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Levittown people: Library trustee Steve Dalton

Steve Dalton, 24, is an active member of

Steve Dalton, 24, is an active member of the Levittown community. (March 13, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

Steve Dalton, 24
Vice president, board of trustees
Levittown Public Library

Dalton reached out to us by email and we met up with him at the library on Tuesday. Currently a law student at Touro College, Dalton grew up in Levittown and left only to get his undergraduate degree at American University in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his position on the Levittown Public Library board of trustees, he is a member of the board for the Levittown Kiwanis Club; on the membership board for the Levittown Community Council; a member of the board for the Levittown Swimming Association; and he teaches religion and lectors at St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church.

As a young person living and staying very active in the Levittown community, are you unique?
Perhaps in the amount of things I do. But in each one of the organizations I’m involved in there are other young people involved. At St. Bern’s, at the Swimming Association, at Kiwanis. I think they understand the importance of keeping the organizations going, especially with something like the swimming association, where we all grew up being a part of it. So, if I’m unique, it’s only because of how many things I’ve taken on. But young people absolutely want to get involved.

What does make you want to stay so involved in your community?
People are the lifeblood of their community. Otherwise, it’s just a spot on the map. I don’t want to live in a town that is just a spot on the map. I want it to be a community. I’m doing my part to make that happen and I think others are doing their part. People wouldn’t stay here if it was just a spot on the map, and people do stay here. There are people that live here that came right after it was all potato farms and have been here ever since.

How have you seen Levittown change since you were growing up?
There has been a great influx of families. I think in a lot of places, people grow up wherever their parents live, and then they move away and start their own families. Here, people who’ve grown up here come back. They take the community and make it their own. I think it’s a testament to the community that people come back.

Growing up, did you understand the history of Levittown? Did it impact you at all?
I think I realized it when I was in fourth grade and Levittown was in our history textbook. That was eye-opening to realize this is really a place that people know about in places outside of Levittown because of how it was formed. I think that’s part of what sparked my interest in history, and I ended up with a history minor when I went to college. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a legitimate history textbook anywhere that doesn’t have something about Levittown in it. I don’t think many communities can say that. I’m taking a zoning class right now and there is a section about Levittown. Levittown follows me wherever I go.

Do you plan to stay in Levittown?
I’d like to stay. You can’t predict the future, but it’s a community that obviously I care a lot about.

What challenges does the community face?
Taxes. That’s a large problem. There are vacancies, but I think the Town of Hempstead is doing a good job to bring in new businesses where others have left. Levittown is really ready to roar back and we’ve got people in and out of government that are working hard to make sure it does.

Define the character of Levittown.
Family-centered. Small town. People know everybody. If you go into Dortoni’s Bakery on a Sunday after mass, you probably know a third of the people in there. Same goes with Bagel Town. You’ll wind up staying for 10 minutes longer than you planned because you’ll stay and talk.

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