It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza over these many years. During that time, Trustee Ted Rosen has served ably as my Deputy Mayor. I enthusiastically support his candidacy for Mayor in the upcoming elections on September 15.
Ted is a thoughtful, empathetic person who builds community consensus and engages residents and stakeholders in the planning process. He feels it is important to solicit many viewpoints to help gain agreement in developing a successful project. Ted and I have served together on the Village Board before I became Mayor through the Gussack and Rosegarten administrations. We are proud of the many initiatives and programs instituted during the last two decades to promote the downtown and increase the Plaza’s livability and walkability, and provide affordable (workforce) housing, as well as do our part locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the effects of climate change on our environment, including adoption of a Climate Action Plan.
Trustee Pam Marksheid has served the Village well, as she brings a background as an educator to the Board. She’s also a Commissioner on the Historic Preservation Commission reviewing matters before the Commission to ensure the Village’s designated historic landmarks are protected and preserved for today and future generations. Michael DeLuccia, as Chair of the Board of Zoning and Appeals, knows the Village’s Building Code and his expertise will aid in expeditiously guiding future development in the Village.
In these difficult times an experienced Mayor leading our Village is critical to a return to normalcy which will serve as a foundation for the growth and prosperity of our downtown. Ted has been working with our merchants and Business Improvement District (BID) during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop an Open Dining Program approved by Nassau County. The program allowed the Village to issue streamlined temporary permits to restaurants and eateries to serve customers outside this summer with more tables and chairs for social distancing and increased sales. Ted has been instrumental in producing a series of Zoom Meetings on the COVID-19 pandemic and having guest presenters/experts in the field to educate merchants and residents about accessing relief programs and applying for other government financial assistance programs for such items as wipes, sanitizers and PPE. In these challenging times, Ted feels village government should do all that it can to give our residents, merchants, and their employees the tools and resources to alleviate their burden.
The Board of Trustees has a strong record of accomplishments on transportation enhancements and pedestrian safety improvements by completing its seventh traffic calming grant obtained through the New York State Department of Transportation to enhance the Shoreward Drive/Welwyn Road area near the USPS Main Post Office. This safety and beautification project included reconstructed roadways with pedestrian safety improvements, additional parking, landscaped medians, new brick sidewalks, benches and street furniture, a public plaza with contrasting paving stones, new trees and tree pits, and ornamental street lighting in the Village’s Central Park lamppost style to increase safety at night for the many pedestrians and bicyclists that utilize this area to access the Great Neck train station and environs.
Our Board adopted transit-oriented development (TOD) in 2011 as a revitalization tool following the Great Recession in 2009, to permit mixed-uses and mixed-income, such as affordable apartments above first floor retail space. TOD attracts and retains residents, especially young professionals, and empty nesters, as an effective economic redevelopment initiative to bring vitality to the downtown. The 5-9 Grace Avenue apartment building, the first TOD, was built following the Board’s tweaking of the adopted zoning in 2013.
We have implemented programs such as the replacement of outdated, inefficient high-pressure sodium lighting in our two parking garages and sidewalk lampposts in the downtown with efficient, maintenance-free L.E.D. fixtures, lowering our carbon footprint in the process. We have also continued initiatives in our AARP Livable Communities Program to make the Plaza a more walkable, livable, socially connected and thriving community for residents of all ages and abilities.
With the COVID in our midst, we cannot take a chance on an inexperienced person as Mayor; we need knowledgeable leaders with a proven track record. Ted is not only an experienced leader that cares deeply about the Village, he is fiscally responsible and will propose budgets that recognize fiscal realities. On Sept. 15 I urge Plaza residents to vote for the experienced team of Rosen, Marksheid and DeLuccia. With this team, Great Neck Plaza residents will have a stable lineup of experienced professionals at the helm to continue the critical Village work ahead.
Jean A. Celender, Mayor
Village of Great Neck Plaza