|Board of Directors|
Ruth Negrón-Gaines: President
Kevin McDonald: Vice President
The Nature Conservancy
Charlotte Biblow, Esq: Secretary
Farrell Fritz, P.C.
Lauren Furst: Treasurer
Albanese Organization Inc. ---------------
Capital One Bank
Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY College at Old Westbury
Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch
State University at Farmingdale
North Shore - LIJ Health System
Mitchell H. Pally
Long Island Builders Institute
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In the Region: From Convertibles to Rentals (New York Times)
A recent New York Times article discussed vacant car dealerships on Long Island and some of the local efforts being undertaken to redevelop these sites. Sustainable Long Island was mentioned, highlighting the $45,000 Citi grant we've received to work on this initiative, and also quoted on the issue! Read the full article on Sustainable Long Island's blog; below is an excerpt from the piece:
|Former Ramp Corvette dealership via NY Times|
There are about 30 vacant car dealerships creating swaths of blight along certain corridors in many Long Island towns - thanks to the recent recession - but the former Ramp Corvette dealership along Route 112 here may be the first to turn the tide. After standing vacant for two years, surrounded by eight acres of cracked asphalt, it is now the planned site of a multifamily housing development called Jefferson Meadows...
...(The Town of Brookhaven) said they were working with Sustainable Long Island, a nonprofit advocacy group, which recently received a $45,000 grant to help identify redevelopment opportunities and community priorities for shuttered dealerships in four low- to moderate-income communities.
Scott Woodson, communications coordinator for Sustainable Long Island, said that at the end of last year the group had counted 30 to 35 closed car dealerships on the Island, 25 percent of them in clusters along commercial strips. "The reuse of these closed car lots can jump-start community revitalization for the community itself and surrounding areas," Mr. Woodson said. Left to decay, they "can turn into brownfields if there is contamination." Plans for each abandoned site will be different.
|New Cassel Launches Community |
Youth-staffed Farmer's Market
The Community of New Cassel has launched a new youth-staffed farmer's market at the First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury in Westbury, NY. Funded by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's "New York Fresh Connect Farmers' Markets" program, the market will provide access to fresh, affordable Long Island produce to residents of New Cassel, Westbury and the surrounding area.
Organized by the Unified New Cassel Community Revitalization Corporation (UNCCRC) - with technical assistance provided by Sustainable Long Island - the market will be open to the public 11am to 4pm, every Saturday starting September 3rd, in the parking lot of the First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury. The market will replicate the popular model of being staffed with local youth who will learn important business skills and job training, while providing community members with fruit and vegetables from eight local farms, including Anderson Farms; Deer Run Farms; Jacob H. Rottkamp & Son, Inc.; Milk Pail, LLC; Natural Earth Farm; Phillip A. Schmitt & Son; Sagaponack Potato Co.; and W & K Farms. The market will also accept EBT, WIC and Senior FMNP checks.
The "New York Fresh Connect Farmers' Markets" program, aims to launch new farmers' markets and expand others around the State of New York. The program is designed to assist New York farmers by increasing the sale of locally-grown food in communities and also bring fresh food to underserved communities, improve nutrition education, and help create local jobs. Under the program, the state provides up to $15,000 in funding per market, and also recruits farmers to participate; assists with marketing, promotion, nutrition education, community outreach, and other services; and coordinates with local officials and business groups.
New Cassel, an unincorporated hamlet of roughly 12,000 residents, has a long and complex history. In 2002, along with UNCCRC, Sustainable Long Island facilitated a community planning process, "Seeking a Shared Vision for New Cassel," which has led to the development of new buildings, businesses, and homes, including the community's first bank and a pharmacy along Prospect Avenue. One of the needs the community has continually identified was access to fresh fruit and vegetables, which historically has not been easily accessible; particularly for the more than 16% of the community who do not have access to a vehicle and rely on public transportation.
|Sustainable LI Holds Screening of Film: "Suburban America: Problems & Promise"
Sustainable Long Island held a premiere screening of a local filmmaker's documentary, "Suburban America: Problems & Promise," which traces the roots of suburbia.
The film starts with suburbia's early days offering a respite for returning veterans seeking affordable homes to its current status now as a politically-strong, though hard to define home to a broad swath of Americans.
|Click through for our Facebook Album filled with pictures from the event!|
Levittown's creation as the first mass-produced suburban development and Wyandanch's efforts to rise from left-behind status to reinvigorated community are mentioned. So too, is Montgomery County, Md., where affordable housing is mixed with market-rate homes, and Fairfax, Va., where residents shun cars for mass transit.
"The film is not meant to be all-encompassing," Greenlawn based filmmaker Ron Rudaitis said. "It's to say 'Here are some of the problems. Here are some of the best practices.' "
Now it's up to residents to speak up. "We all need to be policy advocates," he said.
The hour-long film will be distributed by American Public Television in September.
Following the screening at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, the more than 100 attendees sat for a question-and-answer session. The panelists included Rudaitis, Elaine Gross, president of Erase Racism in Syosset; Ron Shiffman, co-founder of the Brooklyn-based Pratt Institute, which also runs the Pratt Center for Community Development; and Bob Keeler, a member of the Newsday editorial board.
For more info. on the event visit Sustainable Long Island's website!
Sustainable LI to Launch
Long Island Food System Report Card
Developed in partnership with Adelphi University, Sustainable Long Island is launching a Food System Report Card; an ambitious indicator project to assess the state of Long Island's food system, focusing on agricultural production, food distribution and retailing, environmental protection, food access, and community health.
The project will draw on "Cultivating Resilience: A Food System Blueprint" from the Iowa Food Systems Council as a model for the report.
A cross-section of food system stakeholders, including Sustainable Long Island's Food Equity Advisory Committee, will help select indicators and provide input on strategies for their assessment. The Report Card will inform recommendations for a safe, fair, and sustainable food system and serve as the platform for subsequent community discussions about policy and program development.
Announcements and Appointments
Sustainable LI Board Members named to Long Island Regional Economic Development Council
Governor Andrew Cuomo's Long Island Regional Economic Development Council has met twice since its creation last month; focusing on leveraging Long Island's many assets to create economic growth and spur new job opportunities. The council will be competing with nine other regional councils around the state for $1 billion in funds.
Sustainable Long Island has been appointed to the Natural Assets Work Group, which will develop detailed strategies to capitalize on the identified (by the council) principal drivers and other opportunities and to address critical issues that have impeded appropriate economic growth.
We also want to acknowledge and congratulate two Sustainable Long Island Board members named to serve on the council:
- Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III - President, SUNY Old Westbury
- Pat Edwards - Vice President of Community Development Long Island, Citigroup
Sustainable LI named to Suffolk County
Food Policy Council
Sustainable Long Island has been at the forefront of the Long Island food equity movement with the launching of youth-staffed farmers' markets, supermarket mapping projects, and the aforementioned food report card.
Recently, working closely with Suffolk County on numerous food access related initiatives, Sustainable Long Island was approved by the County Legislature to become a member of the Suffolk County Food Policy Council. Introduced by County Legislators including Vivian Viloria-Fisher, this council advises County lawmakers on food related issues across Suffolk and consists of a panel of representatives from different industries, such as government, food producers, food distributers, farmers and not-for-profit food security agencies. The core mission is to examine hunger, nutrition and food equity concerns faced by a growing number of Suffolk County's over 1.5 million residents.
We look forward to help spark cross-sector dialogue and solutions on food equity, while bringing essential context to policy and advocacy work moving forward.
We Need to Count Brown Jobs as Green Jobs
The National Brownfields Association posted an interesting letter on green jobs in the US. The focus of which is to have brownfield redevelopment work represent jobs in the green sector. Read the full article on the National Brownfields Association's website and a sample of the letter below:
With much of the old, cold part of the U.S. under-demolished, we have both a large supply of properties and whose scrap can be exported to fuel growth in emerging market countries. The large supply of Brownfields in the United States also has allowed professionals to develop a wide breadth of expertise in creating policies and developing goods and services to finance, insure, remediate and build green structures on these Brownfield sites.
As we lose manufacturing to other countries, they gain the potential for creating Brownfield sites. I encourage you to let your Brownfield successes be counted by those who monitor green jobs and let them know how a Brownfield redevelopment represents a job in a green sector - which is already dominated by the U.S. By counting our efforts, we can illustrate both the importance and impact that our industry is having while also showing that additional efforts to support it could reap benefits for the communities where the redevelopment takes place - in both short-term financial activity and long-term revitalization of the community.
|Privatizing Long Island Bus |
(Response to Cablevision Editorial)
Cablevision Editorials recently published another opinion piece on privatizing LI Bus. Below is an excerpt from their article, as well as our response. To read the full article and our response visit Sustainable Long Island's blog:
Excerpt of original article: Nassau County is about to privatize its bus system, negotiating to turn over the operations of LI Bus to Veolia Transportation, a private company that operates transit services around the world.
The trick will be to maintain frequent service through limited government subsidies, but also to gain efficiencies that will enable the private operator to make a profit.
The MTA will stop operating Nassau's buses in December. In January, Veolia should take over under a five-year contract. Nassau will continue to buy the buses and Veolia will operate and manage the transit system as a business, collecting the fares. Fares should be held to $2.25.
Sustainable Long Island's response: It's been reported that Veolia Transportation plans to run the county's buses with almost zero assistance from Nassau and Veolia has stated it will focus on promptness of arrivals and driver friendliness as a way to improve.
This would be ideal, but privatization will likely negatively affect the 100,000 daily riders via increased fares and the elimination of numerous routes; not to mention the LI Bus employees that will now be left unemployed.
|Volunteer Spotlight: Shannon Kelly
Shannon Kelly was one of the many hard-working interns who spent this past summer with Sustainable Long Island working on a range of community revitalization projects and sustainable development initiatives.
Recently graduating from Arizona State University (ASU), Shannon was interested in business when she initially started college and received a Bachelor's degree in the field. While attending ASU, she became more involved in sustainability programs (like a project where she focused on water conservation) and chose the subject as her concentration.
She heard about Sustainable Long Island through her parents and quickly did some research to see what it was all about. She loved the idea of volunteering her time and efforts at a nonprofit and began interning in late spring. Shannon worked on a variety of assignments including food equity research, assisting on community proposals, and identifying indicators of success for sustainable municipalities.
"I loved the atmosphere of the organization and the creative freedom they gave me meant a lot," said Shannon. "Ideas and suggestions I brought to the table were actually used and it made me feel like a key part of the team."
Shannon is a great example of a young Long Islander who has pursued her interest in sustainability across the nation, but is persistent in creating change and making a difference locally.
Shannon is currently returning to ASU for her Master's in Sustainability and brings up the fact that many of her friends joke around with her now, more than ever before. "They call me a Sanitation Major because I'm always telling them not to litter and to recycle more often," said Shannon. "But all I'm doing is proudly promoting sustainability now."
|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