The Atlantic Ocean beachfront and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk served as the perfect backdrop to announce the establishment of the East Shore Local Development Corporation (ESLDC) on Thursday at the South Fin Grill in South Beach.
The mission of the ESLDC is to enhance the economy of the East Shore by promoting public and private investment, encouraging the redevelopment of property in an environmentally-friendly manner, and providing beautification and security services to make the area more appealing for all residents and businesses.
The focus of the ESLDC’s work centers on four commercial corridors: Hylan Boulevard, Sand Lane, Midland Avenue, and Father Capodanno Boulevard.
The ESLDC was implemented with $440,000 from federal Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding that was allocated for the area in 2015 by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and in partnership with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
So, it seemed only fitting that the press conference was taking place in front of Islanders who were milling around and utilizing the boardwalk during the hot, summer morning.
“It’s been over five years (since Hurricane Sandy devastated the borough) and this area still has things that need to be addressed. It has the potential to be an absolutely, spectacular area that can be revitalized for all of us to enjoy here on Staten Island,” said Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Linda Baran. “Our aim is to balance working with existing local businesses to support them while attracting new business to this area so we can make it wonderful for all.”
“Since Hurricane Sandy, this district has experienced a lot of sadness and suffering. Little by little, we’re inching our way towards normalcy and trying to bring recreational opportunities and hopefully attract more businesses to this district,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn). “That’s exactly what this program is going to be all about.
“This is an opportunity for us to all work together at the city, state, and federal level to build the waterfront that we desire. Since the seawall is coming, it’s like we’re starting with a clean slate,” she said.
Councilman Steven Matteo (R-Mid-Island) was able to show his support for the ESLDC by allocating $15,000 from NYC Council discretionary funding to the LDC. His chief of staff David M. Carr said Matteo was eager to contribute because he “recognizes the anchors that commercial corridors and local businesses are for our borough.”
Dr. Abe Unger, the project manager for the ESLDC, spoke about how funding has already been utilized for the creation of a logo, creation of a website (www.eastshorenyc.com
), a commercial zoning recommendation study, a strategic marketing plan, supplemental sanitation services during the summer season, and an urban beautification and enhancement plan developed by Larisa Ortiz Associates.
“This plan will provide practical recommendations to guide the LDC and their partners to make these districts more attractive, to drive pedestrian traffic between beaches and the districts, and make these wonderful corridors the right places for businesses,” said Ortiz.
The South Fin Grill suffered major damage after Hurricane Sandy, but owner Mark Tranchina moved quickly to rebuild his business to spark revitalization in that area.
“We’re encouraged to look at things the East Shore LDC has done and will help continue to do in bringing together the elected officials and the businesses in the area to help us improve and make this truly — as Nicole (Malliotakis) said – the ‘Fun Coast.’ Because it really should be a ‘Fun Coast’ and should be the gem of New York,” said Tranchina, who is a board member of the ESLDC and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to Tranchina, the ESLDC board members comprised of local business and community leaders include: Vin Viola of Midland Wine and Liquors; Anthony Focca of Platinum Mortgage; Robert Gullery of Wil John’s Tire Empire; Alfred Saulo of Alfred V. Saulo Architects; Agnes Bukowska of Kearny Bank; Cathy Pimpinella of TD Bank; Bobby Fisher, residential and commercial property owner; Laura Delin of A Very Special Place; and Dil Gillani of Gillani Home.
The message of the day was, “The East Shore is open for business.” Anyone interested in opening a business or wanting to know more about the area should contact Unger at email@example.com
Also, attending the press conference were: Giuseppe Deserio, Deputy SI District Director for Congressman Dan Donovan; Gabriella Wagner, representing Sen. Andrew Lanza; Patrick Lewis, Staten Island liaison for NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio; Anthony Arcamone, district manager for the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation; Debra Derrico, district manager for Community Board 2; Niles French, from the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation; Joseph Tornello, board member for the SI Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Diane McNamara and Rose Vanquinz, from the Midland Beach Civic Association; Joseph and Rosemary McAllister, from the South Beach Civic Association.