Hempstead mayor talks about his big plans
One of the year’s biggest competitions won’t feature musicals or movies vying for a trophy.
Instead, millions of dollars will be at stake, as villages and hamlets compete with the hope of revitalizing their downtowns.
And while we still don’t know all of the Long Island communities that will be competing, one is certainly on the list.
In a meeting with the editorial board this week, Hempstead Mayor Waylyn Hobbs Jr. said the village applied for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, a state program that allows villages and hamlets to compete for funds that go towards the redevelopment of downtowns, particularly around train stations. Usually, the program provides $10 million for a single winner in each of the state’s 10 regions. This year, each region, including Long Island, will receive $20 million – money that could either all go toward a single community, or be split between two.
"I feel confident that Hempstead checked all the boxes. I can’t see why we won’t be one that’s awarded," Hobbs said.
But Hobbs will face some significant competition. Empire State Development received 19 applications from communities in the Long Island region, a spokeswoman said. A review of those applications is ongoing.
Hobbs said the village isn’t waiting for the DRI results to work on redevelopment in Hempstead, pointing to plans for a rental apartment complex on Main Street that already received the necessary approvals. Hobbs said he expects shovels in the ground before the end of 2021. Hobbs said he’s hoping that future projects will include more market rate apartments.
"That way we will attract professionals to come back in. That’s one of our goals," Hobbs said.
Meanwhile, Hobbs is still waiting for a resolution to the ongoing legal dispute between Renaissance Downtowns and RXR Realty, two developers that at one point were partners in plans to build in the center of the village. Hobbs said the two parties were "supposed to be getting close to some sort of agreement."
"They realize that now’s the prime time to get things going," Hobbs said. "I think they’re working to hurry up and resolve this so that they can get things going. But while we’re waiting for them, we still have other projects that are outside of RXR and Renaissance that are going to be putting shovels in the ground. I think that’s more of a motivation for them to come to a conclusion..."
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
A very DC race
There was at least one finish line crossed in DC earlier this week.
Not the legislative one where Democrats have been trying to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and broader domestic policy legislation.
No, it was a real if less-consequential finish line for some Washington politicians and staffers, part of the American Council of Life Insurers Capital Challenge 3 mile charity race. And in that Wednesday competition, Garden City’s own Kathleen Rice took 1st in the "Representative - Female" category, with a time of 28:08, according to online results.
Rice did not collect the award herself, according to Roll Call. The Long Islander’s big prize (a backpack) was accepted by Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Rice’s behalf.
"I’m her coach," joked Sinema, a triathlete who's currently injured and simply walked the course.
It was a somewhat fitting pairing of the two elected officials, given that progressives are frustrated with both of them about the larger legislative finish line yet to be crossed in Congress. Sinema has been one of the big obstacles on the multi-trillion dollar domestic policy package, along with fellow moderate Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
And Rice made waves in September for an Energy & Commerce Committee vote blocking a prescription drug-price control measure slated to be part of that package.
That was only the beginning of the journey for this little nugget of legislation. The plan to negotiate pricing passed separately through the Ways & Means Committee and, last week, through the Budget Committee.
But then things got bogged down as moderates like Manchin and Sinema kept pushing for a smaller package. Somewhere buried in the middle of it is that drug-price control issue and its promised cost savings.
Rice has argued that the drug price effort on its own doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate, and also suggested that including it here would allow the package to grow too large. Some in the pharmaceutical industry have repeatedly applauded her stance in newspaper ads. Progressive critics feel differently and are already preparing their lines of attack against Rice, Sinema and others if the Democrats’ big domestic policy package shrinks or stalls.
Negotiations continued Friday, making this more of a marathon than a sprint.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
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In the news
Welcome to our latest news quiz, based on events that took place this week. As usual, provide the answer for each clue, one letter per blank with the symbol || separating words. The first letter of each answer, taken in order, spells the name of a Texas congressman who said this week that businesses should "openly rebel" against vaccine mandates. Answers will appear in Monday’s edition of The Point.
_ _ _ _ _ _ Big-box store chain that is rationing toilet paper again.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Last name of the would-be assassin of President Ronald Reagan whom a judge said could be freed from his remaining sentencing restrictions next year.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Country that appeared to elect Europe’s first female-majority parliament before a recount left women with 48% of the seats.
_ _ _ _ _ ||_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Nurses and other staff at Cox Medical Center in Branson, Missouri will wear these on their identification badges so they can immediately summon security personnel in dangerous situations, after assaults on workers tripled during the pandemic.
_ || _ _ _ _ _ R&B singer who was found guilty in a Brooklyn court on all nine charges of sexual trafficking and racketeering.
_ _ _ _ || _ _ _ _ _ _ Actor who will host the first show of Saturday Night Live’s 47th season on Saturday.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Social media site that is banning prominent anti-vaccine advocates and will take down any videos containing vaccine misinformation.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie