The nonprofit smart growth advocacy group Vision Long Island recently celebrated 20 years of working to lay the ground work for architectural modernization in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The group has advocated for mixed-use developments in communities such as Westbury, Mineola, Farmingdale, Huntington, Copiague, Patchogue and others. Key features of such residential apartment buildings are ground-floor businesses, green spaces, and being near public transportation and walkable downtown areas.
“When we started in 1997, many people doubted that a project to create modern apartments in the center of the towns would give results,” Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander told the audience during the Feb. 15 gala at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. “They thought that nobody wanted to live in buildings that had commercial premises on the first floor, but over time those same critics… started working hand in hand with us.”
That support has allowed Vision Long Island to help foster changes in 40 communities on the Island, a mission that projects to have by 2035 a large number of towns where the center is beautiful, elegant and modern.
“We have learned a lot along the way,” Alexander said. “We admire the work of elected officials in all municipalities that have modernized, as well as the dedication of small businesses to better see the main streets and the power of people in their own communities.”
The celebration brought together business leaders and policy makers that aim to continue working to revitalize LI despite frequent NIMBY critics that often rally against such projects.
The next step is to continue listening to the merchants, residents and the community and invite the new generation to come to the local meetings of the communities where they live or work, contribute ideas and be protagonists of this growth that ensures a better future on Long Island, Alexander said.