Thriving downtowns are the heart to Long Island’s future, experts say. That's why many are putting stock in a conference in Port Washington scheduled in June that aims to help community leaders give a needed boost to local Main Streets.
The North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corporation, or BTDC, is co-hosting the downtown revitalization conference on Friday, June 6, from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Harbor Links Club House in Port Washington.
The BTDC, under the leadership of Executive Director Kim Kaiman, is co-hosting the program with the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University. The center's Executive Dean Lawrence Levy will serve as the moderator.
“Revitalizing downtowns is one of the keys to economic development,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, a featured speaker at the seminar, said in a statement.
“Beautifying storefronts and bringing new businesses into downtowns spurs job creation and encourages more people to shop and dine in our local establishments," she added. "This conference will benefit all stakeholders who must work together for this process to be successful, including our business owners, residents, civic associations and elected officials.”
Featuring a free continental breakfast and lunch, the event will include an extensive list of speakers with decades of experience in economic development. The speakers will cover a multitude of downtown revitalization topics, such as building grassroots momentum, developing a downtown plan, streetscape improvements, the arts as a downtown anchor and financing downtown efforts.
Vanessa Pugh, Deputy Commissioner, Suffolk County Office of Economic Development, will give the morning keynote address. Pug has worked on revitalization projects in New Cassel in North Hempstead and Wyandanch in the Town of Babylon.
Kevin Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association, will deliver the keynote at the luncheon. In 2011, Law was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as co-chair of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, a board that leads economic development initiatives in the region. Law will speak on “downtown” funding successes in areas such as Wyandanch, Glen Cove and Huntington.
In addition to Law and Supervisor Bosworth, the luncheon plenary session will feature Michael Puntillo, Jr., president and principal, Jobco Realty & Construction, a 64-year-old Great Neck-based firm, who will talk about the ongoing Glen Cove Piazza mixed-use development project.
Other panels will feature a group of village mayors, including Ralph Kreitzman from the Village of Great Neck, and Peter Cavallaro from the Village of Westbury, who will discuss how they effected change in their respective communities. There will also be an arts panel with Regina Gil, the Executive Director of the Gold Coast Arts Center, and Vanessa Greene, who has spearheaded ArtsBuild New Cassel.
Early registration is available online at http://www.btdc.biz/OnlineRegistration.asp. For more information, call 311 in the Town of North Hempstead or (516) 869-6311 if you are calling from outside the town.