More than two dozen residents and business owners debated what is necessary for the revitalization of Glen Cove's historic Orchard neighborhood Wednesday at a public information meeting at City Hall.
"You see people hanging around, doing drugs, and it's gotten worse over the years," said a resident of the neighborhood who gave her name as L. Middleton. "We need a stronger police presence and street lighting," she said to nods of agreement from other residents.
The 55-acre strip of land south of Elm Avenue between Pratt Boulevard and Glen Street and ending at the Glen Head Country Club is being considered for joint revitalization efforts by the city and the state's Department of State as part of the Brownfield Opportunity Area program.
VHB Engineering, of which Glen Cove is a client, hosted Wednesday's public meeting at City Hall, where residents were encouraged to share their input regarding the neighborhood's past and present, and their ideas for the future.
Residents shared their ideas as well as stories of generations of life in the Orchard sitting around three tables in the building's main chambers. Reminiscences of times past were plenty, with residents recalling the several shops and the general history of the place, named for its abundance of apple trees.
Times have changed, they noted, along with the landscape and nature of the neighborhood.
Residents complained of drug dealing and use in the neighborhood's streets. One resident pointed to underdevelopment and contaminated sites - the Brownfield area referred to in the program's title.
"We need more development and better transportation," said Frank Riolo, who said he was born on Grove Street. "That's how we can attract people to live around here -when they can get to the city in under an hour."
Dave Smith of VHB said Albany has identified the plight of the Brownfield sites as a state-wide issue. Localities with industrial pasts have experienced underdevelopment in the wake of industry's departure.
Smith pointed to the successful opening of the storage facility as an example of what can be done to revitalize the Orchard. The facility opened in April in the former Photocircuits building on Hazel Street, for a new use.
He cautioned against turning a blind eye to the neighborhood's course.
"We've seen what can happen if left to chance," he said.
The effort would require assistance from the state, for which the Glen Cove Community Development Agency is the city's driving force in pursuing financial and technical support.
The program will address contamination and the disinvestment which has plagued localities like the Orchard as a result.
The "BOA Program," if realized, will also address the additional issues of development, including pedestrian and vehicular traffic, streetscaping and land use, according to Erin Reilley, the CDA's grants administrator.