North Hempstead Town is inviting the public to help them prioritize a list of 11 selected sites to be assessed for cleanup and redevelopment in what officials called a "continuum" of efforts to revitalize New Cassel.
Officials ask area residents to join a meeting Tuesday night to offer their input on future development in the hamlet.
"It’s a unique opportunity for the people of New Cassel to play an integral role in the revitalization of their community," Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. "We want to make sure that this is what the residents and businesspeople want to see there. It’s not happening in a vacuum."
Revitalization efforts in New Cassel began in early 2000, following decades of neglect. Those initiatives have continued through three town administrations.
"[May] Newburger started it, Jon Kaiman picked up and now it’s Judi Bosworth," said Bishop Lionel Harvey, of First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury, who headed a revitalization group in New Cassel and is a member of the town's steering committee.
Harvey characterized the current push as part of a "third wave," following the visioning process that started in 2002 and led to the construction of the "Yes We Can" Community Center as well as the rehabilitation of residential homes in early 2010.
"What I’m excited about is that it wasn’t just a one-shot deal," Harvey said. "When you look at the hamlet of New Cassel and the transformation that has taken place, the job was so massive that it had to be done in stages."
Councilwoman Viviana Russell, who represents the hamlet of 14,000 residents, 90% of whom are Black or Hispanic, called it a "continuum of revitalization work."
Both Bosworth and Russell have pointed to the "Yes We Can" Community Center and most recently the Homestead Senior Apartments — once a dilapidated school building — as examples of success.
Now the town is turning its attention to the 11 sites on or near Prospect Avenue, the Wantagh State Parkway, Union Avenue and Main Street. They include strip malls, industrial lots and undeveloped parcels. Most of the selected sites are private properties, officials said.
It’s unclear where they are contaminated from previous use, said Russell.
"They potentially could have contamination so that’s what the assessment would do. It’s to allow them to go and look at the property," Russell said. "If cleanup is necessary, then we would go out for additional money for actual testing and cleanup."
The assessment is covered by $300,000 in brownfields cleanup grants that North Hempstead received in 2018 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Last week, the agency awarded the town $800,000 to conduct assessments of up to 10 additional sites and clean up as many as six priority sites.
NEW CASSEL PLANS
- To see the list of properties or register for the virtual meeting at 7 p.m., visit www.northhempsteadny.gov/NewCassel-2021.
- Residents can find information of an online survey at the same website.
- The survey deadline is July 2.
SOURCE: Town of North Hempstead.