incomes.

The $3.5 million grants program will fund projects that enhance transportation connections to jobs, education and health services.  Applications are due by January 6, 2020.

The announcement was made at the Access and Mobility for All Summit, held October 29 to raise awareness of DOT and government-wide efforts to improve access and mobility.

You can read more information on these grants and how to apply here.

A Special Thanks to our Veterans

Veterans were honored at events in communities across Long Island this week.  Long Islanders took an important moment to recognize our troops who were honored on Veteran’s Day.

We hope that everyone who served was acknowledged and remembered by friends and family for their very real service to this country.

Smart Talk

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

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 for consideration.

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Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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