Elected officials joined community leaders Tuesday to announce the Baldwin downtown revitalization projects that will be funded with the $10 million state grant awarded the Town of Hempstead in 2019.
Much of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant money will go towards three transit-oriented development projects, including $3.5 million for a redevelopment at 775 Brooklyn Ave.; $2 million for a mixed-use development at Milburn Plaza; and $1 million for a project at 2134 Grand Ave. Combined, the three projects propose to bring nearly 300 rental apartments over retail space.
Other funding included $1.5 million in pedestrian safety improvements on Merrick Road; $600,000 for a rental assistance program; and $250,000 for branding, marketing and downtown promotion.
The elected officials who spoke at the announcement, which was held at the Baldwin Long Island Rail Road station, included Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
“We need to see that people get out on the ground and roll up our sleeves for Baldwin,” Hochul said. “This is being done because of the hard work of the people in the community who made it happen.”
Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, which has been working on the Baldwin revitalization effort, said he is happy to see the state follow through on its commitment to Baldwin’s downtown.
“Thankfully the local community directed the process from the bottom up,” Alexander said. “These grants will help local business recover from the impacts of coronavirus regulations and continue their community’s revitalization.”
Over the years, it’s been a long, unproductive road for the town in its on-again-off-again Baldwin revitalization efforts. In 2006, a development team was chosen by the town to reimagine a 6-acre stretch of vacant stores and rundown buildings on Grand Avenue just north of Merrick Road. But the developers were stymied by a failure to acquire the properties in the way of the project, which caused them to throw up their hands and walk away.
In 2012, the town picked a new developer for the Grand Avenue project, which was pitched as a $45 million plan to build 142 units of rental housing above 29,000 square feet of retail within walking distance of the Baldwin LIRR station, but that proposal also never materialized.
Since then, the town has adopted a Baldwin Overlay Zone in hopes of attracting developers to take on projects in the area and the state kicked in the $10 million DRI grant to help get things off the ground.