Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Empire Zone Wants YOU!

Nassau County plans Empire Zone Information Meetings In Freeport, Elmont

The Office of Economic Development and The Office of Minority Affairs has announced a series of information sessions to educate and inform community residents and local businesses about the Nassau County Empire Zones Program. The series of 10 panel sessions was kicked off on July 11th and 12th with meetings in Roosevelt and Hempstead ["Hellooooo. Is anybody there?], respectively, with eight others to follow over the next few months. All sessions are open to the public.

There are 76 zones in New York State designated as Empire Zones, one of which is Nassau County. Despite pockets of affluence in Nassau County (notably, NOT along the island's forgotten South Shore), there are other areas where economic growth is stagnant. Empire Zones were created to restore and revitalize these downtown areas by stimulating economic growth in communities using a variety of tax incentives. These incentives are designed to draw new businesses into the area and allow existing businesses to expand and create more jobs.

The designated areas within Nassau County’s Empire Zone include parts of Bethpage, Elmont, Freeport, Glen Cove, Hempstead, Inwood, New Cassel, Roosevelt, Uniondale, and West Hempstead. Certified businesses in these areas may potentially be able to operate on a nearly tax-free basis for ten years with additional savings for another five years following the ten-year program.

Here is a list of upcoming public meetings:

Monday, July 24th at 7 PM
Freeport Memorial Library
144 West Merrick Road
Freeport, New York 11520

Tuesday, July 25th at 7 PM
Elmont Public Library
1735 Hempstead Turnpike
Elmont, New York 11003

Residents, and in particular, civic leaders, are encouraged to attend these sessions, and to report back to the community at large. What happens at Empire Zone meetings -- with the potential for significant impact upon the local economic scene -- should not stay at Empire Zone meetings!

Then again, aspects of "local control" -- whether over zoning, economic development, monitoring of the water supply, or garbage collection -- are highly overrated. Certain things, like deciding the fate of the community in which you live, are sometimes best left to the professionals (or to the political appointees -- your pick). . .

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