Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00
The revitalization of downtown Hicksville is a topic that has been tossed around since the 1960’s. Ever since the widening of Broadway into Route 107 led to the destruction of what was once the downtown, people have been coming up with ideas to revitalize the area. Unfortunately one thing has stopped every proposal from being realized. That one thing is fear.
People fear that their beautiful suburban lifestyle will be ruined. They fear apartment buildings will be cropping up on their block. They fear low income housing, increased traffic and crowds. They fear their wonderful suburb will become another Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx. They fear change.
It is now time to admit that change has come anyway, and the change is not good. On a recent visit from Arizona, a friend’s son remarked how dreary and filthy downtown Hicksville had become. This is the change that we have brought about by inaction and fear. The downtown area, often referred to as the triangle, is bordered on either side by Newbridge Road and Broadway (Route 107) and in south by Old Country Road. This area is now characterized by parking lots with intermittent retail stores and lots of trash. Fear of building something new has resulted in downtown Hicksville becoming the commuter parking lot of the Town of Oyster Bay. If you take a walk in downtown Hicksville you may find yourself disappointed, depressed or disgusted. This is certainly not the suburban dream people fear losing.
Oyster Bay Town members say only the people of Hicksville can change Hicksville. They say we don’t want change and that we don’t want to be urbanized. We don’t. Nor do we want our downtown to become a gigantic parking lot filled with trash and unattractive convenience stores. No one is going to change your block. Your green lawns won’t disappear. But to encourage investment in this small downtown area we must accept some change. We need some mixed-use housing to provide apartments for our young people and housing for our seniors. We are talking about affordable housing-not low income housing. We need commercial investors to contribute to our tax base so our school taxes don’t keep skyrocketing.
Our property values only decrease as our downtown deteriorates. Our seniors are shipped off to Suffolk or Florida, for affordable senior housing. Our children are running back to Queens and Brooklyn for downtowns with restaurants and entertainment. Or they are moving to the south or west for affordable housing.
Yes we all fear change, but change has come anyway. It is time to let our Town Council know that Hicksville is ready for change, change for the better. We are not a parking lot for more affluent towns. We are a community of proud homeowners who want our downtown to be a clean and attractive place to take a walk with our families. So let us embrace change, the kind of change that will bring us attractive restaurants, retail shops and maybe even some cultural arts.
Let us change Hicksville into a destination place, not a parking space.