Opinion

Taking a smart approach toward revitalizing Lynbrook

Posted

Editor’s note: The following was sent to the Lynbrook/East Rockaway Editor from Lynbrook Village Trustee Robert Boccio in response to a letter sent to the Herald in December.

I would like to start by thanking Jeanne Murphy for submitting her letter to the Editor, “Lynbrook needs strategic approach to downtown revitalization,” which ran in the Dec. 13-19 edition.

As a Lynbrook trustee, I am grateful for any and all constructive and civilized feedback that is provided by our residents. However, most of Murphy’s associates in the Lynbrook Community Alliance group have unfortunately decided to sponsor a campaign of misinformation, patently erroneous facts, anonymous fliers and baseless and disgraceful allegations of “corruption” against Mayor Alan Beach and the Lynbrook board of trustees.

Many of these tactics have not only been decried by Lynbrook residents, but have also been publicly denounced by several of the LCA’s own members, as it is apparent that Lynbrook residents will not tolerate staged political rallies and nasty slurs that are orchestrated by high-powered, Manhattan public relations firms. Lynbrook residents simply care about the issues that will impact their daily lives.

With respect to the content of Murphy’s letter, she essentially argued that the village “needs to step back … and consider the compounded impact” of redevelopment in the downtown area. I do not disagree. However, I wholeheartedly disagree with her underlying assertion that Beach and the board has been taking a “shoot-from-the-hip approach to revitalization.” Unfortunately, declarations such as these demonstrate an uninformed view of how this mayor and board have methodically approached the very real issue of revitalizing Lynbrook’s downtown region.

While the board has used, in part, the 2009 revitalization plan Murphy referenced in her letter — a plan that was commissioned by then-Mayor Brian Curran and spearheaded by Beach when he was a trustee — it has not been the sole basis for addressing the long-term strategic goals of revitalizing Lynbrook’s downtown. In reviewing the challenges that face the downtown region, the board continues to study the empirical data and approaches employed by several other villages and hamlets across Long Island. In addition, the board has been listening to the concerns and issues raised by residents and local business owners., and will continue to.

Indeed, as we understand that revitalizing our downtown will require a multi-faceted approach, several significant steps and enhancements have been undertaken in order to make Lynbrook a more desirable neighborhood to residents, as well as potential businesses that are in keeping with the character of our village. Notably, the mayor and board have worked hard, along with the help of other local officials, toward securing a $17.5 million investment in addressing the deplorable state of the Lynbrook train station. In addition, the village’s streetscape program has provided attractive brick work along streets and walkways; new lampposts; a waterfall by the Regal movie theatre; as well as music piped into the downtown region so that people experience a more pleasant shopping experience. Additionally, the village has undertaken an aggressive approach in rethinking our parks and recreation activities by recently hiring an expert consulting company to devise a master plan geared toward improving Greis Park.

While I agree with Murphy that revitalization should be carefully studied and considered, I am left wondering about her ideas for growing and revitalizing Lynbrook’s downtown. Although she seems to criticize mutli-family housing or a parking garage in one sentence, she then goes on to say that she is not opposed to apartment rentals in our downtown district. Indeed, it would appear that the only idea she has is to conduct more studies. To borrow a phrase from one Lynbrook neighbor, “’No’ is not a plan.” Through our Requests for Proposals process, our village must continuously evaluate and solicit proposals in order to move toward revitalization. If we fail to do so, we will undoubtedly be left behind while our neighbors throughout Long Island move forward. We cannot afford to have such a myopic outlook, as the goal of our village government is to safeguard what we have and plan for the future.

I applaud Murphy for acknowledging that we need to address the challenge of revitalizing our downtown region and invite her, as well as all residents, to continue this dialogue with the mayor and board. We all live in this village and have a vested interest in doing what’s in the best interest of Lynbrook. I can assure Murphy and our residents that Beach and the board are committed to thoroughly vetting any proposed development within the village. None of us consider each other to be “cowboys” with taxpayer revenues or the quality of life we all seek to preserve within our community.