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Invest in Elmont looks to build economy

Chamber initiative expands to all five schools in Central High School District

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Now in its second year, “Invest in Elmont” is set to expand beyond the limits of Elmont. The program, which is sponsored by the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, will accept business proposals from high school juniors and seniors from all five high schools in the Sewanhaka Central High School District. “It’s not just Elmont kids that need to worry about investing in their communities,” chamber member Muzzio Tallini said. “It’s everyone.”

The program also welcomes Sewanhaka alumni that are currently enrolled in college. Eligible participants are encouraged to construct business plans to boost Elmont’s economy and downtown area — participants can compete as individuals or in groups of up to four people — a winning plan will be selected by the chamber at the end of the school year. Students have until Nov. 15 to submit their applications to the chamber.

Last year, Elmont native Titus Williams’ business plan took the grand prize — a $5,000 scholarship. Williams designed a plan that would make Belmont Park a destination for things other than just the racetrack. His inspiration came from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Williams said that making Belmont Park into an athletic and entertainment destination would boost the Elmont economy.

Chamber members said one of the main reasons Williams’ plan was chosen was because of his focus on Belmont Park. The area plays a critical role in the Elmont community and could be a huge source of revenue for the area. Chamber members would like to see Belmont developed but do not necessarily agree with proposals that have been presented in recent years.

Community members gathered at The Shop on Hempstead Turnpike on a recent Friday to discuss how the program was good for students as well as the community. Students that submit a proposal to the program will not receive class credit, but will be able to participate in entrepreneurial workshops and have the opportunity to work with local business members and venture capitalists. “I think we’re all going to be stronger because of [the project],” Carl Achille, co-owner of The Shop and a chamber member said.

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