Smart Talk October 26th – November 1st, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we join the ribbon cutting for the Channel Club in Island Park, recognize over 150 local volunteers along with the Salvation Army, and more…

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October 26th – November 1st, 2019


Albanese & Albanese

Albanese & Albanese LLP is one of the region’s preeminent full-service firms, providing its clients with specialized and diverse legal services. Their reputation for excellence derives from their commitment to deliver high quality legal services and individual attention while maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

“Access to public transportation is a hugely valuable community amenity that increases the functionality and attractiveness of neighborhoods, making nearby communities more desirable places to live, work and raise a family. The results of our report, conducted over multiple years alongside the American Public Transportation Association, should reiterate to policymakers at all levels of government the importance of investing in modern, efficient infrastructure that facilitates growth and helps our nation keep pace in a rapidly evolving world.” – National Association of Realtors Vice President Charlie Oppler

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The Channel Club Cuts Ribbon in Island Park

Vision Board and staff were out in Island Park this week to support the ribbon cutting for the Channel Club multifamily development at the old site of Paddy McGees.

The event was held on the 7th anniversary of Sandy where that longstanding establishment was damaged beyond repair.  Planning for the current development itself began in 2014 and the Town of Hempstead approved the project in 2015.

The Channel Club is an 86 unit development with 54 two bedroom and 32 one bedroom units.  The project is pet friendly with a slew of amenities including a pool, community room/lounge, boat slips, canoes etc.  The development is also walking distance to a number of popular local restaurants including Jordan Lobster Farms, a supermarket, shops and the train station.

The Channel Club received a LI Smart Growth Award earlier this year for the category of “Strengthening Communities”.  If anyone doubts the economic benefits of having these forms of investment in local communities, the Channel Club is a great project to learn from.

The ribbon cutting itself included Village of Island Park Mayor Mike McGinty, Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, Island Park Chamber of Commerce members, and local residents.

Kudos to John Vitale, Dylan Vitale and family for their work in rebuilding along with their leasing partners Rob Gitto of the Gitto Group (and Vision Long Island Board member) for putting together a wonderful project.

For more information, head over to the Channel Club’s website.

Salvation Army Recognizes Local Volunteers

Vision was out earlier this month at the Salvation Army Hempstead Citadel’s Volunteer Recognition dinner.

It was a very special night with over 150 volunteers who give back to their community all receiving recognition for their efforts to support an organization that gets real resources to local communities.  Congratulations to their leader Charles Roberts, who not only chaired the event but is also a hub for so many good efforts in Hempstead and beyond.  In addition to all of the volunteers Macy’s was the honoree for the evening.

The Voices of Virtue performed some beautiful songs to bring an added spirit to the room.  Vision’s Director Eric Alexander shared some remarks humbly, because what can you say to folks who give of themselves daily.  Village of Hempstead’s Mayor Don Ryan and Deputy Mayor Charles Renfroe were out along with our friends from the Hicksville Chamber Beth Dalton and Charles Montana.

As we head into the holiday season and really all year round it’s important to give back to this organization and others where resources truly get to local residents in need.

For more information or to support, please head to their website here.

Leadership Huntington Honors Local Leaders

Vision Long Island was out this week at the 24th annual celebration for Leadership Huntington at Honu in downtown Huntington Village.

Great honorees including Dolores Thompson, Kevin Thorbourne, and Pilar Moya.

Huntington Station community leader (and the most powerful 90 year old we have ever met) Dee Thompson gave a thoughtful message challenging the nearly 200 in attendance to “Remember what you must do to make this a community you can be proud of!”

It was nice to see a bipartisan mix of elected officials in attendance including NYS Senator James Gaughran, NYS Assemblymembers Andrew Raia, Steve Stern, Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, and Councilwoman Joan Cergol.

Vision has had over ten members of our Board and staff go through the program through the years and can attest to the value of this local leadership initiative.  Kudos to Director Stephanie Gotard, who pulled together a great event with her board and alumni.

For more information or to support, you can head to Leadership Huntington’s website here.

Long Island Business Council Announces New Mission, Long Island Main Street Alliance Emerges

Vision Board and staff were out with 70 attendees last week to hear about the reshaped LI Business Council (LIBC).

Updates of their new mission were announced with the organization that is now focused on advancing all forms of economic development.  The meeting also included presentations from the Nassau and Suffolk Presiding Officers, who both covered a wide range of topics of interest to the small business community.

The event included many speakers and covered a range of topics.  A notable moment was the push back of NYS control of the SEQRA process which occurred at an LIBC meeting.  Other important moment was passing the Small Business Saving Accounts legislation multiple times in the NYS Senate and introduced federally. 

One other key collaboration was rallying business leaders around the Internet Sales Tax which ultimately was approved in Albany.  The group has been a part of lobbying efforts in Albany on this subject and others in the past and has held Candidates forums and kept a focus on small business needs.

All told 1,000 different business leaders participated in meetings through the years at these meetings.

Vision would also like to take a moment here to clear up confusion on our current role in the LIBC.  We have received numerous calls on some of the confusion folks have had regarding different business groups Vision has been involved in so wanted to take a second to sort that out. 

In 2008, the LI Business Council formed by two members of the Vision Board, Rich Bivone and Bob Fonti.  For the next 10 years Vision managed the operations of the group, which essentially acted as a project of ours that was led by Rich and Bob. We met 2-3 times a year.

However, Mr. Fonti and Bivone, as co-chairs of the LIBC, have decided to transition the group away into a truly independent entity that will have an agenda outside downtown and infrastructure issues.  To that effect, Michael Harrison will now take over as the Executive Director of the group, which is now a fully separate entity from Vision Long Island.

We wish Bob, Rich, and Michael well as they move forward, and look forward to working with them in the future in areas where our interests coincide.

As for Vision Long Island itself, our energies will now shift to the Long Island Main Street Alliance, which has already held a few meetings in the recent months.

The Main Street Alliance is a coalition of independent local chambers, Nassau and Suffolk Chambers, African American Chamber, Hispanic Chamber, and other business groups.  It also includes allied organizations like AARP, environmental groups, health organizations and labor and folks who care about Main Streets and infrastructure investment.

Our first meeting was focused on financing, grants and resources for Main Street business.  Our second well attended meeting was a Candidates forum for the Suffolk County Executive’s and the Town of Hempstead Supervisor’s race.

Some of the early issues that we are working on included the Natural Gas pipeline, Walkability and safe streets in our downtowns, and MWBE access to jobs and preference in contracts for local companies.

We will be holding a meeting this coming January to kick off the year with a true Main Street agenda.

We will also be lobbying in Albany along with the LI Lobby Coalition and others while participating in the Complete Streets Summit in the spring.  Dr. Nathalia Rogers, who has worked with small businesses on SBA research studies and the LI Youth Summit, will be assisting in this initiative.

Like the LIBC originally was we will not be focusing on raising money or membership fees. The substance of the issues and strength of the collaboration is what is paramount.

For mroe information on Long Island Main Street Alliance meetings or to get more involved, please contact us at or 631-261-0242.

Stony Brook Real Estate Institute Hosts Panel on Communicating for Local Projects

Vision Board and staff were out today at the Stony Brook Real Estate Institute’s fall luncheon focused on media and marketing.

Panelists for the event included Gary Lewi, Chris Kelly from Tritec, Brandon Palanker, David Panetta and Long Island Business News’ David Winzelberg.  The panel covered a range of topics from the current state of regional and local print to broadcast news sources and social media.

The panelists also spoke of recent concerted efforts to communicate project information to people in a transparent manner with local communities.  One case example was of a developer seeking to do press before he coordinated with local community members, which was clearly recognized as a strategy of what not to do.

The other case example that came up was the brutally contentious process for a large scale TOD at Huntington Station, which had also been a disastrous PR and marketing strategy and eventually spawned opposition to a range of future projects.

The good news is that most of the folks in the room seemed to have learned from these sorts of misplays.  It seems as though the era of the development community “knowing best” and not collaborating with their neighbors is mostly over.

In these increasingly polarized times it is important for developers and local community members to move past the elitists and extremists and find the common value each side brings to each other.  The event saw some great work by the panelists for a productive forum and it was great to see board members Andy Zucaro, Howie Stein and Maribeth Pietropaoli at the event.

For mre information on Stony Brook Real Estate Institute, check out their website here.

Study Released shows Rise in Real Estate Values near Transit

A study conducted jointly by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and National Association of Realtors (NAR) examining the effects of transit oriented development on local real estate values has been released.

The study showed that real estate values rise when they are located close to transit centers.  This came as no surprise to folks who have been working in Long Island downtowns and have previously studied transit oriented developments. It is an often misunderstood notion that redevelopment hurts property values when it actually helps, particularly in the right location.

“Access to public transportation is a hugely valuable community amenity that increases the functionality and attractiveness of neighborhoods, making nearby communities more desirable places to live, work and raise a family,” said NAR 2019 First Vice President Charlie Oppler. “The results of our report, conducted over multiple years alongside the American Public Transportation Association, should reiterate to policymakers at all levels of government the importance of investing in modern, efficient infrastructure that facilitates growth and helps our nation keep pace in a rapidly evolving world.”

Property values of residential and commercial buildings increase dramatically when located close to transit, according to a joint study from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The associations found that residential properties within a half-mile of public transit options (heavy rail, light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit) had a 4%-24% higher median sale price between 2012 and 2016.

Check out the link to the release and report here.

LIBN Hall of Fame Event to be Held on November 7th

Long Island Business News will hold its annual induction into its Hall of Fame this upcoming November 7th.

This event will include the most distinguished leaders in our business community. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor for those who demonstrate a commitment to excellence; past, present and future.

Among the honorees will be Lionel Chitty, from the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, Town of Oyster Bay, Vision Long Island board, and newly appointed Director of the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs. Congratulations to Mr. Chitty for this prestigious honor!

Join LIBN on Thursday, November 7 as the inductees share their story and describe the journey to success.  Inductees are selected by a committee of the top business leaders across Long Island.

You can register for the event here.

Cuomo Announces $3 Million for Zero-Emission Vehicles and Infrastructure

Governor Cuomo has announced #3 million in funding for municipalities to purchase zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure.

The funds will come in the form of rebates and grants administered by the State Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) and supported by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.  This comes as part of the governor’s plan to create nation-leading climate goals as well as clean transportation initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This round of funding will be administered by DEC through the New York State Grants Gateway and includes the following:

Clean Vehicle Rebates: $500,000
Rebates are available to municipalities that purchase (or lease for a minimum of 36 months) an eligible, clean vehicle placed into municipal service at a dealership in New York State on or after July 1, 2019. Plug-in hybrid, all-electric, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with a 10- to 50-mile electric range are eligible for rebates of $2,500. Vehicles with an electric range of 51 miles or greater are eligible for rebates of $5,000. DEC will accept applications until July 24, 2020, or until funding is exhausted, whichever occurs first.

ZEV Infrastructure Grants: $2,500,000
Grants are available to municipalities to install hydrogen filling station components or electric vehicle supply equipment that is Level 2 or direct current fast charge (DCFC).  A 20 percent local match based on total project cost is required. Maximum grant amounts are $250,000 for any facility and $500,000 to any one municipality. There is no minimum award amount. DEC will accept applications until May 29, 2020, or until funding is exhausted, whichever occurs first.

 Full details regarding both programs are available in the Requests for Applications on the DEC website:

FTA Makes $19.9 Million Available for TOD Planning

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced the availability of approximately $19.19 million in Pilot Program for TOD Planning funding to support comprehensive planning associated with new fixed guideway and core capacity improvement projects. The FTA will award grants ranging from $250,000 to $2 million for proposals that meet the key objectives of the TOD Pilot Program.

The Pilot Program for TOD Planning provides funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning in new fixed guideway and core capacity transit project corridors. As required by statute, any comprehensive planning funded through the pilot program must examine ways to improve economic development and ridership, foster multimodal connectivity and accessibility, improve transit access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, engage the private sector, identify infrastructure needs, and enable mixed-use development near transit stations. The statute also requires that the planning work be associated with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit project as defined in Federal transit statute (49 USC 5309(a); also see the NOFO for the definitions).

Synopses and full announcement are posted on site as opportunity FTA-2019-010-TPE. Proposals must be submitted electronically through the website by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 18, 2019.

Huntington Temporarily Becomes ‘Huantington’ for Halloween

The Town of Huntington temporarily went by the name “Hauntington” for a day in the spirit of Halloween.  The change was made after Town Board members voted to officially use the moniker for October 31st.  This was a repeat of a similar move made a year ago at the suggestion of eight-year-old Angelica Dee Cunningham.

he suggestion came in a letter that the young resident penned to the Supervisor last year.  The young Ms. Cunningham as presented with a proclamation honoring her for her initiative and clever idea.

You can read more about this at the Long Islander.

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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