Mayor’s Letter to the Residents April 2, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

The last few weeks have been very difficult for our community.  We have been hit with waves of sadness as we lost some very special people.  We came together in vigils and funerals with aching hearts for the ones we lost.  Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families who have suffered these terrible losses.  I am sure the support from family, friends, classmates and neighbors is greatly appreciated.  It was a credit to our community to see such an outpouring of love and support.  The display is evidence that this is a tight and caring community, even if we sometimes conceal it too well.

We were also challenged with several major storms; bringing snow and wind.  We had a very large oak tree toppled by the wind that came crashing down on two homes.  Luckily, no one was hurt, but the damage to the homes was substantial.

I would like to express my thanks to Superintendent of Public Works and Buildings, Tom Gannon and the men and woman of the Department of Public Works for their hard work in dealing with these forces of nature.  Our DPW crews worked around the clock clearing roads from snow and fallen     branches.  Thanks to their tireless work, our roads were safe and passable.  It is remarkable to note that while spending all night plowing snow, our Sanitation crew didn’t miss a pick up.  Once again, the best of us comes out in trying times.

Similarly, through many late nights, the Board of Trustees, supported by Village Clerk–Treasurer, Kate Hillmann and Tom Gannon completed another balanced budget.  The team kept at it until they once again contained property tax increases below our 2% cap; a feat that gets increasingly more difficult every year.  For example, the health insurance line that represents 15% of the municipal budget is projected to increase by 14%.  The added uncertainty that the third track project will bring may include unknown costs and the possible disruption of traditional revenue streams; further challenging the financial planning process.

Like an arriving train appearing through the fog, recent meetings with the railroad’s design build team has brought the long-dreaded project into greater focus.  The reality of the project and the scope of the disruptions is becoming clearer as we enter a new phase of working in greater details.  Things are less theoretical than they were.  The early work has begun as the design build team has received limited notice to proceed.  Our attention to detail must become more acute and our reaction time quick, as this contract is built for speed.

And yet some more recent New Hyde Park traditions once again provides another glimpse into the wonderful hearts in our neighborhood.  Our good friend, and retired Nassau County Police Officer, Nick Mosesso and Deputy Village Clerk Eileen Raguseo organized the St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser to raise money for children with cancer.  Meanwhile, Mike McBride and his team are making plans for Katie’s Run to benefit Ronald McDonald House and other people in need.  Many people have generously donated to the Leah Kuczinski Foundation, in her dear honor.

Somehow, it feels as if the incredible heart aches we shared in late February and early March has made us more resolved, united, and better able to cope with what are in the end, much less important yet still practical matters.  The fact that we work through these challenges together and with a spirit of caring for one another makes New Hyde Park a community that is truly a source of justifiable pride.

Sincerely,

Lawrence J. Montreuil

Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park

Mayor’s Letter to the Residents March 12, 2018

LIRR UPDATE

 March 12, 2018

 Dear Neighbors,

On Monday, March 5, 2018, Village officials met with representatives from the LIRR and 3TC, the design-build firm that has been awarded the third track project.  The objective of the meeting was to introduce us to the design-build team and level set on expectations for the project as it impacts the New Hyde Park community.

Accompanying me at the meeting from the Village was Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino; Village Clerk – Treasurer Cathryn Hillmann; Superintendent of Buildings and Public Works, Tom Gannon and Village Attorney, Peter Trentacoste.

We shared directly with the design-build firm the concerns that have been expressed by Village residents over the last 24 months since the project was announced.  We discussed how the Governor’s office and the LIRR has agreed to address these concerns in our MOU and the expectations that those commitments have flowed down to 3TC.

Having reviewed the request for proposal and the bid documents for the contract, I was confident that those commitments have not been lost.  The resulting contract between the LIRR and 3TC will be shared with the Village to provide further transparency.  Meanwhile, we were pleased to hear that the design-build firm was very aware and conversant in those commitments and they became the topic of our meeting.

Communication

One of our chief concerns was to maintain a high level of awareness of what is going on with the project as it affects New Hyde Park.

Included in the 3TC consortium is the firm of Rubenstein Associates who is responsible for developing and implementing the communications plan and public outreach.  Rubenstein is assisted by the firm CJ2, who will deploy two Community Ambassadors as our point of contact for all issues that arise.  The public outreach plan has begun as CJ2 has already had a follow up meeting with Village Clerk-Treasurer, Kate Hillmann. Kate provided names and contact information for local organizations that will be helpful in reaching people who are likely to be affected.

CJ2 will also establish the 24 hour, 7 day a week hotline number to call with any problems.  This number will be displayed on the Village web site, on the electronic sign board and on banners in the area of the LIRR.  For example, 3TC plans to hang a banner on the Safety Storage building they recently took possession of.

3TC will provide the Village with a four week look ahead plan of the activities that will happen in our area.  The four-week plan will be updated weekly.

In the next four weeks, we can expect to see the following activities:

  • Clearing of vegetation along the right of way
  • Soil borings
  • Digging test pits to confirm the location of underground utilities
  • Preconstruction surveys of nearby homes and other structures
  • Surveying of land in and around the main line

We have also agreed to establish weekly meetings with the Village to provide a forum to share information in both directions.

Village Input

Another key area of concern was that the Village continues to have input into the planning of important aspects of the project that have great impact on New Hyde Park.  We identified Superintendent of Buildings and Public Works, Tom Gannon as the Village point of contact on technical matters.  Tom has already participated in a meeting with Nassau County DPW and 3TC concerning how drainage will be accomplished at the Covert Avenue crossing.  I am happy to report that the most intrusive option of building new drain lines to the recharge basin on Stewart Avenue across from Nuzzi Field will not be pursued.

The Village is likely to engage the services of an engineering firm to provide us with opinions of the potential impact of design elements.  The expense for those services would be reimbursed by the LIRR from the community benefit fund we negotiated.

There will be another meeting with the utilities to discuss how power lines will be addressed.  The Village strenuously opposes the notion of erecting large steel utility poles along the right of way.  We feel this will be a great detriment to the suburban character of our Village.  We have been pressing the LIRR and the utilities to explore burying the power lines as an alternative.

Traffic Plan

We will provide input to and review a traffic plan that will be prepared by 3TC to handle the traffic through our Village when work begins.  This is a major concern.  We are very interested to begin this work.

Performance Survey

One of the concerns we shared with the Governor’s office and the LIRR during our negotiations, was that Village has input in how well the design-build firm is fulfilling their commitments.  We insisted that some form of liquidated damages or financial incentive be included in the LIRR contract to compel the design-build firm to honor the commitments in our MOU with the LIRR.  The result is that the Village will provide a written evaluation of the design build firm’s performance.  This input will determine the extent to which the design build firm will receive a substantial financial incentive each quarter.

The mechanism for this is for specific Village residents who are most affected to complete a survey every three months.  Please contact Kate Hillmann at nhpclerk@vnhp.org if you are interested in being a delegate to provide this important input.

Input on Design Elements

Another critical area of concern for us continues to be how the project will look after it is built.  We have stressed all along that this project must be done so that it does not harm the suburban character of our village.  There is an opportunity to have a finished product that enhances that character.  We are determined to see that happen.

We shared our plans to redevelop our industrial zone along 2nd and 3rd Avenues into a revitalized center of our community with retail shops, cafes and attractions coupled with new residential properties.  We described our plan to adopt a common colonial style throughout the district.  It is our intention to have the new LIRR platform and structures reflect that style and create a visually appealing transition.

If we are successful, this may very well become the model for state and local government collaboration that Governor Cuomo seeks this project to be.

To this end, today I signed a $5,000,000 grant application to launch this part of the project.

Other Items Covered

3TC also shared that the decision has been made to demolish the taxi maintenance depot at 124 Covert Avenue.  The land will be used by the contractor for staging equipment and building the bridge structure that will support the railroad tracks over Covert Avenue.  The property will be returned to the owner when the project is completed.

We also discussed other key elements of the project including parking, staging areas and identification of construction workers.  Other topics of the project will be discussed at future meetings.

All in all, we struck a collaborative tone with 3TC.  We agreed that we share mutual goals of completing this project safely, and on time and with minimal impact to the people of New Hyde Park.

Nevertheless, we are clearly embarking on a project whose scope and drain on Village resources is truly unprecedented.  We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in the weeks and months ahead as we manage the effects of this project.  We will continue to do what is best for New Hyde Park.

Sincerely,

Lawrence J. Montreuil

Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park

Passing of Trustee Donald Barbieri

It is with indescribable sadness that I announce that New Hyde Park Village Trustee Donald Barbieri has passed away.  Donald succumbed to complications from his long fight with Multiple Sclerosis; a devastating disease that tortured him, but never deterred him from serving the people of New Hyde Park. Don is now free from the clutches of that awful disease.

Donald was a life-long resident of New Hyde Park and loved the people who lived here.  He had tremendous pride in our village and despite dealing with constant pain and discomfort, worked very hard to make it a better place for each and every person.  He was an inspiration to all of us.

Don was very compassionate and insisted the rest of the board be so, too.  He frequently viewed issues from the opposite side of the way a conversation was going to make sure that all aspects were being considered.  When debating taking an action, Donnie made the village board look through the eyes of a proverbial resident, “Mrs. Jones”; so we all considered the worst possible impact to the most vulnerable person.

Donald has been a Village Trustee for 18 years, first elected in 2000.  He was born and raised in New Hyde Park, attending New Hyde Park schools and Holy Spirit Church.  He has been an active and involved citizen and community leader.  Donnie was a fixture in New Hyde Park; loved by so many.

Don worked tirelessly on the improvements we see today along Jericho Turnpike.  The brick inlayed sidewalks, landscaped bulb outs and center medians would not exist today if it was not for Donnie’s incredible persistence; just one of his many endearing qualities.

So much more could and will be said about Donnie’s accomplishments and contributions to the people of New Hyde Park, but the emotions of the moment prevents a more thorough collection of thoughts.

Donnie will be missed tremendously.    The entire Village Family is in shock and grief.  Our hearts go out to Donnie’s family in this incredibly sad time.

Arrangements

Visitations services will be held at the New Hyde Park Funeral Home located at 506 Lakeville Road, New Hyde Park, N.Y. 11040 on Sunday, February 25, 2018 from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm; and on Monday from 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm and then from 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 am on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church located at 16 South 6th Street, New Hyde Park, N.Y. 11040. Village Hall will be closed Tuesday,  February 27th in observance.

Thank you,

Lawrence J. Montreuil

Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park

Mayor’s Letter to Residents February 18, 2018

LIRR THIRD TRACK UPDATE

 

Dear Neighbors,

I was recently informed by officials from the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) that a contract has been signed with 3rd Track Constructors (3TC), the design build firm that has been hired to design and construct the project.  This marks the beginning of what is the largest single project to impact our community.  The Village Board will continue to work to ensure the adverse impacts of this project on New Hyde Park are mitigated and that the resulting project will be an improvement to our suburban quality of life.

LIRR officials recently met with myself, Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino, Village Clerk – Treasurer Kate Hillmann and Village Attorney Peter Trendecost to review some of the points we negotiated in our memorandum of understanding (MOU).  The MOU describes how the concerns you expressed at so many meetings are going to be addressed by the LIRR and 3TC.  While preliminary in nature, the meeting left me feeling confident that the LIRR remains committed to all of those points and to minimizing the adverse impacts to NHP.  The LIRR also remains ready to flow down those concerns to 3TC.

Our discussion topics included setting up an introductory meeting with 3TC, reviewing the process for drawing down on the $30 M community benefit fund to offset inconveniences, communication plans and how the village will continue to influence the design and construction activities in New Hyde Park.  We also stressed that the village is to be included in discussions across different stakeholders whenever there is impact to the people of New Hyde Park.

For example, the MOU we negotiated speaks to our desire to have utility lines buried along or adjacent to the right of way.  This is in lieu of designs we saw for 90’ steal poles through our village.  In this case, we insist upon being present when tradeoffs are discussed, and that deference goes to those people who are most impacted.

I shared similar concerns when I met last week with Nassau County Legislators Richard Nicolello and Vincent Muscarella at Village Hall.  I asked for their support, along with that of County Executive Laura Curran that all county departments; Police, Public Works, Traffic Management, etc. are completely in synch with the Village of New Hyde Park and that no agency or stakeholder is operating in a silo.

Our intent is to have a high level of coordination to ensure there are no unintended consequences from actions that one entity feels is the most expedient route.  This of course includes the design build firm themselves, who have a huge economic incentive to complete the project on or before schedule.

Evidence of the design build firm’s enthusiasm to move quickly is already visible.  The LIRR has given 3TC limited notice to proceed.  The ownership of the Safety Storage building at 115 New Park Road has already been turned over to 3TC.  Although the village has not yet received a demolition permit application, we may see that building razed soon.

You may also see the following activities happening already:

  • Survey teams taking measurements
  • Crews clearing vegetation along the track side
  • Soil boring samples being extracted

In meeting with the LIRR and with the county legislators, I also shared our preliminary plans for limited transit orientated development of Second and Third Avenues.  I shared the themes and concepts of this vision of creating a downtown community district for our residents.  The discussion included depictions of the colonial style that we would like to have incorporated in the station platform to integrate our project with that if the LIRR.  The Village Board is having renderings of the concept prepared and will be able to present those plans with greater detail in the near future.

Meanwhile, we will continue to work with all involved parties to ensure the concerns of New Hyde Park residents are addressed.  Senator Elaine Phillips for example, continues to be a champion for the concerns of the people of New Hyde Park.  The Senator will be meeting with County Executive Laura Curran and the MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber this week to discuss the project and how it is executed.  The Senator reached out to me for our input so that those topics important to New Hyde Park will be addressed.

We will keep you, our neighbors updated as developments of this project occur; through this website, at regular village board meetings, with press releases to the local papers and through the village newsletter.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us at your village hall if you have any specific questions or concerns.

Thank you,

 

Lawrence J. Montreuil

Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park

Mayor’s Letter to Residents January 28, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

We are one month into the new year. We are selling R permits, renewing business licenses and preparing to work on the 2018-2019 fiscal year that begins on June 1st. We also have one major snow storm under our belt. My deepest appreciation goes out to the Department of Public Works for working around the clock to get our streets clear and safe. I hope it is the last snow storm of the season, but chances are, we’ll see more snow.

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