Long Island Index Maps Out Potential For Revitalizing Downtowns
A new report compiled and issued by the Long Island Index entitled, Places to Grow, analyzes the possibilities of not only bringing back our downtowns from the brink, but more, giving new life to what, in many instances, have become the graveyards of suburbia.
Transit-oriented housing in close proximity to the community's business district. Mixed use development. Higher density. Greater walkability.
Hmmmm. Now where have we heard all of this proposed before? Oh yeah. Right here on The Community Alliance blog! [Smarty pants...]
Anyway, as Rauch Foundation (the folks who routinely finance such studies) President Nancy Douzinas asserts, “The region must find a way to achieve this balance.” “Managed growth in the downtowns has been a revenue generator in other parts of the country with greater job growth, lower property taxes, fewer cars and better environmental outcomes. Long Island could certainly use all of that!”
Yup, we certainly could.
The report provides information about more than 100 Long Island downtowns and LIRR station areas, highlighting the potential for growth opportunities through, among other tools, an interactive map. [So that's what we've been missing. A map!]
From Albertson to Yaphank, comparisons are drawn, numbers are crunched, and the road map to renewal and, more than this, sustainability, is drawn. [About the only things missing are the artists' renderings.]
Cases studies (you always need case studies, you know) of communities that could serve as experiential lessons for transit-oriented growth are cited, including Fairfax, VA, South Orange, NJ, and, closer to home, Mineola, NY.
With an eye toward land preservation and keeping what's good, the report ponders the prospects of a smart growth environment; one that incorporates affordable housing, mixed commercial, retail, recreational and residential use, and a rail station or downtown center, as means to create "strong downtowns" with a "sense of culture and community."
Ahh. A sense of community. Now they're talking our language.
Of course, talking about transit-oriented development and actually building sustainable communities with vibrant and vital downtowns are two different animals, indeed.
Millions on studies, reports, and high-falutin' plans go for naught if barely a dime is spent to commit taking that which is on the drawing board to the streets of Long Island.
Whether it's the dawning of a new day in Elmont by replacing the old Argo movie theater with a much needed supermarket, the end of an era of infamy in West Hempstead through the demolition of the Courtesy Hotel as entree to transit-oriented housing, or the broader, county-vaulting cornerstone of the Lighthouse Project as renaissance for the entire region, we can continue to study, debate, and consider -- while the blight of the brownfields consumes us all -- or we could very well do something -- today, and not tomorrow (or the day after that) -- to truly make Long Island not only a place to grow, but the showplace of suburbia we always knew it could be.
To quote Nike (do you think they have any studies or reports on point?), Just do it!
- - -
Click HERE to read the full report, Places to Grow.
- - -
For sure, the clock is ticking. . .