Sustainable Long Island
February 2013   
Sustainable Long Island Newsletter
The one-stop-shop...
For all Sustainable Long Island news! 
In This Issue
Long Beach Listens
Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference
Downtown Bethpage Youth Visioning
Metro-North Station: Transit Oriented Development
Board President Honored
Baldwin Winter Farmers' Market
Nassau Programs for Sandy Victims
CSA's: Fresh Foods, Local Farms
Sustainability Business Council Breakfast
Donate today!
Board of Directors

Ruth Negr
n-Gaines: President
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Kevin McDonald: Vice President

The Nature Conservancy   
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Charlotte Biblow, Esq: Secretary

Farrell Fritz, P.C.
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Lauren Furst: Treasurer

Pathways to Wealth, LLC   

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Russ Albanese

Albanese Organization Inc.
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Lennard Axinn

Island Estates   

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Robert Bernard

Capital One Bank 

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

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Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch

Farmingdale State College, State University of New York 

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Pat Edwards

Citi Community Development     
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Amy Hagedorn

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Jeff Kraut

North Shore - LIJ Health System

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Mitchell H. Pally

Long Island Builders Institute

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Ron Shiffman

Pratt Institute

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Long Beach Boardwalk Redevelopment 

Long Beach Listens: focus groups, public meeting update
 

On behalf of the City of Long Beach, Sustainable Long Island facilitated four boardwalk redevelopment focus group meetings over the past month; gathering community input on how to rebuild the iconic structure that was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy.   

 

Roughly 250 residents and business owners participated in the focus group meetings and more than 2,350 people completed an online survey about the reconstruction of the Long Beach boardwalk in recent weeks, all of which culminated at a community-wide public meeting at City Hall this past Wednesday. You can view videos from the public meeting and the Long Beach Listens focus group PowerPoint presentation here.

 
The meetings invited business owners and residents from all sections of town to offer their input on the boardwalk rebuilding project, after the 2.2 mile wooden structure was badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

The values the participants in the surveys and focus groups ranked most frequently as the top priorities in boardwalk reconstruction were durability and resistance to future storms.

Other priorities included protection of the environment, public safety and quality of life, as well as safety and comfort for runners, cyclists, walkers and other people who exercise.

 

In January, the city hired LiRo Engineers, an engineering firm from Syosset, to help redesign the new boardwalk, and last month work crews demolished what was left of the original  storm-battered wooden boardwalk. These measures are part of a 10-step plan city officials devised to rebuild the boardwalk possibly by the start of summer. The projected cost of rebuilding the structure is $25 million.  

As demonstrated from the results, different materials may need to be considered in the boardwalk design:

  • Durability - links to strong, hard materials
  • Protecting the environment - links to green materials
  • Jogging and walking - links to flexible materials
  • Bicycling and rollerblading - links to smooth materials
  • Strollers and wheelchairs - link to safe materials  

Sustainable Long Island asks you to continue to visit the Long Beach Listens website to hear about information on the project in the months ahead.  

 

Check out additional coverage from the focus groups and public meetings below:

 

"The Road to Recovery"

Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference 

Friday, April 12, 2013 at the Carlyle on the Green

Exciting news: Details of Sustainable Long Island's
Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference: "The Road to Recovery" are beginning to emerge. On Friday, April 12, 2013 at the Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage State Park attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy:
  • Interactive Workshops on topics dealing with the aftermath of a post-Sandy Long Island, including:
    • Profitable Partnerships and Funding Resources 
    • Infrastructure Improvement
    • Health, Healing, and Housing
    • Food System Challenges and Solutions 
  • The 3rd Annual "Getting It Done" Awards honoring those who mobilized our communities and provided disaster relief in the wake of the storm 
Register today for early discount pricing and secure your spot at the can't miss event of 2013!
  • Rethink what worked and what failed during Hurricane Sandy
  • Rebuild storm-afflicted communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties  
  • Renew the Long Island region by planning for a sustainable tomorrow
Sponsorship, exhibitor, restaurant, and advertising opportunities are available! Contact Tammy Severino at 516-873-0230 or tseverino@sustainableli.org for details.

Downtown Bethpage Youth Visioning 

Bethpage youth planning for the future of their community

The Downtown Bethpage Retail Market & Revitalization Study project team held a youth visioning exercise with students from Bethpage High School and Middle School on January 31 at the Bethpage Middle School,  giving the youth of Bethpage an opportunity to plan for the future of their community.

 

Terry Clark, Superintendent, Bethpage Union Free School District welcomed more than 45 attendees and introduced the visioning by explaining that a similar workshop was done with adults at the High School last November and that the team wants to hear from younger adults because they will be the ones living here in 15-20 years and have a lot of good ideas to contribute.

 

The project team briefly explained what the project is about and the purpose of the workshop. The team then introduced three students who participate in a High School Fellowship program at Sustainable Long Island to give a brief presentation.

 

Lauren Birck (Bethpage HS), Quanah Bennett (Westbury HS), and Kayla Bomani (Westbury HS) gave a short presentation, including an overview of the Downtown Bethpage project, the purpose of the workshop, why community visioning is important, and a quick explanation of the activities on the agenda.

 

Soon after, the group began to identify assets and opportunities within downtown Bethpage ("Town"). The project team explained that assets are useful or valuable things, qualities, or characteristics - in other words, things people like, appreciate, or value. Students were asked to raise their hands and give examples which were recorded on large flip charts and then students voted on their top choices.  

 

Based on the discussion and responses, it is clear that Bethpage youth see a need for activities close to town as opportunities for improvement -  whether it be a petting zoo or recreational activities. They also want more places to eat, as well as for the town's appearance to be improved. As for assets, students really appreciate the sport complex at the high school as well as the ice skating rink because it gives them something to do. Madison's Smoothies is another popular spot and similar stores would probably do well in Bethpage. There is no movie theater in Bethpage but that is something students indicated they would probably like to see.

 

The students then participated in an activity that encouraged them to think like planners - about the elements that make a great downtown. The students were shown a series of images of downtown areas and then shared their ideas about what features make these towns good places to live, work, and play, such as benches, storefronts with windows, and sidewalks.  

 

Students also named some of the places they like to visit or other towns they've been to that they think have "great downtowns." Examples given include: Huntington, Port Washington, SoHo, a downtown in India, Lake George, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, and places students have visited in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Vermont.

   

With this list of elements that make great downtowns, Project Team members led students in an activity to determine where they would like to see some of these elements in Bethpage. Students took turns making the case for and placing various elements - signs, trees, ice rinks, benches, and more - on large maps of downtown Bethpage.

 

Students got cut-out pictures of these downtown elements and physically stuck them on the maps, explaining why they believe the features belong in the chosen location(s).

 

After the mapping exercise, the project team asked student participants to take a few minutes to fill out a brief survey about two of the most common ideas and suggestions mentioned during previous meetings and workshops - the park off of Powell Ave. behind the Library and a possible community center. Students were asked to describe their vision for the park and whether they would like to have a community center and if yes, where it should be located. In discussing survey responses, the Project Team asked students to share with the group what they think of the park in its current state as well as suggestions they have for the future.

 

For more information on this youth visioning and the Downtown Bethpage Revitalization Project visit www.downtownbethpage.com.

 

Metro-North Station in Downtown Harrison Inching Closer to Groundbreaking 

Demonstrates value of Transit Oriented Development
 

Sustainable Long Island was quoted in the Westchester/Rockland edition of Newsday about our support for Transit Oriented Developments. The below article by reporter Thomas Zambito highlights a proposal to develop housing and retail space at the Metro-North station in Harrison, NY.  

Metro-North is forging ahead with plans to return rail travel to the pre-World War II era in some Hudson Valley communities by partnering with local governments to build housing so close to stations that commuters could just step out their doors and board a train.

 

A proposal to develop housing and retail space at the Metro-North station in downtown Harrison is inching closer to a groundbreaking, possibly later this year, that has eluded town leaders for nearly three decades, Newsday has learned.

 

Meanwhile, projects in Mount Vernon and Poughkeepsie are moving off the drawing board and into the planning phase as city leaders look to revitalize struggling downtown areas.

The Harrison project is the furthest along, following last month's selection of Virginia-based Avalon Bay Communities as the developer, officials said.

 

The plan calls for converting 3.3 acres of Metro-North commuter parking lots along Halstead Avenue into residential and retail space, while doubling the number of parking spaces available to commuters. Retail space for restaurants, flower shops and the like will serve as a facade to block a street view of a parking garage.

 

Metro-North has agreed to sell or lease its acreage to get the deal done. A price tag has not been decided.

Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont said similar proposals, including one that envisioned a high-rise hotel, have been kicked around for 30 years, only to go nowhere.

 

"This has been a hot topic for a long time," Belmont said. "It's going to be a shot in the arm for our downtown merchants."

 

Metro-North executives said the project will not only allow its parent agency, the MTA, to collect money from the sale or lease of the property, it will produce hundreds of potential riders steps away from the station.

 

"Lots of people want to be able to walk to the station or, in this case, live right at the station," said Linda Corcoran, the director of strategic facilities development for Metro-North.

Some people who work in downtown Harrison said the project is long overdue.

 

"I like the idea," said Rocco Troiano, who runs the Harrison Senior Center on Halstead Avenue near the station. "We need housing. And it's right by the train station. It would be great for the merchants downtown."

 

The public-private efforts, also known as transit-oriented developments, or TOD's, are an extension of what Metro-North executives call "de facto" developments that have sprung up at stations in Westchester County during the past decade. Within the MTA, they've been championed by Robert Paley, a former Avalon Bay executive, who directs the transit agency's transit-oriented development.

 

In Tarrytown, New Rochelle and Yonkers, developers promising quick commutes into New York City have built high- and low-rise developments with hundreds of units just blocks away from Metro-North stations, officials said.

The commuter rail nudged along the developments by contributing to multimillion-dollar platform and station upgrades at several stations. In Yonkers that included creating a backdoor entrance to the station so residents who live on the riverside would have easier access to trains, Metro-North spokesman Marjorie Anders explained.

 

Metro-North was eyeing the success of such developments near stations while aggressively pursuing deals that would let them earn income from MTA-owned property at its stations.

 

"This is an opportunity for us to leverage the property we own," Corcoran said.

 

And they've received the stamp of approval from smart-growth advocates pushing for more mass transit options that will get commuters out of their cars and reduce carbon gas emissions.

 

"You put these projects in downtown areas to support an economy where there's already an infrastructure in place," said Jeff Anzevino, the director of land use advocacy for Scenic Hudson, an environmental group. "In order to keep the cities vibrant it makes sense."

 

Several developments already have or are beginning to crop up near Long Island Rail Road stations in Wyandanch and Farmingdale, giving low-to-moderate-income workers easy access to jobs to the east and west, said Amy Engel, the executive director of Sustainable Long Island.

 

Engel said her group is such a proponent of the concept that it moved its offices to a TOD development in Farmingdale.

 

"We believe the TOD is one of the smartest things you can do from a land-use perspective," Engel said.

 

The proposals for the Poughkeepsie and Mount Vernon East stations are in the early stages and, so far, lack a detailed plan.

 

To kick-start the process, the city of Mount Vernon has turned to the state for help in securing a $354,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area grant, MTA records show. The grants go to cities and towns looking to build on land that may have been contaminated by industrial or commercial use. Metro-North has sent a letter to the state supporting the city's application.

 

In Poughkeepsie, a similar plan is being discussed as part of a waterfront development strategy that the city and Dutchess County have been pursuing. Among the proposals that have been floated is erecting a hotel.

 

The Harrison project will include about 140 residential units and 35,000 square feet of retail space, according to Matthew Whalen, Avalon Bay's senior vice president for development.

 

Avalon Bay has developed similar proposals for rail agencies across the country, including one in San Francisco for Bay Area Rapid Transit, Whalen noted.

Whalen, who said he worked with Paley many years ago, said Paley has correctly identified TOD's as a means to generate revenue for cash-pinched transit agencies with real estate to sell.

 

"It's a successful model that we've used across the country," Whalen said. "I'd like to think that this concept will add vibrancy to the area around the train station in downtown Harrison."

 

In addition to rezoning the area, Harrison town officials must clear several hurdles before the development is approved, including a state environmental review and a traffic study.

Whalen doesn't foresee community opposition to a project, which has been in the town's master plan for several years. "This isn't or shouldn't come as a surprise," he said.

Belmont is confident the Harrison proposal will come together before the year is out.

 

"Hopefully, we'll get it done," he said. "It will be a first-class project. Everything takes time."


Ruth Negron-Gaines, Sustainable Long Island to be Honored 

Celebration of Suburban Diversity Event

Long Island's multicultural diversity is the key to our social and economic survival. Diversity and sustainability go hand in hand. The ability of people from different  races, religions and regions to live and work together is crucial to our prosperity. In the spirit of promoting tolerance and understanding, the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University will hold the fourth annual Celebration of Suburban Diversity banquet on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at the Long Island Marriott, Uniondale, NY.

 

An inspiring evening of awards, art work, entertainment and inspirational speakers will be highlighted by honorees:

  • Ruth Negron-Gaines

    • Sustainable Long Island 
  • Keynote Speaker Robert B. Catell

    • Advanced Energy Research + Technology Center

  • Alice Chan

    • Chinese American Association of North Hempstead

  • Henry Holley

    • Henry Holley Group, Inc.

  • David Powell

    • Hofstra University

  • Harendra V. Singh

    • Raj & Rajeshwari Foundation

Diversity is everybody's business - and "good" for everybody's business. Long Island's new suburbanites are the new students, patrons, customers and entrepreneurs who can revive and sustain our economy. Getting to know one another is essential to all our success.

 

For additional information, contact Ina Katz at 516-463-9939 or via email.

 

Baldwin Winter Farmers' Market 

The benefit of a community farmers' market all winter long

The grand opening of the Baldwin Winter Farmers' Market, run by G&G Long Island Farmers' Markets, had its grand opening this past Saturday, February 16. The market is the only one of its kind in Nassau County; taking place every Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, rain, or shine throughout the rest of winter. It will be held in the American Legion Hall at 2754 Grand Avenue. 

 

The Baldwin Civic Association, led by David Vianna - a formers successful Sustainable Long Island intern,  helped find the space for the market and believes this exciting project will be "a great new service for the Baldwin community." 

 

The Baldwin Winter Farmers Market will host local fresh produce, fresh eggs, The Big Cheese, and Bambino Ravioli with a great variety of fresh pastas. Monty Breads which offers breads stuffed with everything from cheese to vegetables to meats, will be present. Little Lexis Barkery will have treats for canine friends and Handmade by Susan will be selling different soaps. For java lovers, Gentle Brew Coffee is available along with a vegan baker.  

 

These are just some of the several vendors you can check out when you visit the market. They look forward to giving Baldwin residents a place to shop for healthy fresh foods, while helping the local economy.

 

For more information on the market visit www.winterfarmersmarketlongisland.com.

 

Nassau Programs for Sandy Victims 

Programs and assistance for Hurricane victims 

(Photo and story credit: Newsday) - Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano last week announced a new network of programs and financial assistance to help victims of superstorm Sandy.

  • The Community Development Corp. of Long Island offers emergency home repair loans of up to $5,000 to assist homeowners whose incomes are less than 120 percent of area median income. Call 631-471-1215, ext. 125 or email homeloan@cdcli.org.
  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has a free energy-efficiency program for state residents whose income is at or less than 60 percent of the state median; the program is guidelined under the Home Energy Assistance Program.
  • EmPower NY offers no-cost energy services for eligible homeowners who experienced flooding on Long Island and in the Rockaways. Those seeking assistance can call 800-263-0960.

A one-time bill credit entitles eligible customers to $150 to assist with repairs and/or replacement of damaged boilers, water heaters or furnaces. The customer's equipment must have been "tagged" indicating a relight was necessary. 

 

Assistance is also available for HEAP-eligible customers in addition to the $150 bill credit. These customers, who previously have been approved for the 2011 and 2012 HEAP program, can receive help with gas equipment inspections, repair or replacement completed by a licensed plumber.

 

Customers who are ineligible for HEAP based on income levels can receive expanded customer assistance in addition to the $150 bill credit. Customers whose household income levels fall within certain low-income guidelines or who meet other need-based criteria may be eligible to receive additional assistance.

 

To determine eligibility, gas customers are urged to call National Grid at 877-696-4743 for an initial screening. A copy of the National Grid Hurricane Sandy Relief Program brochure with eligibility guidelines is posted here

 

CSA's: Fresh Foods, Local Farms  

Community Supported Agriculture offer fresh, local food 

 
Make an investment in your local farm and get a season's worth of fresh food every week. It's called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

CSAs are one of the best ways you can obtain healthy food, deepen your understanding of food production, strengthen your local economy, expand your community, and reduce your impact on the earth. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York encourages you to attend a CSA Fair in your area to learn more.

 

See below for details including the fair on Long Island, March 2nd in Riverhead. 

 

 

Sustainability Business Council 

Leadership Award Breakfast  

The who, what, and why of sustainability

 

Seatuck Environmental Association invites you to the Sustainability Business Council Leadership Award Breakfast, Tuesday, March 12, 2013 from 8:00am - 12:00pm at 550 South Bay Avenue, Islip, New York.

 

Honoring the recipient of the Seatuck Sustainability Leadership Award: CA Technologies

 

Panel discussion led by Dorian Dale, Director of Sustainability, Suffolk County

  

Featuring:

  • Lisa Burch 
    • Director Sustainability & Social Responsibility, North Shore-LIJ Health System
  • Cara Baldo
    • Branch Manager, TD Bank
  •  Susan Morrissey
    • Director of Environmental Programs, Estee Lauder

Register online at www.seatuck.org  

 

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These challenging 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 interests to stay engaged and do what we can together to build a more sustainable Long Island.

 

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