A swath of southern Glen Cove that includes unused industrial sites, a Long Island Rail Road station and a residential neighborhood is the city’s newest area to be studied for redevelopment, spurring fears of gentrification.
City officials have been looking to redevelop the 109-acre area for several years, but a study now being spearheaded by Melville-based consultant Nelson, Pope & Voorhis LLC will be the most detailed, said Ann Fangmann, executive director of the Glen Cove Community Development Agency. A draft version of a report that will include recommendations for the area is expected in the late spring, with at least one public hearing afterward, she said.
The biggest focus of the study is west of Pratt Boulevard, on both sides of Sea Cliff Avenue, Fangmann said. The area includes several vacant industrial sites, some of which need extensive environmental cleanup, she said. The hope is that, once cleanup occurs, new retail and light industry could be built there, Fangmann said.
Northeast of that industrial area is the Orchard neighborhood, home to hundreds of people. City officials have no plans to raze large parts of the Orchard, but are considering redeveloping a few properties, with a possible focus on a 14-space city-owned parking lot and nearby properties, Fangmann said.
The neighborhood includes many low-income families, residents say, but Mayor Reginald Spinello said, “we’re not looking to move anybody out.”
“Some of the buildings are very worn down and we’re looking for better housing for those people,” Spinello said.
Fangmann said consultants are looking at ways affordable housing could be built in the area. It may be aimed at families with annual incomes of roughly between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, she said.
Yet the median household income in the census tract that includes the Orchard is $54,290, and more than 22 percent of residents live below the poverty level, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimates.
Nelson Melgar, an Orchard resident and president of the Glen Cove-based North Shore Hispanic Civic Association, said he’s skeptical of assertions that no one would be displaced.
If buildings that now house low-income residents are torn down and replaced by housing that is targeted at families earning higher incomes, “it sounds to me like gentrification,” he said.
New housing is not all that is being studied for the Orchard, Fangmann said. Parking and traffic-circulation improvements are among other ideas, as is a pedestrian and bicycle path directly connecting the neighborhood to the Glen Street LIRR station.
The parking lots south of the station and a building now housing a fitness center also are potential redevelopment sites, Fangmann said. Multifamily housing of perhaps three to five floors is a possibility, with the LIRR station and easy access to jobs in Manhattan a future selling point, she said.