The Citi Foundation has awarded Sustainable Long Island a $45,000 grant to support the redevelopment of closed auto-dealership corridors in four low-to-moderate income communities across Long Island; the communities will be released at a later date.
“This generous grant will help initiate neighborhood revitalization within the communities looking to spur economic growth through job creation, curb sprawl, and add to their tax base,” said Ruth Negron-Gaines, Board President of Sustainable Long Island. “The reuse of these closed corridors can spark redevelopment opportunities for surrounding properties, serving as a catalyst for a community-wide resurgence.”
The funds from Citi Foundation will be used to conduct a comprehensive regulatory scan to identify barriers to redevelopment of closed auto-dealership corridors; determine local, state and federal agencies necessary for redevelopment of these properties; and identify the preliminary environmental challenges, community priorities, and redevelopment opportunities the private market sees as possible. This funding is the first of its kind granted by the Citi Foundation on Long Island.
“Promoting neighborhood revitalization is an important element of Citi’s commitment to community development,” said Pat Edwards, Vice President of Citi. “We are pleased to facilitate this important analysis by Sustainable Long Island, which will help lay the groundwork for positive development.”
The impact of the auto industry's problems is being felt in low-to-moderate income communities across Long Island, as well as the rest of the country; where auto-dealerships have closed - or are in the process of closing - leaving corridors of blighted land, brownfields, and economic sinkholes in already struggling downtown areas. Many communities must now address numerous environmental regulatory (associated with the service bays & underground storage tanks) and land use (zoning, lot configuration, land assembly, ownership) challenges in the development of these sites while many local governments are shedding staff and slashing already tight budgets.
At the end of 2010, approximately 25% of closed dealerships were located in low-to-moderate income communities. Using an area-wide approach, a strategy that Sustainable Long Island has long advocated for statewide and national brownfields redevelopment programs, these vacant dealerships can be transformed into vibrant, vital downtown areas that reflect the community’s image for the place in which they live.