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Hempstead Village begins work on mapping out future

Charlene Thompson, commissioner of the Hempstead Village Community

Charlene Thompson, commissioner of the Hempstead Village Community Development Agency, will head the village's master plan project. Credit: Antonio Kelley

The Village of Hempstead has begun work on a new master plan that will take the past decade into account as officials prepare for the next 10 years.

The village’s Community Development Agency is heading the project, which dovetails with a $1.5 million state anti-poverty grant that’s aimed at decreasing the number of residents who live in poverty, according to CDA commissioner Charlene Thompson.

The Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative grant, administered by the United Way of Long Island, just completed its first phase, the organization’s president and chief executive Theresa Regnante said. The first phase included community and government input and surveys of village residents.

The second phase includes a request for proposals from community-based organizations to address workforce development, health and wellness, education, economic empowerment and justice issues with “innovative” and “creative” projects that would reduce poverty, Regnante said.

Each project, if it wins a portion of the grant, could be funded up to $125,000, she said. The RFP is expected to be released shortly and is due by the end of April.

Thompson said the master plan would develop an “overall economic vision for the village” that would make it more business-friendly for further econonomic development.

The last plan studied the village’s downtown area in 2008 and 2009. Since then, officials have determined that a new plan needs to cover the entire 3.7-square-mile village that takes into account the effects of superstorm Sandy, population changes and infrastructure issues such as resiliency, flooding and water and sewage treatment, Thompson said.

A request for proposals to produce the master plan is expected to be released by the end of the month.

“Who are we right now?” Thompson said. “We’re different than we were before superstorm Sandy hit.”

Thompson and Regnante hope to use the anti-poverty projects to create jobs and “pathways out of poverty” so that when the master plan brings in businesses, there will be a local workforce ready for them.

“How do we use that investment as a catalyst for development and revitalization?” Thompson said. “The whole point of what we’re trying to do is make sure we address the needs of our residents and village and make sure that no one gets left behind.”

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