$350K study to look at downtown development

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“We’re kind of lost between two villages,” she said. “We’d love to see things that aren’t offered elsewhere to make Baldwin a destination.”

David Sabatino, president of Envision Valley Stream, said he looks forward to telling the study partners more about why his area is ideal for transit-oriented development on Dec. 6.

Sabatino, who said he has been following this project for a long time, said Valley Stream already has a bustling downtown to expand upon. He said he would like to see more foot traffic around the train station and apartments to attract people to the community, adding that he believes development around the train station could make that happen.

“We’re really looking for this type of development in Valley Stream,” he said. “This is the direction we need to move in for the future.”

Other civic leaders presented ideas to planners that they felt would affect numerous communities rather than their own specifically.

Berta Weinstein, vice president of the South Merrick Community Civic Association, said she was unsure whether developers would be interested in coming to Merrick because of the lack of affordable property in the area. But she said would like to see a pedestrian over- or underpass at the train station so people would not have to cross Sunrise Highway to get from the station to the residential neighborhoods and business districts to the south.

“Sunrise Highway is a six-lane speedway,” she said. “If you present a safety issue across an entire line, correcting this could be beneficial to many communities and not just the three that you pick.”

Suggestions for a Sunrise Highway walkway and other projects were taken at the focus group meetings, and the civic leaders also answered written survey questions. The study partners will put together all of the information they have been gathering about each community into a report before three are selected and phase two begins.

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