Should City Revive Bayfront Development Plan?

An artist's rendering of a proposed development of Long Beach's central bay front from last decade. (Credit: Imagine Long Beach)
An artist's rendering of a proposed development of Long Beach's central bay front from last decade. (Credit: Imagine Long Beach)

Imagine Long Beach has revived the idea of redeveloping the city’s central bayfront district primarily for recreational use, a proposal that the city entertained but never developed last decade.

Launched after Hurricane Sandy, Imagine Long Beach is a website created by local volunteers as “a place for people to share their dreams on how to rebuild our city: better, stronger and more vibrant,” according to the site’s “About” page.

Of the central bayfront development, Imagine Long Beach writes: “This area has so much potential as a gateway to Long Beach, and it is one of the first locations a motorists sees when driving over the Long Beach bridge. Boaters, tourists, parks, so much can be done here as well as working in conjunction with the residents that live close by.”

According to the city’s Comprehensive Plan Technical Memorandum from May 2005, a portion of the city’s 3.5 miles of bayfront is accessible to the public, roughly from Magnolia Boulevard to Monroe Boulevard; that is, from the Recreation Center to the tennis center, and includes a park, wastewater treatment plant and electrical substation.

The master plan from nearly nine years ago reads:   

“Redevelopment that could take place on the bayfront  could provide significant opportunity to enhance the area, create public waterfront amenities, and foster better utilization of water dependent and water enhanced uses … While the majority of this waterfront property has active uses, many of the uses could be consolidated and/or relocated to create a large swath of developable waterfront property.”

Imagine Long Beach revived this idea back in September, before Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would fund a $13 million storm protection project for Long Beach’s bayfront that would include a “Dutch Dam.”

What are your thoughts on the city reviving this plan or a variation on it light of the pending bayfront rebuilding? Let us know in the comments below:

Jack January 17, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Well, most people are stupid and don't vote. These democrats are looking for a quick payday and will move onto something else. I'm suspicious about this Democrat political boss. Where does he really live? Does he have a place in Florida he will retreat to when Long Beach is gone? Everyone in Nassau County should wake up- these politicians are stealing our tax money and looting the sysytem and will be gone in 10 years living in their vacation homes down south. Long beach and the rest of Nassau County will look like Detroit ( or St.Louis, Chicago, East LA, Buffalo, Bridgeport etc etc etc)
John January 17, 2014 at 11:28 AM
uh oh...boogie men. - http://www.imaginelbny.com/about/
Castles Made of Sand January 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM
It's all BS."We’ve helped neighbors gut their homes...", "We love our community and want to see..., "Our voices will be heard if we can demonstrate strong support...", "we can show local governments...", "we would like to have in our city..." Funny, I don't remember any of these developers, who wrote the script on that page you just linked to, gutting homes and helping their non-neighbors. I'll say it again, it's an artfully crafted ruse backed by politicians. It's top down, NOT ground up. Google the names, Google the projects like the one in Bristol, CT, read the comment boards. Where do you think those professional architectural renderings come from? Some do-gooder with a dream in one of our local civic associations?
John January 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM
boogie boogie boogie boogie..."funny, i don't remember any of these developers, who wrote the script on that page...". Maybe that's because it was residents that wrote it and your conspiratorial mind has gotten the better of you. please though, continue on. when you get a sec, i'd love to hear your updates on the recent sasquatch sightings and/or about what really happened on that grassy knoll in dallas.
Castles Made of Sand January 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Hammy, John asked me. It's a bear and a lone gunman. Stay on topic, please. @JOHN, in the the link you provided is "The Story Behind Imagine Long Beach". "several members of the Long Beach community became aware of a contest being held to conduct a feasibility study of re-development potential across Long Island. Long Beach subsequently won". Any link to the contest? Who were the losers in the contest? Any knowledge of the "local Long Beach team" that was formed?????
John January 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM
John January 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM
as for who the LB team is, why don't you go to the sight, log on with your real name like the rest of us and engage in an adult conversation rather than furthering the cesspool of civic discourse that is the patch.
ImagineLBNY January 17, 2014 at 01:01 PM
First, those of us who are involved at Imagine Long Beach are encouraged that so many people seem so passionate about this issue because at root, that is what ILBNY is all about – providing a platform for the entire community to discuss positive ideas and ways that we can build the tax base and spur private investment in the community. Most important, we have been as transparent and open as possible and indeed this is a grass roots effort – there’s nothing to hide here. In regard to Renaissance Downtowns, there is no boogie man and nothing to hide. Renaissance has been working with ILBNY because a group of us concerned residents reached out to Renaissance after noticing their Crowdsourced placemaking program elsewhere and how it has allowed residents to become involved in their community’s future. Now, we might not all agree on exactly what we want to see built in Long Beach, but hopefully we can agree that the best way to get there is an open and positive dialogue. All we are trying to do is provide a way for our community to work together. -Kelly Sullivan, LB resident
Penquin January 17, 2014 at 02:24 PM
I would like to imagine a hospital in this town. Why isn't this first priority?
John January 17, 2014 at 03:09 PM
so what are you doing to make that happen, lambchop?
Penquin January 17, 2014 at 03:54 PM
Whatever I can John - But don't you agree that a hospital is important at this point in time? Also, fixing the infrastructure; protecting the city from bay front and ocean flooding? Let's fix the problems caused by Sandy first.
Keith Grant January 17, 2014 at 04:14 PM
Yes, John. You should do something about fixing the infrastructure and protecting the city.
Castles Made of Sand January 17, 2014 at 06:19 PM
so Kelly Sullivan, LB Resident/ImagineLBNY - please tell the story of how this all went down. John ( possible co-chair of the state’s local Community Reconstruction Program watching over the 25 million+ guaranteed to LB), in response to my question concerning the alleged contest that team Long Beach won posted a link - http://destinationli.org/where/. That link takes you to a page that lists it's address as the Residence Inn by Marriott at 9 Gerhard Rd Plainview NY 11803. However the phone number is answered by none other than Renaissance Downtown/Concorde Group. So at what point did you "reach out" to the Renaissance Group behind ImagineLB, or at what point to you assume the moniker ImagineLB? Am I wrong in that a Community Reconstruction Co-chair is actually the John defending all of this?
Keith Grant January 17, 2014 at 06:49 PM
Tell you what I'm sick of, sick of all these residents giving hundreds and thousands of hours of their own time over the past 14 months trying to help this city recover and grow stronger. Just when is all of this selfless dedication to their community going to end?
Penquin January 17, 2014 at 07:05 PM
@Tired of Excuses - saw a Herald article about superblock - they are supposed to break ground for new residential buildings in November. You had mentioned the superblock in an earlier post.
Beachguy January 17, 2014 at 07:49 PM
Very sad that everything , and I mean everything, that is proposed meets up with criticism and cynicism whether justified or not. It's almost impossible to move forward on any projects because the naysayers emerge. Unfortunately they may be right based on the tawdry history of things in LB and Nassau. Just look at the Coliseum and the loss of LIs only professional sports team. LB in particular is rife with nepotism and inefficiencies. Overpaid police and other municipal employees , overtime when not warranted, missing money, coverups, etc etc. Well meaning citizens are rebuffed or hoodwinked until they give up. Meanwhile a worthy project such as revitalization of the bay front becomes a toxic subject that will probably lead to nothing or if it takes place will line the pockets of connected people. Remember the superblock. It's been years and years of costly litigation with no end in sight. Very sad indeed.
Hamburger January 17, 2014 at 08:40 PM
How about this: no to the 5 years- benefits for life proposal, and then we can continue to debate the rest?
Penquin January 17, 2014 at 08:56 PM
Hi Hamburger - They pulled the 5 year benefit for life proposal off the 1/21 agenda. But they did add a proposal to keep Jack another two years. All of us who loudly spoke out against it on Patch and other LB Websites were heard. Beachguy - Superblock construction starting in Nov according to Herald article and Council Agenda 1/21. Just FYI
Penquin January 17, 2014 at 09:04 PM
Go on Facebook page for I-Star to see proposed Superblock buildings - planning 14 stories (orig. 15). Part of 1/21 agenda is to raise allowable building heights, among other related things - so it seems as this is really happening. 1/21 agenda provides a lot of information.
Bob West January 17, 2014 at 11:19 PM
@lambchop- As you may have seen, I agree with you 100% that a new hospital is our #1 need. Without it, people will die. Period. BUT nobody but Jack Kett thought this topic was about the hospital property- it's not. Imagine Long Beach and it's backer Rennaisance Downtown Corporation are talking about the old industrial area and areas on both sides of the LIRR Bridge, etc- as the 2005 plan pictured above described "from Magnolia to Monroe." And FYI, Eddie just started a new thread about the giant Superblock plan-- http://longbeach.patch.com/groups/announcements/p/superblock_c74fae75 -- Wish I had a Kryptoniteblock. ||| But seriously, this "Imagine Long Beach" front page for the Rennaisance Downtown development corporation is pretty deep and murky. Come back and check out some of the links about it and it's President above later- I know you're dealing with a lot of isues right now! (PS- Full moon rose night before last. You can really feel it on patch, can't you???)
Penquin January 18, 2014 at 12:33 AM
Hi Bob - I didn't start following the politics of LB until after Sandy. Since the $40MM boardwalk, I do not trust any effort to build/rebuild to be on the up and up. Did the research earlier, and I do agree with you and Castle. I resent the selling of a dream when this city is a mess, folks are still out of their homes, and there is no hospital. I also think it is ludicrous to discuss a vision without some planning/answers for the logistics of construction, traffic, congestion, costs, parking, and traffic again. Let's all look at the pretty pictures, say our oohs and aahs without question. Imagine has reacted to folks on this blog in an unprofessional, sarcastic manner. No one on the Imagine side wants to address any concerns. Let's just think happy thoughts. Reminds me of the "free vacation" junk mail that is really cover for a crappy timeshare.
ally K January 18, 2014 at 09:38 AM
Your right Bob we didn't invent it we read an article on Crowdsourcing and then we googled it. Found Destination LI and asked other residents to vote to help LB win. Who are we the residents we are from North Park, Canals, Westholme, West End, President Streets, and Central. How did we met? We meet at the Magnolia Park Rebuild, gutting resident houses, Community Thanksgiving, Christmas tree dune event, clean-up LB event, at a Project Pay It Forward events, or a number of other fundraisers and volunteer efforts. We are like minded residents who think Long Beach can be better. We are residents who are tired of the saying "It can't be done in LB" or "LB can't change". We are not tied to any political group (they all would like us to go away). Shockingly there are people out there who aren't in it for themselves. We found a tool called crowdsourcing and after we won we asked Renaissance if they would sponsor it. Do we like the idea of a master developer or planner? Yes, because when you don't have a master planner your result is the Superblock, Sunrise Center, and a downtown full of nail salons and other unwanted businesses. Crowdsourcing is a new idea that we found and wanted to see it in LB. Residents are joining Imagine and are talking about what they want in LB. Residents are debating ideas from dogs on the beach to bayfront redevelopment. The city is reading it and seeing what residents want and need. At some point and we don't know when, Renaissance will stop sponsoring it and we will look for new way to sponsor the website ourselves maybe Castle or Bob you could help sponsor it as it might be right up your alley. The group of residents own the domain name and designed the logo.
Castles Made of Sand January 18, 2014 at 10:45 AM
I still don't understand the connection. Destination LI which lists it's address at a Hotel in Plainview and whose phone is in fact answered by Renaissance Downtown/Concorde group is separate from ImagineLB. Or is Imagine LB a front for Renaissance Downtown as well? Who held the "contest "DestinationLI? If they did, then Renaissance actually held the contest and you did not reach out to them. And if John, who so vehemently defends ImagineLB, is actually the Co-chair The Community Reconstruction Zone Committee overseeing the 25+ million already allocated to Long Beach, along with Crystal, Kohut, Shnirman, Mandel, LaCarruba etc. one might assume that more shenanigans are afoot. I really think ALL energy should be put into getting the hospital back as well.
Keith Grant January 18, 2014 at 12:45 PM
Castles, sorry to burst your bubble, but you're not uncovering any great conspiracy here. The Herald's Nov. 21 story on ImagineLB reported that it had partnered with Renaissance to assist with its crowdsourcing campaign, and Renaissance was widely acknowledged to be the the primary sponsor of "First Night Out." Hell, they even hung a banner in front of the ice sculptor. But ImagineLBNY was created exactly as Ally K said... residents from literally every section of Long Beach, most of whom did not even know one another before Sandy but came together at event after event, where they volunteered their time, their money, their sweat, and their energy to help their neighbors, help our businesses, and help our community get back on its feet. I spent most of the past decade-plus in the Army and can say I've rarely seen a more selfless, tireless and dedicated group of individuals than I've seen here in LB over the past 14 months. I am enormously proud to be among the 518 current members of ImagineLBNY, who have generated dozens of different ideas for improving this city that we all love. Not every idea posted is a good one, and not every idea is feasible. But this community is active in ways that it never has been before, and Imagine is allowing us all a place to voice our thoughts and fears. As to lambchops's point on logistical issues, you're 100% correct that all of those considerations must be met before any project can be realistically pursued. But you don't solve those problems first. You start with a vision, with an idea. Then you build the plan and pursue the feasibility of it. Trust me, I understand the planning process VERY well. In the meantime, I encourage all of our residents to join the site, see exactly who each and every other member is, and share their own thoughts about what we're all trying to accomplish. Because ideas have to start somewhere.. www.imaginelbny.com
Penquin January 18, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Thank you for that post Keith - now I understand how this group came together and what it stands for. Thank you for everything you've done to help with Sandy and our country. I'm pragmatic - and in LB sometimes projects aren't thought through - (i.e. the $40MM boardwalk).
Penquin January 19, 2014 at 03:42 AM
There were some nice designs on your website. Particularly, I liked the set up on the boardwalk, with shops, outdoor cafes, etc. Boardwalk has been naked too long. Looks like fun. Swingbelly's blues would be great! Since the food trucks are set up, perhaps the event could occur on the beach instead of the restaurant. Good luck to you
ally K January 19, 2014 at 08:03 AM
Bob, We don't know if Renaissance is a good fit for LB or not. We just want the city to look into getting a master developer, be it Renaissance or someone else. We just want our city government to engage the community and really listen to our wants and needs. I heard this at an Imagine meeting "If you focus on the residents the visitors will come naturally." That stayed with me Bob, everything needs to be resident focused. Bob we are as grassroots as grassroots can be. email Kelly and join us. kelly@imaginelbny.com
Penquin January 19, 2014 at 07:31 PM
Hello Ally, Wouldn't it be great if we could get a family recreation/entertainment center like Dave and Busters into Long Beach? D&B is great for all seasons - lots for both kids and adults to do, AND we get our bowling alley back! Enjoy your evening, Lori
danny-boy January 20, 2014 at 08:11 AM
Any involvement by a developer will reduce the community involvement/interest in favor of their own interest - the extent is only moot. A general consensus should be developed independently by the community, and it's representatives, for their purpose. Then it should be put out for Request for Proposals, with the developers modifying the plan for potential savings and improvement.
Castles Made of Sand January 20, 2014 at 09:14 AM
@ Ally K - you wrote "we read an article on Crowdsourcing and then we googled it. Found Destination LI...". If DestinationLI's phone number posted on their website is answered by Renaissance Downtown/Concorde Group and their address is a Marriott (Concorde) Hotel in Plainview who wrote the article that you read? Who ran the Contest that Long Beach won? When did you "reach out" to Rennaissance Downtown? Or were you duped into thinking that this wasn't a ruse and a highly crafted plan put in place by a Long Island Developer? Go back and look at the video link I posted much earlier given by Renaissance. Their form of crowdsourcing is used to dupe residents into thinking this is grassroots planning. It is not. Listen to what Danny-boy just said - "A general consensus should be developed independently by the community". Utilize your civic associations. Make sure they have a stronger voice. And in the meantime take all your Imagine members and have them fight for a hospital. The number one "imagine" proposal should be a hospital. Do you have children? I'm sure people in your group do. What happens when one of them needs emergency care? A submersion in the ocean, hit in the head with a surfboard, internal injuries from the jetty, an allegery that closes off breathing? You're not going to want to wait to get to South Nassau in summer traffic, fall flooding, etc. City MD isn't open 24/7. Mobilize your group. Stop trying to get people to "like" BBQ's and restaurants. Long Beach is more than Businesses.


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