Long Island has at least a dozen major business/community organizations and the Corridor attends at least 100 events a year sponsored by these organizations. Friday however was an event of a different sort. Something NEW. Something VIBRANT, something shimmering with life and hope…the Vision Long Island Smart Growth Summit, appropriately sub-titled “Crisis and Opportunity: Placemaking in a time of economic uncertainty.”
Orchestrated by the charismatic Eric Alexander and a noble staff of over-achievers, the presentation of “The Summit” at the Melville Marriot was a staggering display of power and strength; a bold statement of who we are as Long Islanders and what we can achieve when we work together. It is the first event of this type that I’ve been to that was not politically polarized. There was some whining–Ed Mangano voiced his disappointment over the defeat of the vote regarding the Nassau Coliseum–Jon Kaiman was a little down-beat but they too were a part of the superb show of solidarity and contributed to a supportive push into the future.
The panel discussions were lively and very well-attended. If I have any criticism at all, it’s that there were too many of them scheduled in the same time slots so that it was not possible to attend them all. I am a great fan of the brilliant Dr. Nathalia Rogers, Associate Professor of Sociology at Dowling College whose linear thought process is laser-sharp — her tag-team deftly dealt with a young nay-sayer in the discussion.
Most of all I was impressed with what VISION LONG ISLAND brings to the table: A disparate blend of politicos, relationships that integrate the Academic community with the Business community, a comprehensive approach to the issues that plague us and paramount to all of these, the decision makers who have viable, potential solutions to those issues.