For Immediate Release Media Contacts: Collin Nash and Sid Nathan
June, 3, 2010 (516) 869-7794
North Hempstead’s Reconstruction of Prospect Avenue, New Cassel’s Main Street, Making Huge Strides
New Cassel, NY—With New Cassel’s multimillion dollar revitalization inching closer to completion, Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Viviana L. Russell along with other members of the North Hempstead Town Board, welcomed Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and county officials last week to spotlight a long-awaited traffic calming project along Prospect Avenue, the hamlet’s main thoroughfare.
“We are here today in New Cassel, a community whose time has come, to celebrate the enormous strides that can be made when people on all levels work together,” Supervisor Kaiman said. “More than a decade after a vision which started with my predecessor May Newburger took flight, new mixed-use buildings now line this corridor as part of New Cassel’s $60 million revitalization. Now the reconstruction of Prospect Avenue not only promises to slow traffic, but it will also maintain the quaintness of this wonderful community.”
Councilwoman Russell, a member of the visioning team which helped formulate the revitalization plans for New Cassel, expressed pride in being part of the process that is coming to fruition.
“This investment in our community will enhance our quality of life and inject new vitality in New Cassel,” she said.
Like most Main Streets, Prospect Avenue, little more than a dirt road 50 years ago when New Cassel was settled primarily by African Americans from the city, provided essential services such as a grocery store, bakery, hardware store and filling stations.
The recently begun $8.1 million makeover—financed in great part by $5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding and an additional $2.8 million in federal grants—will reduce the existing 1.2 mile, four-lane roadway to two lanes with a landscaped center median, bicycle lanes both ways, on-street parallel parking and street furniture.
Much of the funding was made possible by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy.
“I am happy to have been able to do my part,” McCarthy said. “I applaud Jon (Kaiman) for his vision and I applaud the community because they fought for something they believed in. Good people live here and they deserve the best of the best.”
The new Prospect Avenue will also boast a supermarket, bank and pharmacy, the first in recent memory, as well as retail outlets alongside mom and pop businesses that have called it home for decades.
Prospect Avenue’s reconstruction is a key undertaking in the overall revitalization of New Cassel, a predominantly black and Hispanic community of about 13,000 on the Eastern edge of the Village of Westbury.
Mark McFarland, the owner of MEM Custom T Shirts said he has high hopes the reconstruction of the thoroughfare will attract more foot traffic to businesses along the corridor..
“It should bring much needed revenue and at the same time slow down traffic,” he said.
The makeover of the hamlet’s commercial corridor underscores a 360-degree turnaround in a process that started about seven years ago with the creation of a community group driven by a mission to return New Cassel to its thriving earlier days.
In 2003, North Hempstead adopted a vision plan shaped by the community. With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, private donors and Nassau County, the project broke ground two years later in 2005.
The ambitious $60 million project has been lauded as a national model.
Consisting of one affordable housing development and six mixed-use projects, New Cassel’s revitalization not only heralded the availability of affordable rentals for residents but also created opportunities for first-time home owners.
In addition to the Prospect Avenue reconstruction phase, a third component of the revitalization, a $15 million community center with an Internet café, senior citizen lounge, and basketball courts, among other amenities, is scheduled to break ground in the fall.
Click here to check out North Hempstead's Facebook Page for more pictures.
(L to R) Councilwoman Lee Seeman, Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman, Legislator Robert Troiano, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, Bishop Lionel Harvey, Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Frank Cashin, Councilwoman Viviana Russell and Joe Anthony.