Lindenhurst economic development committee members at a recent meeting offered up a range of ideas as to how to revitalize the business district, but some business owners said the committee has to first improve communication with existing businesses.
As the committee awaits the results of a redevelopment analysis from a Manhattan nonprofit, members were tasked with each presenting three ideas for revitalizing the village’s downtown.
The committee was formed in December 2014 with the goal of filling vacant storefronts and attracting businesses and shoppers.
One common suggestion from members was adding more parking, including buying up properties behind businesses and creating lots that are connected by walkways to main streets, such as Wellwood Avenue.
Other ideas include: adding multifamily housing; enhancing arts and entertainment options; attracting more restaurants; giving tax abatements to certain types of businesses; fast-tracking the application process for new businesses; and helping the Business Improvement District seek grant money.
Several committee members also cited a need for better communication with the public and business owners. Some owners in attendance at last week’s meeting complained that they have not been consulted and were unaware of the committee’s goals.
Meg Danaher, a Wellwood Avenue business owner, complained that she and her neighbors were not being notified of the meetings.
“I don’t feel welcome, I don’t feel you want my opinion,” she said. “We are the business owners. Nobody asks us.”
Danaher suggested the committee do more outreach to the BID and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as business and building owners.
“This isn’t always the most effective means of communication,” RJ Renna, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, said of the committee meetings. “We want our business owners to have a direct connection.”
Committee Chair and Village Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Cullinane said he has attended BID and chamber meetings and that the committee is still gathering information. He asked Danaher and others to contribute ideas to help formulate a revitalization plan that will be presented to the village board.
“We’ve been out there doing it,” he said. “Do we need to do more? Absolutely. But it’s wide open and we’re ready to take the input.”