Farmingdale, NY – Sustainable Long Island will close its operations on November 30, 2017. Over the past two decades, Sustainable Long Island spearheaded the sustainability movement on Long Island through economic development, environmental health, and social equity. As a catalyst and facilitator of community planning, Sustainable Long Island worked across the region with leaders and residents of Nassau and Suffolk County for the betterment of all Long Islanders.

Sustainable Long Island’s roots are found in a group of environmentalists, civil rights advocates, philanthropists, developers, business people and civic leaders, who came together in 1996 to discuss the economic, social, and environmental problems facing those living and working on Long Island. The organization was formally established in 1998, and was led by two remarkable individuals Amy and Horace Hagedorn.

Over the years Sustainable Long Island created positive change in many Long Island communities. Sustainable Long Island worked in often forgotten communities, such as Roosevelt, Greater Bellport, Elmont, Farmingville, Wyandanch, New Cassel, Middle Country, Flanders, Long Beach, Freeport and Bellport. Sustainable developed a course of action in which business leaders, clergy, civic associations, and community members could sit at the table with their respective local government in order to plan for the future. Sustainable Long Island was the first organization to bring all stakeholders to the table to create positive change for communities across Long Island.

In 2003, Sustainable Long Island facilitated a community-based planning event called “Wyandanch Rising,” for the hamlet of Wyandanch, in partnership with the Town of Babylon. Wyandanch Rising initially brought together hundreds of homeowners, renters, business and property owners, civic groups, clergy, planners, architects, and government officials to develop a vision plan that would provide a pedestrian-friendly community where people can live in multistory building within close proximity to goods, services, and activities not needing cars for everyday transportation. A year later, the Town of Babylon adopted the Wyandanch vision plan and immediately began moving forward with implementation efforts. From thousands of dollars invested by the Town of Babylon for community planning, tens of millions of dollars have resulted for infrastructure improvements. Sustainable Long Island pushed for the United States Postal Service to rethink their plans for a Wyandanch post office with barbed wire and bullet-proof glass—setting the wrong tone for the community— which successfully resulted in a beautiful, prosperous post office on Straight Path. Sustainable Long Island assisted the Town of Babylon on the New York State Brownfield Opportunity Area Program focusing on the study areas within the neighborhood. Sustainable Long Island advocated for the extension of sewer systems into the hamlet and spearheaded local business initiatives to create future economic development. Today, the Wyandanch Rising project has become a $500 million transformational development centered around the idea of Transit-Oriented Development. It features mixed-use buildings with apartments in the upper stories and retail space below. Many of the apartments are reserved for lower income individuals and families. The project includes a public park that can host concerts in the summer and an ice rink in the winter. Sustainable Long Island also partnered with the Wyandanch Community Development Corporation to launch a youth-staffed farmers’ market, one of several such markets Sustainable Long Island nurtured and supported across Long Island.

In October of 2012, Superstorm Sandy severely damaged many homes and businesses throughout Long Island. One of the hardest hit areas was the City of Long Beach, located on a barrier island in the southwestern portion of Nassau County, which lies along the Atlantic Ocean. Sustainable Long Island began working closely with Long Beach in November of 2012 to coordinate recovery and revitalization efforts throughout the City. Sustainable Long Island’s efforts in Long Beach have continued with more recent projects such as small business mentoring and city-wide tree planting initiatives.

Since its founding, Sustainable Long Island has made a mark for itself with the extensive environmental justice work conducted Island-wide. In SLI’s early days a Brownfield Advisory Committee was established to bring urgent brownfield matters to the forefront and look for opportunities to redevelop brownfields. More recently, Sustainable Long Island’s green infrastructure work has included the construction of multiple raingardens in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Education always being at the heart of the organization, SLI developed a rain garden website to help provide green infrastructure instructional data for both residents and businesses. The website, received over 20,000 views in its first three months of operation.

Of particular note, in the last year of operation, Sustainable Long Island along with the New York State Department of Health, Western Suffolk BOCES Student Support Services Center, and Stony Brook Medicine supported a public health initiative titled Creating Healthy Schools and Communities. The program aimed to reduce major risk factors of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in high-need school districts and associated communities.

“As with any closing of this scope we are very mindful of the impacts it will have on the communities we serve. This has been a difficult decision” said Charlotte Biblow, Esq., Sustainable Long Island Board President. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are proud of the long lasting impact Sustainable Long Island’s mission of advancing economic development, environmental health, and social equity has had on Long Island.”

Sustainable Long Island’s mission of ensuring social equity, a healthy environment and a thriving economy has been possible because of hard work of its staff, our community partners and our many supporters. While Sustainable Long Island may be shutting its doors, its legacy on Long Island continues.

After November 30th, you can reach Sustainable Long Island at PO Box 11021, Hauppauge, NY 11788.