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Long Island at a Crossroads

Vincent E. Giovinco, New York Community Bank, Real Estate Institute Chairperson 7/21/15

When I travel to other parts of the country, I make it a point to make note of all of the various development  projects going on. Whether it's cities or more rural settings, I am always fascinated at the creativity that goes into them. This is usually the result of years of planning and coordination among developers and local municipalities.

As Long Islanders, we have been hesitant to embrace development, fearing that it will bring with it more traffic, more taxes, and will burden our school districts. However, slowly but surely, as some development and redevelopment projects are being completed, we are being proved wrong. The results have been quite the opposite. These well thought out, creative projects have revitalized towns, and have injected new life into areas which were otherwise stagnant. They have also created jobs and provided much needed housing, especially for our younger people.

Let's face it, Long Island is at a crossroads. Our aging infrastructure needs to be addressed, lack of sewers is hindering smart development, and our highway system need to be revamped. And, what makes this part of the country unique is that each town controls its own zoning.

Perhaps the best way to address these issues is to develop a new mentality. It is hard for any of us to embrace change. However, instead of complaining, we need to get involved. As Long Island residents, we need to sit down with our local officials, developers, and real estate professionals, to start the dialogue. Just as launch pads have been created right here on Long Island for the information technology sector, we need think tank type groups to address the future of our communities. It is not easy for many of us to take the time to give our input, but we must make it a priority if we are to have a say in the direction where things go. There are many wonderful things happening on our island, but we can't stop now. We must make  planning for the future a priority. It is not an easy task, but with the right coordination and creativity, we can pave the way for a future that will make us all proud.

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