Town of North Hempstead working on ‘Cultural master plan’

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Supervisor Bosworth wants to highlight the town's rich offerings of arts, culture, history and commerce. Photo by Tom McCarthy

The Town of North Hempstead is developing a “cultural master plan” to highlight local events and performances and increase tourism.

“We want to see what we can do to promote things that are happening,” said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. 

The town held a forum last Wednesday at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park to discuss the proposal, which is to be unveiled this summer.

The town’s goal is to make North Hempstead a place that people seek out for cultural events. At the meeting, town leaders discussed the problems of advertising local events, festivals and concerts in the town.

According to Susan Silverberg, president of urban design group Civic Moxie, it is all about asking the question “How can an enhanced understanding of the arts and culture of the town benefit residents, businesses and visitors, and support growth, vitality and quality of life?”

Silverberg said that her firm was hired by the town to help develop the plan about a year ago.

Silverberg and Bosworth have not revealed a concrete idea about how to get the word out about local commerce, cultural events and performances. 

Bosworth said she plans to meet all of the village mayors in North Hempstead to discuss what each village needs to help promote its events.

Silverberg said that the coming plan will have six goals.

First is to create opportunities for collaboration between the arts, commerce and tourism. Silverberg explained that this would involve assessing the town’s overall goals and find ways culture, commerce, and tourism are relevant to these goals. Silverberg said this could involve financial support for bids and the procurement of services, supplies and equipment required for the operation of town departments and organizations concerned with arts, culture, and history.

Second is to find a way to achieve visibility and marketing for arts, culture, commerce, history and tourism. This would include building on a current arts and cultural assets map and adding other locations. The town plans to create a website as a “go to” for visitors and residents.

Third is to create funding mechanisms to support cultural endeavors in the town.

Fourth is to create a unified public art and placemaking program. The town would create guidelines for what makes public art and create a public art and placemaking commission to administer grants. This group would oversee public art selection, public art installation and maintenance, provide educational materials, and control grants for public art displays.

Fifth is to remake the town’s image as one that values the arts, culture and commerce.  The town would create welcome packets and “how to” guides for new and existing residents about town assets and what the town has to offer, including volunteer opportunities.

Sixth is to revisit planned goals annually and complete report cards measuring progress.  “People look forward to annual report cards,” Silverberg said.

Bosworth said that the town would be in charge of any websites or pages sharing the events.

The town has received $3,858,158 in culture-related grants in the past five years. 

Bosworth said about the public meeting and the meetings with the village mayors, “There was a real sense from all the various participants – civic groups, arts councils, historical organizations, village mayors and trustees and residents – of wanting to collaborate to revitalize our downtowns and to highlight our rich offerings of arts, culture, history and commerce.”

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