Seeking a Shared Vision for Roosevelt
Sustainable Long Island continues to work with the Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group (RCRG) to address pressing needs identified by the Roosevelt community, most recently including the issue of access to healthy and affordable fresh food.
For many years, Roosevelt was known for its dark image: failing schools, crime, downtown deterioration, unemployment, and boarded up buildings. Broken promises had left residents with no belief that anyone was listening to them and no faith that revitalization would ever come.
In 2002, Sustainable Long Island facilitated a community visioning process called “Seeking a Shared Vision for Roosevelt” that sought to revitalize the Nassau Road corridor in Roosevelt’s downtown. The visioning process convened 500 stakeholders, in partnership with the Former Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Richard V. Guardino, Jr. This was the running point where Roosevelt residents began to take their community back.
Following the visioning process, Sustainable Long Island wrote a community revitalization and economic development plan for Roosevelt and identified 15 brownfields along the main commercial corridor. In 2003, Sustainable Long Island organized over 100 volunteers from the Roosevelt community to construct a new playground at the Washington Rose Elementary School, one of the projects identified in the community vision plan. The playground, which took three days to build, was designed by youth from the Roosevelt community.
In 2007, the Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group (RCRG) recommitted to the goals of revitalization along Nassau Road – successfully beginning to beautify the streetscape along Nassau Road, adding a “Welcome to Roosevelt” sign, brick sidewalks and a brand new community clock.
In 2009, Roosevelt broke ground on a brand new bank, Bethpage Federal Credit Union. The community also received funding from Nassau County for roadway improvements and funding from the Hagedorn Foundation to move forward the Hub project. The original aim of the Hagedorn Hubs project in Roosevelt was to construct an environmentally and financially sustainable building with a commercial anchor, non-profit shared space and affordable housing units. However, this has shifted to ensure that the vision and needs of the community are met through further input and engagement. In the meantime, Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group released a request for proposal for a real estate advisor, interviewed three companies and hired Economic Research Associates (ERA). It has identified several potential properties, both publicly and privately owned, for the project site and is in the process of determining which will be the best fit.
In 2010, Sustainable Long Island, in partnership with Long Island Farm Bureau and RCRG, launched a pilot project community youth-run farmers’ market to improve access to fresh produce, while creating jobs for local high school students, enhancing the local economy and fostering a sense of community.