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Mastic, Shirley residents try to make a difference

Sen. Lee Zeldin and fellow New York officials

Sen. Lee Zeldin and fellow New York officials listen to the comments made by members of the Tri-Hamlet Renaissance Project during a recent meeting at the Mastic Beach Fire Department. From left to right: Zeldin; Assemb. Dean Murray; Jeff Kito, a representative for Sen. Kenneth P. Lavalle; Eric Fisher, a representative for Suffolk Legis. Kate Browning; and John Doyle, a representative for Town of Brookhaven Councilman Dan Panico. (Nov. 21, 2011) Photo Credit: Desiree Keegan

Red light cameras at busy intersections. Panic buttons in pharmacies. A new sewage system.

These are some of the ideas proposed during a recent community meeting held by members of the Tri-Hamlet Renaissance Project, an initiative started by State Sen. Lee Zeldin to help improve the Shirley, Mastic and Mastic Beach area.

“Getting a plan accomplished is something the town hasn’t seen before,” said Zeldin, a Shirley resident. “It would be great for our entire community to show how we can get together a plan and put an entire community behind it.”

The group consists of six subcommittees focusing on infrastructure, real estate, economic development, quality of life, public safety and marketing.

Eric Fisher, a representative for Legis. Kate Browning, who heads the public safety committee, suggested the installation of red light cameras at major intersections such as William Floyd Parkway and Montauk Highway.

Shirley resident Tony Liberti, a real estate agent for Century 21, is head of the real estate subcommittee.

“We need to highlight the historic and natural points of the Shirley, Mastic area,” Liberti said, “and we need to keep the place landscaped and litter free.”

Larry Tellefsen, of Mastic Beach, who works with the infrastructure sub-committee, brought up the need for a sewage system. The solution to this problem, he said, is the building of jetties to replace the expensive dredging projects.

“It’s not a question of when we do it,” said Tellefsen. “We have to do it now.”

Shirley resident Bob Vecchio, who is also the William Floyd School District board president, heads the marketing subcommittee.

“We need to improve our relations with the media,” said Vecchio. “I want to also try to establish an online news source like a Patch.com.”

To promote the Tri-Hamlet Renaissance Project, Vecchio is creating an event centered around Flag Day, in which the area’s historic places such as the Manor of St. George, the William Floyd Estate and Southaven Park will be highlighted. He also plans to host reenactments of the American Revolution and have a poster contest to get children engaged in the event.

In January, the ideas and proposed solutions will be given to Zeldin, who will then package them into a final draft. Following a revision and comment period, the final draft will be distributed to elected officials and community members.

“It will be what we want to accomplish, and how we are going to accomplish it,” said Zeldin. “We are all working together toward a common goal. We would like to announce a proposal in a way that allows us to send a message to New York officials. We are often a forgotten and overlooked community … We need to stick together to improve it.”

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