Economic development projects around North Hempstead were awarded more than $3 million in state funding on Wednesday, receiving a relatively small – but important – piece of the tens of millions Long Island received overall.
The infusion of funding comes through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, which awarded $755 million statewide this year and about $84.3 million overall to Long Island for 98 projects.
The North Shore-based projects range from $30,000 related to sewer infrastructure upgrades for the incorporated Village of Manorhaven to work on a computational genomics center at The Feinstein Institute at Northwell Health, worth $1.6 million – about half of the total rewarded money.
Overall, the $3.1 million goes towards items like special training, restoration, medical research and infrastructural upgrades.
The biggest beneficiary is the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health, which is receiving $1.6 million to improve its data capabilities to establish a computational genomics center.
The second biggest development reward, worth $500,000, goes to roof restoration for the historic Westbury House in Old Westbury Gardens, which more than 90,000 people visit annually to see gardens and the old Phipps family mansion.
Nancy Costopulos, the president and CEO of Old Westbury Gardens, described the grant money as generous and critical for maintaining the 111-year-old house. She said the money will primarily go toward procuring the necessary materials, like terracotta cornices and slate, for fixing the aging roof.
“It’s a beautiful roof,” Costopulos said. “The slate has aged in this kind of nice light color over time, and there are some areas where you can see the damage over the years.”
North Hempstead gets the third largest investment, receiving $450,000 for work on the Hempstead Harbor Shoreline Trail. The money will help build of the final two segments of the five-part trail, stretching it to be nearly two miles long.
“This grant will enable the Town to extend the Hempstead Harbor Trail almost another mile along the shoreline, enhancing the experience even more,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. “I believe that the trail will continue to attract local residents and those outside the town as they visit and enjoy the view and be close to nature.”
The Town will also match the grant with $450,000 of its own, town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said.
NYU Winthrop Hospital also received a reward for $100,000 to train outpatient private practitioners, hospital representatives said, in new codes used in medical billing.
Diane Bachor, the director of grants and special programs at Winthrop, described the upgrade as a “massive overhaul” that made the billing process more difficult. But with the training, she said, getting the right reimbursement and billing is done quickly and correctly is more likely.
“It was never this big of a change, from 17,000 to 140,000 [codes],” Bachor said. “There used to be more global coding.”
Since 2011, the Regional Economic Development Council has delivered $570.8 million for Long Island projects, a sum second only to Central New York’s council, which has put $615.5 million into local projects.
Long Island has also been given awards for the third most projects overall, with 688. The Finger Lakes and Capital Region REDCs have delivered money for 718 and 715 projects, respectively.
The 10 REDCs across the state, which have members in the public and private sectors, have aimed to develop long-term strategic plans for “community-based and performance driven” development since 2011.
The Town of Oyster Bay, Oerlikon Metco in New Cassel, and the Town of Hempstead’s Department of Occupational Resources also received approximately $100,000 each, largely for training programs.
Other grants include $39,263 for Spectronics Corporation in New Cassel and $51,000 for Long Island Traditions.
State Sen. Elaine Phillips, whose district covers most of North Hempstead, said the money, awarded from a state initiative started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will help boost development in the area.
“Funding for these crucial projects will strengthen our local economy, create jobs, and expand innovate cultural programs in our communities,” Phillips said.
A full list of projects can be found here.