Dozens filled the Elmont Memorial Library meeting room on April 26 for the return of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce’s “State of Elmont” event, which featured several prominent speakers of the community.
Elected officials, civic groups, members of the Elmont Post 1033, school administrators, nonprofit representatives and more were invited to talk with the audience about what they have been working on and projects or initiatives they hope to accomplish in the next year.
“We thought now was the proper time to let people know in Elmont what is going on and which organizations are back in action, doing what their mission is,” said Julie Marchesella, president of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce. “Every organization has something to offer and we thought now was the time to get everybody together.”
Marchesella informed the crowd of some of the initiatives the chamber has launched since they have been able to reconvene following the Covid-19 pandemic. One significant project included the revamp of the ‘Welcome to Elmont’ sign outside of Sapienza’s Bake Shop on Oakley Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike.
The sign is now dedicated to the late Paul Sapienza, who was the chamber’s past president, the owner of Sapienza’s Bake Shop and an Elmont resident for over 50 years.
Other initiatives included expanding the community’s holiday lights and garland thanks to a grant from PSEG Long Island.
In collaboration with the Elmont Fire Department, Marchesella mentioned the Elmont chamber plans to establish a “Wall of Heroes” on the corner of School Street and Hempstead Turnpike, which will honor local veterans and heroes within the Elmont community.
Marchesella said the chamber has yet to replace its welcome sign near the UBS Arena, which is still missing due to the construction of the venue’s parking garage. They are working on installing a new sign in that location.
However, the Elmont president said the New York Racing Association is going to be putting up some signage about being in Elmont sometime soon.
“We’re proud of Elmont and we want people when they cross over the Cross Island Parkway to know they are in our community, that they are no longer in the city,” Marchesella said.
Angelica Caggiano, a police officer for the Nassau County Police Department’s 5th Precinct, spoke about her experience in the Problem Oriented Policing Squad — known as the POP Squad — which works closely with the schools and communities to make them safer.
The officers also work closely residents and officials to find out their concerns and how the police department can help.
“No one has a sense of pride in community like Elmont residents do,” Caggiano said. “We cannot do what we do as a police department successfully without the support of our community and with having close relationships with our residents.”
Ralph Esposito, who has been involved in the Elmont Fire Department for roughly 35 years, gave the audience an update on last year’s fire call statistics and what the department is doing currently as far as recruitment and retention strategies.
There used to be 240 members, but that number has decreased over the years, Esposito said. The department is looking for “young blood” to join its junior firefighter program for teens ages 14 to 18.
Although it’s a tough business, Esposito said, he is grateful for the Elmont community’s never-ending support of the fire department.
“We have the most diversified community and we are united — I wouldn’t move anywhere else,” Esposito said.