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Downtown Revitalization Conference Set for June

Event to feature economic development specialists from across Long Island.

Kevin Law. Credit: Courtesy Photo
Kevin Law. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Thriving downtowns are the heart to Long Island’s future, experts say. That's why many are putting stock in a conference in Port Washington scheduled in June that aims to help community leaders give a needed boost to local Main Streets.

The North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corporation, or BTDC, is co-hosting the downtown revitalization conference on Friday, June 6, from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Harbor Links Club House in Port Washington.

The BTDC, under the leadership of Executive Director Kim Kaiman, is co-hosting the program with the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University. The center's Executive Dean Lawrence Levy will serve as the moderator.

“Revitalizing downtowns is one of the keys to economic development,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, a featured speaker at the seminar, said in a statement.  

“Beautifying storefronts and bringing new businesses into downtowns spurs job creation and encourages more people to shop and dine in our local establishments," she added. "This conference will benefit all stakeholders who must work together for this process to be successful, including our business owners, residents, civic associations and elected officials.”

Featuring a free continental breakfast and lunch, the event will include an extensive list of speakers with decades of experience in economic development. The speakers will cover a multitude of downtown revitalization topics, such as building grassroots momentum, developing a downtown plan, streetscape improvements, the arts as a downtown anchor and financing downtown efforts.

Vanessa Pugh, Deputy Commissioner, Suffolk County Office of Economic Development, will give the morning keynote address. Pug has worked on revitalization projects in New Cassel in North Hempstead and Wyandanch in the Town of Babylon.  

Kevin Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association, will deliver the keynote at the luncheon.  In 2011, Law was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as co-chair of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, a board that leads economic development initiatives in the region. Law will speak on “downtown” funding successes in areas such as Wyandanch, Glen Cove and Huntington.

In addition to Law and Supervisor Bosworth, the luncheon plenary session will feature Michael Puntillo, Jr., president and principal, Jobco Realty & Construction, a 64-year-old Great Neck-based firm, who will talk about the ongoing Glen Cove Piazza mixed-use development project.

Other panels will feature a group of village mayors, including Ralph Kreitzman from the Village of Great Neck, and Peter Cavallaro from the Village of Westbury, who will discuss how they effected change in their respective communities.  There will also be an arts panel with Regina Gil, the Executive Director of the Gold Coast Arts Center, and Vanessa Greene, who has spearheaded ArtsBuild New Cassel.

Early registration is available online at http://www.btdc.biz/OnlineRegistration.asp. For more information, call 311 in the Town of North Hempstead or (516) 869-6311 if you are calling from outside the town.

Anne DeAcetis June 03, 2014 at 01:41 PM
I don't understand the obsession with the PSEG poles. It's hard to argue they are uglier than the sagging, leaning, greying infrastructure we have now. But I do think it's terrible that parking tickets on Main Street are more expensive than those issued in New York City. How can we have a vibrant downtown if there's not enough parking, and what parking there is comes with the threat of worse tickets than you'd get on Madison Ave.?
joe thrapp June 03, 2014 at 02:13 PM
The traffic poles are treated with creosote a distilled tar coating. This is a known carcinogen. The pole coatings are also being treated with high concentrations of pesticides and wood preservers. Eliminate parking enforcement agents,lower the parking fines, keep the meters and have one agent to sporadically issue parking tickets. This will save hundreds of thousands in salaries. This will be a revenue neutral act. It will maintain the fees and reduce expenses.
sadeto June 03, 2014 at 09:13 PM
Creosote is not a 'known carcinogen', it is classified as a possible carcinogen by both the EPA and ATSDR due to limited evidence of laboratory animal cancer risk. As far as studies of people who work with it all day - no evidence that exposure leads to increased risk of cancer in humans. OSHA has restrictions on workplace exposure due to the fact that it is a skin irritant.
joe thrapp June 04, 2014 at 01:51 AM
Did you ever see a child touch a pole covered in tar and put it in their mouths? Out of the thousands of dangerous drugs registered with the EPA. The EPA has only classified 5 drugs as drugs which cause cancer. The fact that creosote causes cancer in mice and "inhalation of vapors may present a lug cancer hazard to humans". You see not specifically stating that creosote causes cancer, but it may.
jonathan winant June 04, 2014 at 05:37 PM
Talking about parking issues along Main Street... does anyone remember that the old Sheilds property was to become a parking lot for employees of businesses along Main Street. The theory was that this might free up more parking for residents and shoppers. Why did TONH spend so much money to aquire the land if they are presently doing nothing with it?


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