Monday, October 15, 2007

Elmont, Rising From The Turnpike

Revitalization Plan, Shared Vision, To Be Shared With The Community

Could it be that the long-awaited, much debated, often faded renaissance for Elmont is just around the corner?

As alawys, we're skeptical, many an attempt fo pry this community from the locked jaws of despair and decay having fallen by the wayside.

And yet, it would seem, Elmont is closer to a rebirth -- not to be confused with the afterbirth that years of neglect by both town and county have left behind -- than ever before.

A couple of perspectives, the first from the Three Village Times, the second from the Elmont Herald.

The action continues (or so we can only hope) at the Elmont Public Library on Tuesday, October 16th.

The timetable for revitalization? Six months to 30 years. We should all live so long!
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From The Three Village Times:

A New Vision For Elmont
Community Presentation to Be Held on October 16

The new Elmont Library on Hempstead Turnpike can be seen as a centerpiece for revitalization in the community.

A presentation to the community will be made by Sustainable Long Island and Siccardi & Schiff, which are collaborating with the Elmont community to come up with a redevelopment plan for Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, on Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Elmont Public Library, 700 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont.

According to program coordinator Lyle Sclair of Sustainable Long Island, the presentation will be made to the community as a way to make sure Sustainable Long Island and Siccardi & Schiff are headed in the right direction in developing a plan to revitalize Hempstead Turnpike with the Elmont borders.

Thus far, three community workshops have been held in addition to a visioning weekend in late September. Among the topics covered in the workshops were housing and economic development, transportation, and recreation.

The goal of the visioning process will be ultimately to adopt a plan and implement it over six months to 30 years. The timeline calls for the community vision plan to be unveiled in spring 2008.

The plan will take into account vital issues to the community visioning process and revitalization such as land use and zoning, encouraging local business such as a new supermarket.

As is the case with the Elmont School Board, there are factions in Elmont that are often at odds. However, that doesn't seem to be the case with the visioning process. Elmont East End Civic Association President Patrick Nicolosi sees the community working together for the common goal of improving Elmont.

Nicolosi believes Sustainable Long Island is helping to bring the community closer together and commended Sandra Smith, co-chair of the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Long Island.

"I think we were all working together. Right now, I think Elmont has pretty much caught the attention of the whole state. Everyone is looking and listening to Elmont. That's a good thing," Nicolosi said. "I always felt that Elmont was a jewel. It's just that nobody found out about us until recently. I think all hands are working towards revitalizing Elmont."

- Joe Rizza
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From The Elmont Herald:

Visioning Weekend’s Preliminary Findings

Over 200 attended Elmont’s Community Visioning Weekend over the two days, September 28 and 29.
They got down to business participating in the community goal setting, walking tours along Hempstead Turnpike, and spending time at the design tables and interactive keypad real-time polling to prioritize ideas and concerns for shaping the future of Elmont.

The event took place at Elmont Memorial High School.

The Hempstead Turnpike corridor from the Cross Island Parkway to the Franklin Square border is the focus of the collaborative efforts of the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development, and its partners, Sustainable Long Island, the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County and Siccardi and Schiff. All community members – business owners, residents, town and county representatives, houses of worship, civic groups, the police, fire departments, all the stakeholders were invited to attend to help design the grand plan to reinvigorate the community.

The weekend was dedicated to shaping the plan.

Preliminary findings culled during the visioning weekend were:

• pedestrian safety issues at the intersection of Elmont Road and Hempstead Turnpike;

• the need for redevelopment opportunities and pedestrian safety near the Elmont Road/School Road/Hempstead Turnpike triangle, the Home Depot shopping center and the Belmont Race Track;

• The need to calm traffic along the entire length of Hempstead Tpke.

The five priorities sited by those in attendance included something Elmont civic groups and individuals have been screaming about for years – Code Enforcement.

The priorities also included the need for:

• uniform signage, street maintenance, street furniture, compatible adjacent fa├žade improvement, and sidewalk improvements;

• Greenway/beautification (crosswalks aligned with public transportation, landscaped gateways signs along the turnpike and within the Home Depot shopping center;

• Hotel and Economic Development in Belmont Park;

• mixed use development including an up-scale hotel/convention center retail and recreation. This would provide tax benefits for Elmont, and integrate Belmont Park into the community with year-round activities offered at Belmont. Also noted was the need to clean up the street frontage of Belmont Park on the Turnpike as well as the need for general beautification at the Park;

• a community center – a multiuse center servicing all community members located near other community assets such as the new library;

• a supermarket to serve the residents north of Hempstead Turnpike.

A more complete report of the outcome of the Elmont Visioning process will be presented on Tuesday, October 16, at the Elmont Public Library, from 7-9 p.m.

At that time a presentation will be made to the community of the data gathered and synthesized. Based on the information gathered a plan will be developed for future development of Elmont. That process will be guided by Sustainable Long Island and Saccardi and Schiff, who will work collaboratively with the community developing a plan to serve as a roadmap for the future development along Hempstead Turnpike.

Once Elmont has developed its “vision” for Hempstead Turnpike, a formal plan outlining short-term (six months to three years), medium term (three years to 10 years) and long-term (over 10 years) goals will be drafted for community and town approval.

If approved, the plan will become the document used to revitalize Hempstead Turnpike, at which point public and private funding will have to be secured to implement the plan.
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In other words, maybe we shouldn't hold our collective breath. Ah, but hope, in Elmont and here at The Community Alliance, springs eternal!

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