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$45,000 study to target vacant car dealerships

Ruth Negron-Gaines, board president, Sustainable Long Island.

Ruth Negron-Gaines, board president, Sustainable Long Island. Credit: Newsday, 2009

Citigroup’s Citi Foundation, whose work includes aiding neighborhood revitalization programs, has awarded not-for-profit Sustainable Long Island $45,000 for a study into improving stretches of roads in four low- to moderate-income communities blighted by vacant auto dealerships.

The Bethpage-based organization declined to identify the four communities, saying their selection had not yet been finalized. A Citi spokesman, Tyler Daluz said the grant was the first ever awarded by Citi specifically for revitalization of auto dealership corridors.

Sustainable LI says there were 30 to 35 closed dealerships on Long Island as of the end of last year. Many closed during the recent recession.

“This generous grant will help initiate neighborhood revitalization within the communities looking to spur economic growth through job creation, curb sprawl, and add to their tax base,”  Sustainable LI board president Ruth Negron-Gaines, left, said in a statement. “The reuse of these closed corridors can spark redevelopment opportunities for surrounding properties, serving as a catalyst for a communitywide resurgence.”

The group’s staff, aided by a consultant, will work to identify barriers to redevelopment of the dealership corridors; determine local, state and federal agencies necessary for redevelopment of these properties; and identify the preliminary environmental challenges, community priorities, and redevelopment opportunities the private market sees as possible. The study  is to begin in the second week of August and take about a year, said Sustainable LI spokesman Scott Woodson.

Photo:  Ruth Negron-Gaines, board president, Sustainable Long Island.

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