Last Tuesday, business owners, residents and Nassau County officials gathered at Peppercorn’s for the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce’s latest meeting. Serving as guest speaker was Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and taking a moment of silence for those fighting overseas, Curran spoke to the crowd in attendance. She started by addressing the current debate in Albany over legalizing recreational marijuana.
“The overwhelming opinion after gathering all the evidence, all of the data from other states where it’s been legalized, is that we’re just not ready here in Nassau County for adult sale cannabis,” she said. “I went into this with an open mind, and the data and the reports that were done, gathered in this one big report, it really said to me we are nowhere near ready.”
The county executive then discussed the importance of IDA’s, or Individual Development Accounts.
“I think our IDA’s have gotten a bit of a black eye, but they really serve an incredibly important purpose in enticing and incentivizing companies to stay here, to expand here, to employ here,” Curran explained. “All of the 20 deals that we made through our IDA on the county level netted for all of our tax jurisdictions here in the county $78 million. So it’s real investment and we’re getting investment back. This is $78 million for our tax jurisdictions that we would not have gotten otherwise.”
The conversation then turned to downtown revitalization in Hicksville and the effort to keep younger populations living on Long Island. Curran commented that “we’ve got to be competitive with real transit-oriented development,” by building rental apartments around transit hubs to entice young people to move out, but to stay local.
According to the county executive, the Town of Oyster Bay and New York State are working on two initiatives in the Hicksville downtown area, one of which involves the town overseeing a zoning initiative to “allow for more mixed-use transit-oriented developments surrounding the train station area.” The other initiative has the state working with local stakeholders to “advance a package of projects proposed in the downtown revitalization initiative.” These projects include creation of a new festival plaza and a new entry drive into the Hicksville LIRR station to improve aesthetics and safety and to relieve congestion.
Curran closed her address to the chamber meeting by stating that the 9.8-mile third track from Floral Park to Hicksville is complete and that Nassau County is working on a project in Hicksville to develop a traffic impact study and a “preferred set of Complete Streets design improvements.”
“The town, county, state and MTA see real potential in Hicksville,” Curran said. “I’m very eager to see these projects come to fruition.”