Sustainable Long Island
June 2011 
Sustainable Long Island Newsletter
The one-stop-shop...
For all Sustainable Long Island news! 
In This Issue
Interim Executive Director
New Cassel Revitalization
Farmingdale Youth-visioning
Brownfield Presentation to High School Students
Coliseum Referendum
Don't drop the ball on LI Bus
Flanders Farm Fresh Project
East End Conference
Apply: HS Fellows
Donate today
Board of Directors

Ruth Negr
n-Gaines: President


Kevin McDonald: Vice President

The Nature Conservancy   

Charlotte Biblow, Esq: Secretary

Farrell Fritz, P.C.



Lauren Furst: Treasurer   


Russ Albanese

Albanese Organization Inc.



Lennard Axinn

Island Estates




Robert Bernard

Capital One Bank   



Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY College at Old Westbury



Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch

State University at Farmingdale



Pat Edwards




Richard Grafer


Amy Hagedorn
Hagedorn Foundation



Jeff Kraut

North Shore - LIJ Health System



Mitchell H. Pally

Long Island Builders Institute



Ron Shiffman

Pratt Institute



Robert Wieboldt

















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Sustainable Long Island Announces Interim Executive Director


HeadshotSustainable Long Island is pleased to announce the appointment of Rosalba M. Messina as Interim Executive Director, where she will oversee staff and daily operations. Messina's assignment will remain in effect until a new Executive Director is named by the organization's search committee at a later date.


"This is a time of transition for Sustainable Long Island and finding the ideal candidate during this process was crucial to the future success of the organization," said Ruth Negron-Gaines, Sustainable Long Island Board President. "We are delighted to have such an experienced and accomplished Interim Executive Director in Rosalba Messina to help us move forward seamlessly."


Rosalba M. Messina, Principal and Founder of Messina Consulting Group - a management consulting firm, brings more than 25 years of experience as an effective transformational leader, manager and coach to Sustainable Long Island. Specializing in change management and human capital development, the firm's services include organizational assessments, leadership transitions, and board and staff development. In her roles as Interim CEO, Messina has successfully addressed the needs of organizations going through an executive transition. She has successfully led organizations to effect positive change by creating accountability in a collaborative, inclusive, trusting and creative work environment. She is experienced in developing working partnerships among board, staff, community members, NGOs, government agencies and donors worldwide.   


"I'm absolutely honored to provide my skills, knowledge, and experience in assisting Sustainable Long Island during this time of change," said Messina. "The organization has a rich history of community planning and numerous community revitalization projects across Long Island and this important work will continue uninterrupted." 
Prior to launching her own consulting practice, Messina held executive level positions for various organizations in both non-profit and corporate environments. She is a member of the Support Center for Non Profit Management, Citigroup's Women and Company and The Society for Human Resource Management. Messina is also a prominent guest lecturer and conducts workshop trainings on various topics in management.


Sustainable Long Island facilitates downtown revitalization efforts in numerous communities, advises elected officials at all levels, links tens of millions of dollars in investment with communities in need, and has emerged as the regional leader in brownfield redevelopment and food access projects. More importantly, Sustainable Long Island continues to promote the concept of sustainable development - a model of economic growth that will protect Long Island's diverse people and resources- to thousands of Long Islanders.

Against Formidable Odds: Community Revitalization in New Cassel


Mary Ann Allison, an Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, Media Studies and Public Relations, takes a unique look inside the community revitalization efforts that have taken places in the community of New Cassel. Published in Hofstra Horizons last fall, a semi-annual magazine of the University, the article features the successes, challenges, and lessons-learned of the revitalization of the community.  


Sustainable Long Island continues to work alongside the community of New Cassel and the Town of North Hempstead to advance community revitalization projects and plans. Sustainable Long Island also commissioned phase one of the study conducted by Hofstra's Center for Suburban Studies.


New Cassel


At the turn of the 21st century, New Cassel suffered from a lack of affordable housing, no downtown center, environmental contamination, overcrowded and illegal housing, and community despair and discord. Residents, government officials, and nonprofit leaders cite a number of complex factors that may have interacted to precipitate a need for revitalization, including:

  • The Town of North Hempstead's conscious or unconscious designation of New Cassel as a marginal area, which it therefore neglected during much of the 20th century.
  • The effects of race, gender, and class segregation and discrimination in housing, education, employment, and access to resources.
  • The lack of a regional development plan that adequately responded to the changing and diverse needs of all Long Islanders.

Ten years later, the picture was changing significantly. Community members had been mobilized, a vision for the community's future had been developed, and a committed government team was actively implementing the community's plan.


Read the entire Hofstra Horizons article on our blog. 

View the original New Cassel Monograph here. 

June 7th: Farmingdale Youth-visioning  
HS Fellows prepare for Farmingdale Youth-visioning

Sustainable Long Island's High School Fellows will be holding a youth-visioning process at Farmingdale High School on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 from 2:30 to 5:00 pm. This unique youth-visioning will give students the opportunity to plan the future of downtown Farmingdale. The goal is to engage other young adults in planning and learn about - and participate in - community based planning, visioning, and regional efforts across Long Island.

Our High School Fellows come from the communities of Bethpage, Roosevelt, Uniondale, and leading this event, two students from Farmingdale. The fellows will be focusing on the Village of Farmingdale's assets and opportunities - gathering input and opinions on what young adults from Farmingdale High School want to see in their community.

The visioning will also highlight the importance of the support of residents - regardless of age - and how their participation leads to government support. Treescaping? New Pizza Shop? Movie Theater? Students will have the chance to pick and vote on what's most important to them and use table-sized aerial maps to show what areas they would utilize in the Village of Farmingdale.

Stay tuned for updates on the Farmingdale Youth-visioning!

Sustainable Long Island Teaches Roosevelt HS Students About Brownfield Redevelopment

Sustainable Long Island announced that students from the organization's High School Fellowship gave an educational presentation on brownfield redevelopment to the Roosevelt High School Honor Society at a gathering at the Roosevelt High School Library last week. Sustainable Long Island's High School Fellowship employs High School juniors and seniors that work closely with staff on community planning and revitalization projects.

Roosevelt HS 

"The Roosevelt School District has seen significant positive change in school culture with more students making the honor roll and participating in extracurricular activities each year," said Superintendent Robert-Wayne Harris. "With young people getting involved through organizations like Sustainable Long Island, we believe our students will go on to have very successful futures."  


Sustainable Long Island's High School Fellows, including current President of the Roosevelt High School Honor Society Ibeth Escobar, detailed brownfields on Long Island through a PowerPoint presentation. The Fellows explained what brownfields are to the students, the benefits of redevelopment, and how others could identify and help with cleanup efforts.


"We're here today to educate students our age about the issue of brownfields; a problem young people growing up on Long Island will have to deal with the most," said Ibeth Escobar. "My team (consisting of students from different schools) is extremely impressed with how involved and active the Honor Society at Roosevelt is in relation to their school programs."  


Over two dozen students were in attendance, along with their families, to meet, greet, and learn about brownfield redevelopment along with Superintendent Robert-Wayne Harris, Assistant Principal Treva Patton, and the advisor of the Honor Society Dr. Abha Bhatnagar.  Sustainable Long Island staff on hand included Fellows Sarah DeGray, Ibeth Escobar, Matthew Lippertshauser and Monica Velasquez, President of the Board of Directors Ruth Negron-Gaines, Director of Programs Donna Boyce, Community Planner Artineh Havan and Development Coordinator Katie Kelly.

Roosevelt HS 2 

"I am thrilled to see the number of students at Roosevelt High School that have achieved such high accolades and awards," said Ruth Negron-Gaines, Board President of Sustainable Long Island speaking on scholarships and awards that were announced at the meeting. "I have great confidence that these young adults are being provided the tools necessary to truly become the future of Long Island leadership."


Superintendent Wayne-Harris mentioned Roosevelt Middle School was formerly a brownfield which cost $15 million to remediate. Mr. Wayne-Harris also emphasized the significance of a clean environment. Sustainable Long Island states there are approximately 6800 brownfields on Long Island, which if redeveloped would create 60,000 full-time jobs, $6.8 billion in business revenue, and $340 million in tax revenue.

Coliseum Referendum (Cablevision Editorial)


Check out Sustainable Long Island's response last month to a Cablevision Editorial on the new plans for the Nassau Coliseum. To read the full article and our opinion, visit our blog here.

Nassau Coliseum

Has Long Island ever seen a more divisive issue than what to do at the Nassau Coliseum site? A world-class sports-entertainment destination center in the heart of Nassau County including a new sports arena and a minor league ballpark is the latest proposal from Nassau County and this one is causing as much debate as ever before. You'll surely hear a variety of divergent opinions and we urge all those involved to provide more information as soon as possible.  


Either way, I think all Nassau County residents can agree that some form of redevelopment at the Hub is critical to boosting the local economy. The appropriate or realistic way of doing that is what has caused so much tension. The recent local economy and prior failed attempts of redevelopment in the area may be too much for elected officials and community leaders to overcome.  


But on August 1st, luckily, we have a referendum. Now there isn't nearly enough information about the deal provided to the public yet and it's already been mentioned that having the vote on August 1st (the midst of vacation season) is a questionable decision, but you must give credit to the powers that be for allowing the community to decide. We have always believed in bringing together diverse stakeholders that connect residents with resources they need to create a shared image for the future of their community. The voters-the people who live, work, play, and breathe in and around the area-will be responsible for approving or disapproving this deal. They will have to decide between the pros and the cons, the job creation and the cost to taxpayers, their future and their past. Residents should always, and now will, have their chance to let their voices be heard when they decide the fate of Nassau County's economy, environment and Long Island's only professional sports team.  


The referendum asks residents if they would like to partner with the county, Islanders and the minor league ballpark by providing the financing for capital improvements to the Hub. In return, the Islanders will compensate residents by paying the county a share of each dollar generated at the new sports arena. Engaging Long Islanders in this monumental decision is a top priority, but we must stress the need for each voter to become fully aware and knowledgeable of all possible details about this project once it is released.  


Whether the voters accept or reject the deal remains to be seen, but at least it's up to the public, the community, to identify its priorities and decide on a plan of action for the Nassau Coliseum. At the end of the day, isn't that all we can really ask for?

Don't drop the ball on LI Bus  


Sustainable Long Island's Board President Ruth Negron-Gaines recently wrote an oped piece that was published in the Long Island Business News about LI Bus and the plan to privatize the service. The article is located below: 

LI Bus 1 

"Should old acquaintance be forgot"


It's most common to hear "Auld Lang Syne" playing loudly at funerals, graduations, conclusions of certain occasions and most notably, when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.


Unfortunately, this farewell theme could not be more fitting when on Dec. 31, 2011, Long Island Bus service as we know it will be terminated. The Metropolitan Transit Authority recently voted unanimously not to renew its contract with Nassau County to operate the service and at the end of this year; the county will transition the service to a private operator.


"Should old acquaintance be forgot and never thought upon"


Long Islanders who use the bus for everyday needs feel they are not being "thought upon" after months of discussion that included a proposal to slash over half of the service's 48 routes. Hundreds of bus riders rallied, protested and roared at meetings and public hearings in opposition to the plan. Their cries were heard and led to the "rescue" of Long Island Bus for the rest of 2011, including aid in the form of $8.6 million in state funding.


"All grief and sorrow takes the flight and speedily is gone"


Over 100,000 Nassau County residents ride Long Island Bus daily. From the low-wage work force to senior citizens, the physically disabled, to the young adults on their way to class, the mothers transporting their children to day care, to the roommates traveling to the grocery store, the residents populating Long Island businesses, to the couples visiting their families for the holidays - the list goes on and on.  


Grief and sorrow will overwhelm riders across the region, as privatization is likely to significantly change the service they have known for decades. Under a private operator, Long Island Bus may not provide access to all of Nassau and fares very likely will increase. A worst-case scenario might include additional services being cut for the operation to become and stay profitable.


"Why doth thy presence me defeat, with excellence divine"


Long Island Bus ridership increased in the months preceding the major service cuts that took place this last June and ridership surpassed expectations by nearly 2 percent. In fact, no more than two years ago did the American Public Transportation Association report a 52-year high in use of public transportation nationwide. Long Island Bus transports 33 million riders a year. With more people preferring public transportation, there is a great opportunity for a long-term sustainable solution to be put in place before the New Year begins.


"Will not thy presence yield relief, to this sad heart of mine"


With the economic downturn continuing across Long Island and our country, finding "relief" in this transportation dilemma may not be realistic. Both sides have reasonable arguments: the MTA says it can no longer make up for the lack of funding it receives toward the $140 million contract and the county says it cannot afford to pay an additional $26 million required for the service, especially during the financial crisis that they currently face. Both make valid points, but riders continually ask, Why aren't they fighting harder to stop privatization?


"That thou canst never once reflect, on Auld Long Syne."


Looking back to 1973, when the MTA first agreed to take over the Long Island Bus system while private operators were on the brink of bankruptcy, I wonder if they ever thought this day would come: the day the MTA would cut ties and the county would revert back to the old idea of privatization.


NY Eve As one ball drops in New York City this New Years Eve, another ball may be dropped by all those involved in this transportation breakdown. Privatization will halt the growth of dozens of communities on Long Island, make suburbs even more economically segregated and go against every aspect of sustainable growth on which the parties involved say they pride themselves.

Flanders Farm Fresh Food Project Moves Forward


(Reported by - Southampton Town students might soon have a chance to learn the basics of running a farmers market by helping those without access to local, fresh produce.


Since February, Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming has spearheaded the Farm Fresh Food Project, which aims to create a farmers market in the Flanders/Riverside at the Crohan Community Center.Residents in the area, Fleming said, have no supermarkets nearby and have to travel to Hampton Bays, Westhampton Beach and Riverhead to grocery shop.


Fresh Produce At last week's town board work session, Fleming discussed progress.

Karin Johnson, grants coordinator for the town, said the project was born after Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County received a grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets; Fleming contacted Sustainable Long Island, which has created model farm stands in two other communities.


The goal, said Fleming, is to work with the Southampton Town youth bureau to staff the farm stand with local students to teach them entrepreneurial skills and train them in food handling and other relevant topics.


According to Johnson, local businesses are signing on to offer sponsorships; more are needed.  Fleming added that the town's housing authority is a "full-fledged partner" in the effort and is seeking grants to pay the students.


Water Mill farmer John H. Halsey, chair of the agricultural advisory committee and owner of the Milk Pail, has been working with Johnson and said the response from local farmers has been "tremendous."

Fleming said eight farmers have already submitted a plan of what they expect to supply.


"If we sell all we hope to sell, we'll do more than break even," Johnson said.


Fleming said the goal is to remain sustainable in an area that is a "food desert."


Leftover produce will be donated to local food banks.

APA Long Island: East End Conference 


On Wednesday, June 8th, the APA Long Island Section will hold its annual East End Conference at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts & Hospitality Center in Riverhead. There will be two 1.5 hour sessions with dinner served between sessions:

EEC SESSION 1- CARMANS RIVER WATERSHED PROTECTION PLAN - The topic of this session will be to discuss ways different interest groups can come together and formulate a comprehensive plan. The Carmans River Watershed Protection Plan is an excellent example of this type of effort.



The session will look at the ways Social Media is influencing the change in communication and community participation process. The panelists will present an overview of new technology they have been utilizing, and will present new strategies of engaging the community and developing relationships. While social media helps to build community, improve government transparency, and develop connection with citizens, it brings new challenges. The session will examine the impacts on the planning profession and will present an overview of the new planning practitioner's tool kit.  


For information on moderators, panelists, and how to register for the event visit the APA Long Island website today.

Apply Today to Join Sustainable Long Island's High School Fellowship


HS Fellows 2 

Sustainable Long Island is seeking junior or senior high school students interested in issues of sustainability, community planning and development, and civic engagement to participate in planning processes, engage other young adults in planning for the future, and learning about local and regional food systems.  


The goal of Sustainable Long Island's High School Fellowship is to empower young people with planning tools, information, and knowledge so as to enable them to make a positive impact in their communities.  


Students will be paid a stipend and will work in Sustainable Long Island's Bethpage office, as well as in their local community for 20 hours per week (eight weeks) during the summer and six hours per week (40 weeks) during the school year.


High School juniors and seniors interested in the fellowship should send letter of interest and resume to Artineh Havan no later than June 10, 2011 or read more about the program here. 

Together we can build a more sustainable LI



These rough economic times have magnified the problems we Long Islanders face each and every day. With our leaders warning us of tougher times to come, thinking regionally and acting locally is urgent. It is in all of our best interest to stay engaged and do what we can together to build a more sustainable Long Island.


Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to Sustainable Long Island that will help support our ongoing, and future work within your Long Island communities; while helping advance economic development, environmental health, and social equity!

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The Board and Staff of Sustainable Long Island