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Having already delivered their state of the county speeches earlier this month, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone addressed a crowd of more than 400 business leaders Wednesday at an event billed as the annual State of Long Island.
During the gathering at the Crest Hollow Country Club hosted by the business planning group Action Long Island, Mangano, a Republican, and Bellone, a Democrat, both spoke of the “close” relationship they shared working on regional issues from transportation to attracting new businesses to Long Island.
“Our regional objective is to bring companies in from beyond our borders,” Mangano said. “I would say we really work together rather than compete. I don’t think there’s been two other county executives that have worked this close together on regional issues.”
Bellone added: “Ed and I both personally and governmentally work together on a number of issues,” noting the two have spoken about improving bus routes that cross county lines and have been to Albany together to lobby state lawmakers on the area's behalf.
Both county executives touted redevelopment projects underway to create “downtown” areas featuring mixed-use residential and commercial buildings near transit hubs -- an effort to attract young professionals to Nassau and Suffolk.
Mangano said more than six projects are underway to convert blighted office buildings into apartment buildings, which will create about 1,000 apartment units in Nassau.
“Most municipalities want to get rid of these eyesores,” Mangano said of the abandoned office buildings and warehouses. “In the past you did have a lot of opposition, but the good news is there is more or growing interest in developing this type of housing."
Bellone touted the $350 million Ronkonkoma Hub project calling it “a place that is being re-imagined as a transit-oriented development with mixed-use housing.”
The development by East Setauket based Tritec Real Estate is planned for 50-acres surrounding the Long Island Rail Road station in Brookhaven and Islip towns.
“Having a vibrant downtown business district and a great downtown benefits everyone,” Bellone said.