Opportunity for revitalization
In January 2010, Sustainable Long Island and project partners submitted the North Main Street Corridor Master Plan for Freeport, which serves as a catalyst for Freeport’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Program application process.
The Village of Freeport is a diverse community with waterfront to the south and industry to the north. There is a wonderful opportunity for revitalization and investment in the North Main Street Corridor, which runs from the LIRR station to the northern border of Freeport and Roosevelt, as this area typifies a condition prevalent across Long Island: the declining commercial strip.
As Long Islanders become increasingly concerned about losing their next generation to places with greater economic opportunities, more affordable housing, less congestion and more vibrant downtowns, places like the North Main Street Corridor have the potential to solve these problems.
In 2009, Sustainable Long Island, along with Moule and Polyzoides and Regional Plan Association, successfully won the request for proposal (RFP) process to conduct the community planning process for the North Main Street Corridor Master Plan in Freeport.
The community visioning project in Freeport brought in 300 residents, and resulted in the revitalization plan, a community coalition of twenty community and civic leaders, and a local government that is aware of the community’s issues and desires. Sustainable Long Island organized a Steering Committee, comprised of twenty community members, that has taken a leadership role in the revitalization process and is committed to the implementation of the community plan. They haven overseen and informed the community planning process, conducted targeted outreach to ensure public participation and facilitated a design charrette over three days in late October of 2009. Through site visits, presentations, meetings and open studios, Sustainable Long Island and our project partners helped community members explore transit-oriented development and create recommendations for the plan.
Once the North Main Street Corridor Master Plan was submitted in January of 2010, Sustainable Long Island assisted the Village in submitting a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Step Two Nomination Study to the New York State Department of State. This BOA application outlines the project and boundaries, describes public participation activities, and provides an inventory and analysis of the proposed brownfield opportunity area. The proposed brownfield redevelopment will significantly contribute to environmental and economic revitalization of the community, promoting job creation, increasing municipal taxes, encouraging new small businesses, and transforming underutilized spaces into vibrant, healthy places. Sustainable Long Island will continue to work with Freeport throughout the application process, as well as provide assistance during the implementation phase of the project.
In 2013, Sustainable Long Island, in partnership with the Cedarmore Corporation, The Long Island Volunteer Center, and The Freeport Trailer, brought together over 30 volunteers to Zion Cathedral in Freeport last week to construct a community garden for residents of the Village of Freeport. Additional partners for this project included LI Green Market, Farmers & Friends, Inc., Lowe’s Home Improvement, and students and instructors from Stony Brook University, Briarcliffe College, and Hofstra University.
Thanks to funding from Bank of America and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock, volunteers prepared the site and constructed eight garden beds and two compost bins. During the winter, volunteers and local residents will help to fill the compost bins so that they can reuse the compost in the spring, when Sustainable Long Island and Farmers and Friends, Inc. will return to demonstrate how to plant various seeds and seedlings in 2014.
In 2014, Sustainable Long Island, in partnership with the Cedarmore Corporation, The Long Island Volunteer Center, LI Green Market, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, brought together over 20 volunteers to Zion Cathedral in Freeport to add to the existing community garden for residents of the Village of Freeport.
Thanks to funding from Bank of America, volunteers prepared the site and constructed seven additional garden beds, while also planting summer crops, including tomatoes and cabbage.
The builds also provided the opportunity for people to think and learn about eating healthier and supporting locally grown food. A community garden comes with many benefits, some of which include:
- Improving the quality of life for all involved
- Providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
- Stimulating social interaction
- Encouraging self-reliance
- Beautifying neighborhoods
- Producing nutritious foods
- Preserving green space
- Spurring economic development
- Promoting a sense of place
- Teaching various skills that are transferable in the workplace