Smart Talk September 22nd – 28th, 2018

Check out this week’s smart talk where we attend a walking audit in Lindenhurst, help cut the ribbon the Pink Tie’s new GivnGo station, look in on the newly re-opened Wyandanch LIRR station, and more…

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September 22nd – 28th, 2018


REGIONAL UPDATES

1st Equity Title

1st Equity National Title and Closing Services was established under the laws of New York and commenced business in 2003. Located in Melville, NY with offices in NJ and PA. They are a national title agency, licensed to do business across the country. They are local experts in the New York market, offering CEMA and Coop Search services along with a full suite of title insurance and related products nationwide. The organization has grown year over year due to a loyal client base as well as strategic acquisitions within the market. 

Their goal is to be a highly respected, compliant and best in class, national Title and Closing Services Company, delivering exceptional service to their clients. Their culture is client centric with a focus on supporting the growth of their clients as well as the surrounding community. Their approach to clients is “We do business the way you do business”.

“More tracks, whether it’s here along the Ronkonkoma Branch corridor but also along the Main Line in Nassau County, mean more capacity and flexibility for the LIRR. That means fewer train delays from congestion or from an incident. And it’s all one integrated system, so fewer delays on the Ronkonkoma Branch translates to fewer delays on other branches result from held connections or congestion at terminals.” – LIRR President Philip Eng

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Lindenhurst Conducts Main Street Walking Audit

Vision was out in downtown Lindenhurst this past weekend for their downtown walking audit, farmers market and touring new businesses.The event was sponsored by the Village, Chamber of Commerce and transportation consultants GPI.

We were heartened to see some of the new businesses opening, including Long Island’s first local Meade bar run by Roger Wanner and Joe Abruzzo and which features variations on honey mead.

It was also great to see Suffolk Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, Village of Lindenhurst Deputy Mayor RJ Renna, former NYS Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, Transit Solutions Rosemary Mascali, and GPI’s Frank Wefering, who led the walking tour.

Recently approved code changes for transit oriented development have brought new investment and galvanized the community. Vision is looking forward to seeing the results of this process, so stay tuned for more updates on Lindenhurst’s journey towards revitalization.

You can see a 3D visualization of design improvements from GPI here.

Farmingdale Residents Review Plan for New Main Street Building – Developer Withdraws Application

Vision was out earlier this week in the Village of Farmingdale testifying on a proposed mixed use building that includes apartments and a performing arts theatre.

Over 150 residents and business owners gathered with nearly 45 speaking. Though the audience seemed to be mostly opposed to the idea, 12 speakers were in favor with 12 opposed, and 20 had significant questions.

The developer presented the revised plan and showed the more minimal impact to parking over a restaurant use and the public benefits a performing arts space provides. The facility would be managed by Broadhollow Theatre which knows the local market quite well.

The main issues centered around the architecture of the building which is less traditional than people like, the size and scale of the building that – on a narrow Main Street – appears to tower over the downtown and could be set back, and the desire for the performing arts center to ensure community use of the facility.

The Mayor and Board were praised for their work in revitalizing the Village in recent years from many speakers in the audience. The developers team has been processing feedback from a prior public meeting and now this one and needs to connect better with Farmingdale residents. Despite the many merits of the project additional outreach seems needed to get a project that is closer in character and design to the community.

Great to see the robust turnout of folks that care deeply about the Village of Farmingdale!

As of this date the developer has withdrawn his application. Stay tuned for future plans for the property.

LIRR Cuts Ribbon on Wyandanch Station

Vision board and staff were out last week for a ribbon cutting for the new LIRR Wyandanch station, adjacent to Wyandanch Rising. The event also marked the completion of the $500 million double track project, an 18-mile stretch that will aim to improve on service disruptions and increase capacity between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma.

As part of the Double Track project, the LIRR built two new 12-car-long platforms at the Wyandanch Station that include a snow melt system, a pedestrian overpass with elevators, new stairs, new canopies and new platform shelters. A new station building replaces a previous station building, which was built in 1986, with new amenities such as digital signs, MTA Help Points, Wi-Fi and USB charging stations and bike racks.

In recent years, LIRR has partnered with the Town of Babylon and Suffolk County in the site location and design of the new Wyandanch Station Building, as the LIRR station forms the heart of the Wyandanch revitalization effort known as Wyandanch Rising. For the 4,200 daily customers at Wyandanch Station, improved platforms will allow for a more comfortable customer experience.

The completion of the Double Track project, which began in 2014, marks the first time in the LIRR’s 184-year history that trains are running on two tracks between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, which is used by 48,000 customers daily. The 18 miles of new track provides the LIRR with extra capacity to run trains, including for “reverse commuters” traveling to and from jobs in Suffolk County. It also supports efforts to bolster Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma and surrounding development. And it allows the railroad to more easily work around any disruptions that occur in Suffolk.

LIRR President Phil Eng announced that Double Track project was completed 15 months ahead of schedule and under budget, with time cut by utilizing new track-laying technology, and by implementing a design-build strategy. “More tracks, whether it’s here along the Ronkonkoma Branch corridor but also along the Main Line in Nassau County, mean more capacity and flexibility for the LIRR,” said Eng. “That means fewer train delays from congestion or from an incident. And it’s all one integrated system, so fewer delays on the Ronkonkoma Branch translates to fewer delays on other branches result from held connections or congestion at terminals.”

These projects are part of a larger ongoing effort to modernize the LIRR. Last summer, Governor Cuomo announced a $5.6 billion transformation of the railroad that includes 100 projects to expand the system’s capacity, eliminate dangerous grade crossings, and rebuild and upgrade tracks, switches, yards, signaling and power substations — all efforts that will help increase the railroad capacity by more than 80 percent. These 100 projects address areas and issues that had been left untouched for as long as 70 years before this initiative made them a priority. Spanning the entire railroad system, these projects, some recently completed and many others already started, will benefit railroad passengers by improving the reliability, frequency, and comfort of their trips and by improving customer communications.

Elected officials on hand included Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, NYS Senators Phil Boyle and John Brooks, NYS Assemblymembers Kimberly Jean-Pierre and Chuck Levine, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, and Babylon Supervisor and Deputy Supervisor Rich Schaffer and Tony Martinez. Attending also was Anne Stewart, who along with her late husband Delano Stewart, provided the inspiration and vision for the revitalization that is occurring in Wyandanch today.

Two Story Mixed- Use Building Proposed in Riverhead

A vacant parcel on the corner of Pulaski and Osborn Ave is the site of a proposal for a two story mixed-use building in Riverhead.

The proposal includes a 9.200 square foot building, and were recently presented at a Planning Board meeting last week.  The ground floor will include space for three retail shops and six residential apartments on the second floor.  The apartments will include five one-bedrooms and a studio unit.  The parcel of land is mostly empty except for a “Welcome to Polish Town USA” sign that the new owners are looking to relocate, possibly to an unused corner of the site. 

The planning board made comments on the entrance and parking, as well as the aesthetics of the building.  They also noted that the sidewalks should be replaced on the property as well.  The applicants have indicated that they are willing to change at least some of the plan to comply.

The project has been deemed an “unlisted” SEQR action, pending additional information and comments from other entities.  Due to being so close to a major road, the town has also said that it will consult with the Riverhead Central School District for additional safety measures, such as crossing guards.

You can read more here.

GivNGo Fuel Opens in Central Islip with Proceeds Benefiting Community Organizations

It was only one year ago that GivNGo Fuel historically launched their first-ever charitable gas station in Freeport, New York raising money and cutting a check of three thousand dollars to recipients 1 in 9, Bayview Ave. PTA, and Caroline G Atkinson PTA. Additionally, GivNGo Fuel was able to contribute to other organizations such as the Rotary Club of Floral Park, the Kiwanis Club of Floral Park, and the Townwide Fund of Huntington. Now GivNGo Fuel is bringing this same “go-giver” mentality to Central Islip, NY.

Proceeds from this location will benefit the Central Islip Coalition of Good Neighbors. Their mission is to provide direction and assistance to their community to improve the quality of life, and to make their town a safe place to live for all their families. This organization’s efforts to positively impact their community makes them the ideal recipient as they embody the mission of GivNGo Fuel to ensure that the money stays where it is raised.

GivNGo Fuel stations are the simplest way for people to positively impact local communities just by filling their gas tank. For every gallon pumped at participating gas stations, a portion of the proceeds will be given to the PinkTie1000 Foundation, a 501c3. In turn, funds will be donated to local charities every quarter.

PinkTie1000 is an initiative of PinkTie.org, Long Island’s fastest growing charitable movement founded by Mike Cave. The goal of PinkTie1000 is to compel business professionals in the local community to contribute funds, in turn, the money is donated to worthy local charity organizations. With a focus on charities that support research, education, and cures to diseases such as breast cancer, pediatric cancer, autism, and more, PinkTie.org and PinkTie1000 have been able to make the most direct and positive impact on the Long Island community.

“Every time we add a new Givngo gas station location we get to see the positive impact it has on the community. This is why I’m very excited to see the benefits that the grand opening of our Central Islip location will have on the community,” says Mike Cave, founder of PinkTie.org and PinkTie1000.

For more information contact Ray Thomas at rthomas@pinktie.org, visit PinkTie.Org or call 516.986.PINK.

Vision was out in support of the ribbon cutting as we have partnered with the Coalition for many years. We were happy to join Islip Councilman John Cochrane and Coalition President Debbie Cavanaugh along with the entire Pink Tie team including Mike and Rich Cave and Mike Passantino from Trinity Solar. This private investment is the beginning of future revitalization of the area tied to the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant organized with the Town. Stay tuned for future updates on Central Islip’s downtown revitalization.

Clement: Altice’s cuts to News12 pose a threat to Long Islanders

‘As local as local news gets’? Perhaps not.

Recently, Altice USA gave notice of its intent to do something that wasn’t in the playbook: Layoff numerous News12 employees, including Colleen McVey, one of the founding anchors. The Dolan family responded by filing a lawsuit against Altice, because such changes weren’t part of the business plan attached to the merger agreement that enabled Altice to take over Cablevision.

The business plan essentially called for News12 to be left alone through 2020. Attaching such a plan was a prudent course of action, taking into account Altice’s reputation for draconian cost cutting along with Long Island’s need for its sole provider of 24/7 news. The plan also gave a company like Altice, new to the New York metro area, time to get know and understand the News12 network, from its news and content structure, to its operations. With Long Island as the flagship, News12 also serves Connecticut, Westchester, the Hudson Valley, The Bronx, Brooklyn and News Jersey – all areas in need of news coverage, all wildly different in characteristics and concerns, all deserving of a medium to provide a public conversation dedicated to local matters.

Altice bought Cablevision in 2016. By 2017, 70 positions at News12 were cut. News12 Connecticut was relocated to New Jersey. The names and faces Long Islanders came to rely on for news and information, such as Lea Tyrrell and Drew Scott, began to disappear.Local news becomes a meaningless waste of time if the people bringing you the news aren’t local to the communities they cover. Outsiders just don’t get it, no matter where ‘it’ is. The public responds by classifying such endeavors as “looking and sounding the same,” because it does.

Simply put: It’s watered down, homogenized, prepackaged fast food. It succeeds in filling time, but it fails to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. That may not be readily apparent to management, but it is most assuredly apparent to the viewers who, in this particular case, also happen to be paying customers.

Studies tell us local news must be locally owned to be relevant. A local owner can anticipate and respond to local needs. Such an owner also knows spreadsheets do not convey value.

Every now and then, you’d see News12 President Pat Dolan out in the field, filing a news report. That usually corresponded with a holiday and enabled as much staff as possible to go home early and spend time with their families.

That’s something else local owners do.

Since Altice has owned Cablevision, rates have gone up. New fees have been introduced. News reports tell of more than 1,000 employees being gone. The headquarters has moved off of Long Island, from Bethpage to Long Island City. Complaints range from the lack of customer service to the new Altice One’s equipment failing and voice recognition software not working. And now it’s looking to cut News12 staffing and introduce a “fresh look.”

Changing News12 means changing the dynamic of the public conversation. Issues that matter, historical accuracy and area legacies will get lost, as Long Island loses its voice and, along with it, its identity. This is a situation that puts the health, wellbeing and public safety at risk. Every institution, municipality, person and business will be affected, which is exactly why everyone should care. With over 100 cable franchise agreements on Long Island, it would be wise for municipalities to dust off those agreements and examine them for ways to keep News12 intact.

Organizations and interested parties should write the New York State Public Service Commission and ask for this issue to receive the utmost scrutiny and concern. The Association for a Better Long Island, Press Club of Long Island and the Fair Media Council have already done so.

Jaci Clement is CEO & Executive Director of the Fair Media Council.

CNU NY to Hold Chapter Summit this October 12th – 13th

The New York Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism is holding their chapter summit, “Re-Imagining the Suburbs,” a suburban retrofit themed workshop focusing on “new towns” and emerging transit corridors in Amherst.

The event will take place from Fri, Oct 12, 2018, 8:00 AM – Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 5:00 PM EDT. It will be held in Williamsville, NY, a 200 year old mill town, for a weekend of expert speakers, tours, and charrettes aimed at unique retrofit opportunities. The program will kick off with an Urban Land Institute breakfast and wrap up with a celebration tour of the CNU 22 legacy.

You can register for the vent and get more details here.

30th Annual Keys for the Homeless Annual Conference on November 2nd

Please join the Long Island Coalition for the homeless for their 30th annual Keys for the Homeless Event.  The event will take place on November 2, from 8:30am—2:30pm at Touro Law Center, located at 225 Eastview Drive in Central Islip.  The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. Zachary Morris, Assistant Professor and Stony Brook School of Social Welfare.

The Key of Excellence Award will be presented to Suffolk County Department of Social Services, Housing Division and Unsung Hero Awards to Lonnie Sherman, Founder, General Needs and Brother Mark  D’Alessio, Hope House Ministries.

There will also be workshops at the event, with topics to include Engaging Active Substance Users, A Team Approach to Engaging Homeless People with Complex Conditions, Motivational Interviewing, Eviction Procedures/Illegal Evictions, Data Driven Outcomes & Strategies, Homelessness, Food & Housing Insecurity, The Rights of Homeless Families, Bringing Your Project from Paper to Life: A Round Table with Funders, Employing Peer Specialists: Benefits for All, How Do We Come Together? Taking Action, Rapid Rehousing Models: A Panel, and Effective Landlord Engagement.  Selected Workshops will be eligible for CEU Credits.

You can visit their site here for Registrations, Sponsorships and more information.

Birchwood Students Brighten Huntington’s LIRR Station with Mural

Huntington Station’s LIRR station received a makeover from the local Birchwood Intermediate School with a mural painted by the students.

The mural was officially debuted at a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 22nd, and is a gift to the town from the students in grades 3 – 5.  The idea for the project came from fifth-grade teacher Barbara Wright and were able to solicit donation from Aboff’s in Huntington for the paint.  It is hoped that the mural will be a catalyst for future beautification projects spearheaded by the local community.

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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