Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Are You Cool In Your Code?

Nassau Exec Envisions "Cool Towns"

On the heels of the late spring heat wave, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is thinking cool. As in "cool downtowns."

Garden City, Rockville Centre, and Long Beach are among the few that, according to Suozzi, have already achieved "cool downtown" status.

Others, not enumerated, have yet to make it to the "cool" list. And some, Suozzi admits, may never be "cool."

We note that most -- if not all -- of the designated "cool downtowns" are within incorporated villages (surprise, surprise), with "potentially cool" downtowns including a few unincorporated areas, such as Farmingdale and Baldwin, said to be on their way toward coolness.

No Elmont on any of Mr. Suozzi's lists, although it would have been way cool if we had a Triple Crown winner at Belmont. [Darn you, Big Brown!]

As for hamlets the likes of West Hempstead, Uniondale, and Wantagh, well, you're working your way toward becoming "automobile-centered communities" (you mean they're not already?), which may be "cool" to car aficionados, but not so much to us advocates of viable, walkable, sustainable downtowns, sans all of those "cool" cars.

So, what's cool in your code? How does your community's "downtown" stack up?

Write to The Community Alliance at and dare to be cool!
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From Newsday:

Suozzi vows to help Nassau downtowns become 'cool'

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi knows cool when he sees it and wants to see more of it in the county's aging downtowns.

Suozzi told about 400 local municipal and business officials at a conference in Rockville Centre yesterday that he plans to make good on a promise he made in his State of the County speech in March to usher in the economic benefits of "cool downtowns."

Downtowns can vary in vibrancy and appeal to residents and visitors, and some of them won't meet his standard of "cool downtowns," Suozzi said, adding that they will be near train stations, with residents living and or working in multistory buildings within walking distance to restaurants and small shops.

"Not all of our downtowns will be cool downtowns. Those that won't be, we will try to help enhance and upgrade," Suozzi told officials from Nassau's towns, villages and cities.

Suozzi is trying to coordinate the many plans for downtown revitalization, but the municipalities and their zoning boards will decide their reality.

Suozzi added three new categories for revitalized downtowns: quaint or historic; potentially cool; and auto-oriented commercial centers.

In the quaint or historic category, Suozzi included Bayville, Roslyn, New Hyde Park and Lawrence. In the potentially cool class, Suozzi put Port Washington, Farmingdale, Syosset and Baldwin. Auto-oriented communities are Plainview, West Hempstead, Uniondale and Wantagh, he said.

Some have already made it to the pinnacle of cool, Suozzi said, naming Rockville Centre, Garden City, Great Neck Plaza and Long Beach.

Sandra Johnson, chairwoman of the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce, told Suozzi her downtown could use his help because young men from a new community youth center on Bellmore Avenue are harassing passersby and restaurant patrons. Suozzi said he would look into it. Farmingdale Mayor George Starkie told Suozzi he and his board want to do the "cool downtown" plan and have been working on it for two years, but can't come up with the money for a serious study.

Suozzi said he would look to see if the county can help.

Staff writer Joseph Mallia contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.

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