Written by Cory Twibell: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 08 June 2012 00:00The Hicksville Gardens Civic Association’s (HGCA) mission statement is simple: To improve the quality of life for the Hicksville community by encouraging community awareness, participation and civic pride.
Over the years, one could argue that the organization, which is mainly comprised of local homeowners, hasn’t deviated from the plan.
Hicksville, like many of its neighboring communities, boasts a mix of residential and commercial properties, and the HGCA has worked in conjunction with the Town of Oyster Bay and Nassau County on a number of projects to maintain a proper balance between the two aspects of life over the years.
The HGCA, founded in 1984, has grown to represent the southeast portion of Hicksville, which includes all residences south of Old Country Road, west of South Oyster Bay Road, east of Jerusalem Avenue and north of Bloomingdale and Scooter Roads.
Ongoing issues in the area, according to Tom McGovern, a Hicksville resident and HGCA executive board member, range from traffic issues to beautification projects to development concerns.
“Nassau County is doing a study on Jerusalem Avenue because there’s been an inordinate amount of accidents on Jerusalem Avenue south of Old Country Road. They’ve admitted that it is a problem and they’re looking at ways to remediate that problem and not create traffic on the side streets,” McGovern said, noting that a fix may come in the form of a recent lane conversion in the area.
“On Newbridge Road, south of Hempstead Turnpike, it used to be two lanes in each direction and it was a problem with turns and speed. What [Nassau County] did was make it one lane in each direction and give a turning lane left or right in the center.
“That may be something coming with Jerusalem Avenue. We don’t know, but [we’re looking for] anything to slow the traffic down. The average speed was around 55 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone. It’s tough, we have the junior high school there and they’re speeding right through and that’s 25 miles per hour all day long,” McGovern said, explaining that the stretch is an alternate route during high-volume commute hours.
The HGCA was opposed to the building plans on the Bagga property (594 South Broadway), which included the construction of 11 apartments overlooking retail properties on the site, but the Town of Oyster Bay was defeated in court in trying to deny permits for its development.
“We’ll have to see what’s going to happen with that. It was originally scheduled for a hotel and some apartments over the stores. We had fought it with the support of the town but the owner took them to court. The town defended the case, but the owner of the property won the case. So, we’re going to have to see what happens there,” McGovern said.
The beautification of Hicksville and the Downtown Revitalization Plan is another topic of note for residents, and McGovern said that the HGCA maintains a presence on those projects by having members sit in on the Vision Long Island and Sustainable Long Island meetings.
Dust emanating from the Hooker Chemical/Ruco Polymer site (north of the railroad tracks on New South Road) has also been a problem for residents in the past, but McGovern explained that a letter was recently sent to the property owners regarding contaminants in the dust and the HGCA will be monitoring the issue.
A condensation issue resulting from the South Broadway Calpine Power Plant’s cooling system, according to McGovern, has improved but still presents an impediment on certain days.
“During the winter, we get a plume of mist from its cooling system and sometimes it blocks out the whole roadway – it’s like driving into a cloud. The past few years it’s been a lot better. We have one of our local supporters in the area keeping an eye on it,” McGovern said.
A successful initiative from the civic association is its oil consortium, which gives HGCA members a 20-cent-per-gallon discount (calculated daily based on the posted price) on home oil through Perillo Bros. Fuel Oil Company.
“We have our oil consortium, which is ever-growing. We have over 180 families there and we started off with something like 30 and it’s about four years in the workings.
“We’re expanding that now to the Hicksville seniors to save them some money. There’s a good savings with it and good service along with it. We want to open that up to the snipers in the community if we can help them, too,” McGovern explained.
The HGCA aims “to leave our neighborhood a little bit better than we found it,” according to their website (www.hg civic.org), and residents looking to contribute can attend the next general meeting on Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m. in the Hicksville Public Library, in the Kenneth Barnes Community Room
“This and all meetings are open to the general public, bring a neighbor and get involved in our community we all call home,” said HGCA President Henry Goessmann.