For too long, downtown Baldwin has been home to vacant stores, some rundown buildings, and streets that are too busy to allow for a thriving walkable and livable community. For decades, Hempstead Town officials, developers, civic groups and business leaders have put forth visions and plans for Baldwin, without success.
Now, Baldwin has a new opportunity — on a $10 million platter. As the latest winner of a state downtown revitalization grant, Baldwin will have money to develop projects the community wants to fund, and to bring in expertise to help carry out its ideas.
That effort will dovetail with the town’s ongoing effort to rezone the area to open the door for new apartments, office space and retail near the Baldwin train station. Hempstead officials expect to vote on the new zone this fall.
Residents are on board. And developing Baldwin is one of the few issues that finds agreement in the otherwise-fractured Hempstead government, with its Democratic supervisor and Republican-dominated town board. Bipartisanship will be critical to Baldwin’s success.
It will behoove Baldwin to study what other Long Island communities are doing with their revitalization grants, and how they’ve managed the state’s sometimes-complicated process. Westbury’s ambitious rezoning plans and Central Islip’s streetscaping and new multiuse development proposals can serve as models for what’s possible in Baldwin.
It’s time for visions to become reality. — The editorial board