Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that the City of Long Beach and the Village of Lindenhurst will each receive $4.5 million in funding as the Long Island region winners of the first round of NY Forward. Building on the momentum of the State’s successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the $100 million NY Forward program adopts the same “Plan-then-Act” strategy as the DRI to support a more equitable downtown recovery for New York’s smaller and rural communities. As part of NY Forward Round One, two to three awards will be made to smaller communities in each of the State’s ten economic development regions to support development and implementation of a revitalization plan for their downtowns.
“Our downtowns create a vital economic lifeline for so many of our smaller communities to thrive, flourish, and reach their full potential,” Governor Hochul said. “As we continue to assist New York businesses recover from the pandemic, we are executing an equitable plan with NY Forward to uplift our business districts utilizing the successful blueprint of our Downtown Revitalization Initiative.”
NY Forward is a central component of the State’s economic development efforts, working together with DRI to accelerate and expand the revitalization of New York’s downtowns. NY Forward serves smaller communities with historic character that distinguishes them from the larger, more urban central business districts typically funded through DRI. NY Forward communities are walkable, less dense areas that serve the immediate local community, and are more local in nature – focusing on the immediately surrounding residential or rural agricultural centric development.
Like DRI, each NY Forward community will develop a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown through a slate of readily implementable projects. The Department of State will provide enhanced technical assistance to better support smaller communities that may have less capacity as part of the NY Forward program and fund projects appropriately scaled to the size of each community. Projects may include building renovation and redevelopment, new construction or creation of new or improved public spaces and other projects that elevate specific cultural, historical qualities that enhance the feeling of small-town charm.
Long Beach, nicknamed the “City by the Sea”, is best known for its beach and associated boardwalk. Long Beach’s downtown includes the Park Avenue Central Business District, which is home to over 180 businesses. The City of Long Beach seeks to enhance its downtown’s status as a major regional destination by expanding the City’s Complete Streets Initiatives to introduce new traffic calming measures and improved circulation, making its main thoroughfare friendlier to pedestrians and bikers. The City also aims to promote transit oriented/smart and equitable development, grow existing and new local businesses to provide high-quality jobs and expand the arts, along with building resilient infrastructure.
The Village of Lindenhurst’s downtown is defined by a compact and walkable Village core, which also includes several of the Village’s premier open space assets and community amenities. The Village has a goal of creating a healthy, thriving downtown that is attractive for businesses, visitors and residents alike. To spur economic growth in the downtown, the Village has already engaged in numerous planning efforts, including creating a Downtown Redevelopment District Floating Zone to encourage residential and mixed-use development and redevelopment on sites within walking distance of the LIRR and the central business district. Lindenhurst aims to build on these efforts by creating new multi-modal travel choices in and around downtown, transforming underutilized properties into commercial space and mixed-use developments and investing in housing and community amenities.
Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Downtown communities across the state are being transformed by New York’s unique ‘plan-then-act’ approach to downtown revitalization, and Long Beach and Lindenhurst are the first communities on Long Island to be awarded funding through our newest program – NY Forward. This funding will help Long Beach and Lindenhurst achieve their community-driven visions for downtown resurgence and spur equitable economic growth for generations to come.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “NY Forward is a catalyst for revitalization, helping local communities create new opportunities for growth and economic prosperity. The City of Long Beach and the Village of Lindenhurst will benefit greatly from this funding, as they work to enhance their status as regional destinations and promote sustainable, equitable development. This will not only bring new businesses to the area but also create healthy and thriving downtowns that are attractive to residents, visitors, and businesses alike.”
Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Linda Armyn, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Bethpage Federal Credit Union and President of Farmingdale State College Dr. John Nader said, “The LIREDC is thrilled that the City of Long Beach and the Village of Lindenhurst have each been selected as recipients of $4.5 million through NY Forward. This funding will provide a vital boost to smaller and rural communities, allowing them to create opportunities for long-term growth and prosperity. The investments made through NY Forward will have a transformative impact on the economic future of these communities, and we look forward to seeing the positive changes that will come as a result.”
State Senator Monica R. Martinez said, “I applaud Governor Hochul for her steadfast commitment in providing the necessary resources needed for a community to flourish. The Village of Lindenhurst has focused on creating a walkable, vibrant downtown that prioritizes the needs of both its residents and businesses and will serve as a model for other communities to follow. I look forward to seeing the positive impact New York Forward and other programs alike will have on the state’s economy and overall quality of life for New Yorkers.”
State Senator Alexis Weik said, “I am so proud to support the great Village of Lindenhurst as the recipients of the NY Forward Grant, a $4.5 million dollar award for downtown revitalization. Mayor, Mike Lavorata, Village Trustee, RJ Renna and assistant to the Village Board, Katie McCaffrey have worked hard to garner support to bring these funds to their village. The Mayor has brought many new family friendly changes to the village, like removing an abandoned building to create a village square park, a gathering place for concerts, family-fun events and New Year’s Eve festivities. They have their sights set on possibly acquiring and removing an old court house to increase that small-town charm that has become Lindenhurst. These funds will bring so much more to the charming village and certainly make it a destination.”
State Senator Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick said, “Long Beach has a long and storied history as a vibrant and beautiful seaside community by the shores of the Atlantic. The receipt of NY Forward funds will be an important catalyst to help further revitalize the downtown area of the City by the Sea. I want to thank Governor Hochul for working with me to deliver economic support to the community of Long Beach.”
Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “I am proud that the Village of Lindenhurst has been chosen as a NY Forward winner. The Village of Lindenhurst has a vibrant and walkable downtown which has attracted many to the area. The Village has worked extremely hard to make improvements and I am happy their efforts are being recognized today. I appreciate Governor Hochul’s investment in our downtown communities allowing them to be an attraction for years to come.”
Assemblymember Ari Brown said, “Long Beach, is one of only two cities on Long Island, a beautiful community, rich in its diversity and history. Long Beach has truly turned itself around over the past forty years; I recall in the early 80s many abandoned homes and storefronts. Long Beach truly is a hidden gem, but certainly can use this funding to help it transform and emerge as a world class seaside destination. I commend Governor Hochul for her efforts and for choosing Long Beach as one of the NY Forward recipients.”
President of Long Beach City Council John Bendo said, “We want to thank Governor Hochul and the State for this investment. Home to 35,000 residents and a major destination for visitors in the summer, a thriving business district is key to Long Beach’s success. With this historic investment, we can now focus on a much needed renewal of our central business district, to meet the needs of our residents and visitors alike.”
Village of Lindenhurst Mayor Michael Lavorata said, “The Village of Lindenhurst is thrilled to receive this grant award! I cannot express our excitement over this incredible achievement. I wish to thank Katie McCaffrey and RJ Renna for all of their hard work. I would like to especially recognize Ms. McCaffrey who spearheaded the operation as well as made the presentation and has helped further the Village’s commitment to ongoing downtown revitalization! This is truly a historical event for us in our Centennial year and as we look forward to our next 100 years.”
The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered the criteria below before recommending these communities as nominees:
The downtown should be compact, with well-dened boundaries that include the downtown being able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas, recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown which support redevelopment and make growth sustainable, and the downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, income, gender, identity, ability, mobility and cultural background.
Additionally, the municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, conduct an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a Strategic Investment Plan. The boundaries also include the municipality having identied transformative projects that will be ready for near-term implementation with an infusion of NY Forward funds and the municipality having the local capacity to manage the planning process and implementation of projects, including the ability to oversee contracts for awarded municipal projects.
Long Beach and Lindenhurst will now begin the process of developing Strategic Investment Plans to revitalize their downtowns. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders will lead these eorts, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan will examine local assets and opportunities to identify projects that align with each community’s vision and that are poised for implementation. Funding will be awarded for selected projects from the Strategic Investment Plan that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and generate new opportunities for long-term growth.