President’s Letter – April 2019

Greetings,

As spring slowly tries to sprung… it is with great hope that those April showers bring in some early May flowers. It feels as though the commencement of each new season is arriving later and later with each passing year. However, the warm outdoor friendly weather should be upon us in three shakes of a lamb’s tale.

Last month, our Vice President, Kevin Guilfoyle had updated everyone on the current Regional Planning Association visioning study that is being conducted for the Main Street and Union Avenue corridors. Kevin as always, did a great job articulating the reasons for the proposal from a land use expert’s perspective. You can go to our web page at Holbrookchamber.com scroll down and click on a message from the president to view Kevin’s contribution in March.

In late February and again early March, the chamber posted the RPA’s two proposals on our Face book page which were viewed by nearly 2,000 people. The plan is purely conceptual and will be utilized as a guide and tool for community feedback and subsequent submission to the local municipalities for consideration with respect to potential zoning changes and business district re-designations.

As expected, the renderings and info posted solicited a number of different opinions, suggestions and criticisms. Some of the viewers were questioning the chamber’s role and raised concern that we may be a bit off kilter (to put it nicely) with some of the concepts. I would like to set the record straight that for one this is purely a proposal and a starting point in which we can take steps towards preserving and hopefully growing the business district. In this uncertain economic climate with retail on the demise and the demand for housing, restaurant, medical and reasonably affordable housing for our young people as well as our seniors, we’re charged with evolving change or the downtown will continue to decline in value and relevancy.

Please understand, the collaborative input for this RPA study is inclusive of all levels of government, many of our local civic leaders, commercial property owners within the downtown and the chamber who has been the lead catalyst in acquiring funding for our downtown improvements over the past 20 plus years.

It should also be noted that the entire chamber board has the same vested interest in the community’s success and well being as any other individual in Holbrook. The Board consists of 9 members of whom everyone resides, owns a commercial property or has relatives who do so within the town. Any input the chamber may have with the plan comes purely from a concerned stakeholder’s perspective for the betterment of our downtown.

Many of us have adored our little Old Patchogue-Holbrook Rd/Main Street for 40-50 even as much as 70 plus years and for sure we want to preserve some of those small town qualities. Nobody wants a metropolis with heavy traffic and no parking along with all the other undesirables that come with it. However, it’s time to evolve and take the first steps to effecting change with the vision towards establishing a business district we can all be proud of and enjoy for years to come.

Once the plan is finalized, there will be an opportunity for public viewing and comment. Location and time TBD. We will post the info on our website and within a future column. We look forward to the support of our community as we move forward in taking the steps to make Holbrrok an even better place to Live, Work and Shop!

In closing, thank you to the Strong Island Running Club, Irish Times, the Holbrook Junior Firefighters and John McHugh for another very successful St. Pat’s 5k Run. On behalf of the chamber I want to wish everyone a very Blessed Passover and a Happy Easter!

Rick Ammirati

President, Holbrook Chamber of Commerce

 
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