Now that 2020 has arrived, officials are eyeing the beginning and completion of several major projects in Oceanside and Island Park.
In Island Park
Mayor Michael McGinty said there are plenty of projects that he is excited about in the new year. “Planning for the continued revitalization, the renaissance of Island Park, is ongoing,” he said, “and our number one priority.”
McGinty said that the Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program has reached its design-and-engineering phase. The project includes upgrades and refinements to about 39,000 linear feet of storm drains and an expansion of 326 drain boxes across the village to help mitigate flooding. The design-and-engineering part of the plan is the second phase of the project, which McGinty said he expects to be completed by the end of the year, and then followed by the acceptance of bids and, ultimately, the construction phase.
Village officials also said they hope a house-to-house reduction of flood insurance premiums will be seen across Island Park after entering the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s community rating system. As a part of the National Flood Insurance Program, the rating system is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk. McGinty said he was confident that the reductions would be completed ahead of schedule, in the first quarter of 2020.
McGinty said that village officials had also reached an agreement with the Manhattan-based Cameron Engineering to participate in a pilot project including a hydraulic flex valve program, in which flex valves will be installed to replace aging ones across the village. In addition, the village will look to use funds to address the issue of zombie homes — whose number, McGinty noted, had dropped from 100 in 2016 to 40 in 2019 — and to work on a second erosion-control project on the north side of Waterford Road.
The new year will also ring in the beginning of construction of a $90 million, 172-unit luxury apartment complex in Harbor Isle, at the site of a former Cibro petroleum-storage facility that once housed 17 million gallons of oil and fuel. Posillico Inc. transported the final two loads of contaminated soil from the site to its Farmingdale-based treatment plant in November. AvalonBay Communities is set to purchase the property early this year, and construction will start soon after.
Island Park Chamber of Commerce President Barbra Rubin-Perry said she looked forward to several initiatives in 2020, including inviting two business owners to each monthly meeting to discuss why they came to Island Park and what steps they took toward success.
The chamber will also work closely with Legislator Denise Ford to keep businesses abreast of traffic and construction delays on Austin Boulevard when the repair project begins in the spring.
Rubin-Perry added that the chamber will continue to hold its annual events and ribbon cuttings, and noted that plans are in the works for new ways to strategize about how to bring successful businesses to Island Park.
“The chamber will be holding joint meetings with the boards of directors and officers of Island Park, Oceanside and Long Beach to see how, together, we can bring new business to our area and help those businesses that are already here,” she said.
One large project on tap in Oceanside is the controversial Woodcrest Village Park proposal to build a $60 million, 230-unit apartment complex at a site on Rockaway Avenue. In May, Nassau County officials approved the site plan for the four-story, 260,000-square-foot rental complex, which will replace a 105-unit Woodcrest rental complex that was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.
Though many residents have expressed opposition to the project, County Executive Laura Curran lauded its benefits at a news conference in September 2018. “This fits right into our vision for economic development right here in Nassau County — transit-oriented development,” Curran said at the event. “It’s rental housing that is accessible to our train stations, and that’s what should be happening right here.”
Requests for comments from Curran and the Town of Hempstead about the timeline for the project’s completion were not answered at press time, but it is now under construction.
Detractors of the project have expressed concern that it would be twice the size of the old building, and would exacerbate traffic issues in an area already heavily used. Officials, meanwhile, said it would be a local economic boon, prevent residents from moving out of the county and minimally impact the school district.
Another development that will gain steam in Oceanside in 2020, but has had its share of detractors, is the reworking of the land now occupied by the Oceanside Jewish Center.
Charles Weinraub, a real estate investor known as “the handsome homebuyer,” purchased 24,000 square feet of the 40,000-square-foot property. He and Mandalay Holdings, the company he plans to work with, will build one of five developments: a 120-unit apartment building, a 120-unit senior housing complex, an assisted-living facility, storage units or a medical office.
Weinraub will buy roughly two-thirds of the land’s southernmost portion. The OJC facilities, including the pre-school, catering hall and temple, will downsize and remain on the northern part of the property.
In October, about 100 residents gathered at the Knights of Columbus in Oceanside to express their displeasure with the project, most noting that congestion and overdevelopment were their main concerns. Weinraub previously stated that additional traffic would not be an issue with the “senior options,” because he did not believe many would drive.
“It takes 15 to 20 minutes already to drive from one end of Oceanside Road to the other,” said Joyce Lipton, who organized the event. “It’s also concerning to think that just because someone is a senior, they don’t have a car. It’s an unreasonable expectation.”
At press time, there was no indication about when a decision will be made on which project will be developed.
It will be a busy year of development in Island Park and Oceanside in 2020.
Briana Bonfiglio contributed to this story.