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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Government
$350K study to look at downtown development
Christina Daly/Herald
The Nassau County Infill Redevelopment Feasibility Study is designed to examine opportunities for transit-oriented development in three areas around Long Island Rail Road stations. Merrick is one of 21 locations that could be selected for pilot planning programs.

The planning division of the Nassau County Department of Public Works has partnered with several organizations to conduct a federally funded study that will explore ways to promote development in three yet-to-be-determined downtowns surrounding Long Island Rail Road stations.

DPW Commissioner Shila Shah-Gavnoudias said the county has received $350,000 of a $3.5 million New York and Connecticut Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant to conduct the study. Funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Partners taking part in the project will determine three of 21 possible locations for the study, which will look at ways to improve quality of life and the economy for local residents and business owners.

Representatives of the planning division, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Vision Long Island and Citizens Campaign for the Environment have been meeting with civic leaders from across the county to determine which areas would be most suitable to begin pilot planning programs.

Shah-Gavnoudias said the purpose of the Nassau County Infill Redevelopment Feasibility Study is twofold.

“One is to collect and synthesize all of the local planning efforts that are going on in Nassau County into one comprehensive report,” she said. “The second is to study three station areas for pilot plans that will either be site plans or rezoning plans.”

Sean Sallie, a county senior planner, explained that the objective is to form “working collaborations” among the major players needed for regional planning efforts, ranging from village trustees to state Department of Transportation officials.

Sallie added those working on the project try to refrain from calling it a study. “We’re trying to get away from that because this is really more than just studying,” he said, noting that "it’s more about moving local projects forward.”

The project will be completed in two phases, Sallie said. Phase one will be an assessment of existing conditions at the 21 LIRR stations, which include Baldwin, Bellmore, Lynbrook, Merrick, Rockville Centre, Valley Stream and West Hempstead, among others. In phase two, study partners will select the project’s three stations.

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