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Letter: ‘Westbury Doing Great Things’

This letter is a response to the letter that resident Linda Hoffman sent to The Westbury Times regarding her distaste for the downtown road improvement currently under way on Post Avenue, a copy of which she sent to my office. While I certainly respect that Ms. Hoffman is entitled to her opinion regarding the aesthetics of the red brick motif crosswalks and medians, she is not entitled to make up her own facts. So, for purposes of clarity, and to correct some of the inaccurate aspects of her letter, I would like to point out the following:

 1. While Ms. Hoffman does not think that the red brick feature is attractive, or will enhance the appearance of the downtown area, she is singular in that view, as many residents and members of the business community have expressed their appreciation for the effort, and believe that the project complements the ongoing downtown revitalization that the Village has undertaken over the past seven or eight years. Many people have stopped me, called or emailed thanking the Village for undertaking this project, and have told me that the enhancement is a welcome beautification of Post Avenue. But, I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

2. Post Avenue is one of the busiest commercial streets in central Nassau County, and has its share of litter, noise and other problems. The Village and the Business Improvement District are increasing their efforts to keep the street clean and attractive, and the appearance and profile of Post Avenue have improved dramatically over the past few years. While more, certainly needs to be done, Ms. Hoffman’s opinion that the street is “filthy” and an “eyesore” is extreme and inaccurate.

3. The project on Post Avenue is a joint partnership between the County and the Village, and not one cent of Village tax dollars has been spent on the project. Since Ms. Hoffman is of the opinion that the project is a waste of Village resources, it bears noting that none of the roadwork being done this year in the Village (approximately $2.5 million worth of improvements) is costing Ms. Hoffman or any other Village resident anything. The entire cost of these projects is being covered by grant funds, stimulus money and other external sources.

4. Anyone who has paid any attention to Village matters over the past four or five years is aware that the theater project has been one of the most active and high-priority issues that we have worked on. The culmination of that work is near at hand, and the redevelopment project is now in the last stages of the approval process. Despite the process taking longer than anyone would have liked, the project, which has attributes almost exactly as Ms. Hoffman suggests should be pursued, should be ready to break ground in the next month or so. I am hopeful that noticeable improvements to the site and to the exterior of the building will be evident by the middle or end of August. The Village has been very aggressive and diligent in working with the owner of the property to get the very best project to meet the Village’s needs. We expect the project to be a powerful engine for bringing new businesses and consumers to Post Avenue, and to contribute to our ongoing Post Avenue redevelopment efforts.

The foundations that the Village has set in place are strong and are yielding results. The financial footing of the Village is strong, as we have cut our budget for two successive years, while increasing and enhancing services. All Village bond ratings have been upgraded in recent months, giving us the highest bond ratings in the Village’s history. We have sought, obtained and spent millions of dollars of grant funds to better our roads, parks, facilities and other infrastructure at no cost to our residents. We have taken countless other steps, together with our residents, civic associations and business community, to make Westbury better.

Given everything positive that is going on around the Village of Westbury, I am perplexed that Ms. Hoffman found herself “seeing red” when witnessing our Post Avenue improvement project. Despite her assertions, Westbury is moving in the right direction in so many areas. I have lived in Westbury all of my 48 years, I am proud to be Westbury’s mayor, and yes, I may be a bit defensive when I hear things being said about our community that are just not true. We will always have more that needs to be done, but Westbury is doing great things with its limited resources. We have a great future.

Peter Cavallaro
Village of Westbury