Smithtown’s Fleeting Youth

Although NewOnLongIsland holds no affiliation with a any political group or party, we feel that Larry Vetter for Smithtown Town Council has an opinion that many here on Long Island may want to hear…

Author: Larry Vetter.

In the normal life cycle of a town, a slow turnover of young to old and back to young is a part of life. To be vibrant, there must be that natural progression. It’s something that is true for any town, anywhere in the United States. During the past twenty years, Long Island has developed a malaise that has slowly eroded our young population in what is generally acknowledged to be the “Brain Drain”. I am no stranger to this phenomenon in that I have four adult children who have left Long Island, likely never to return.

My children, as well as many of their contemporaries, have explained that there are three predominant reasons for this exodus: the lack of appropriate jobs, the lack of affordable housing and the lack of community. It was the third that took me somewhat by surprise since the first two are generally recognized as an existing issue. As a candidate for Town Council, the “Brain Drain” is center stage for my platform.

Lack of Appropriate Jobs:

A significant part of arguably the largest industrial park east of the Mississippi River lies within the environs of Smithtown. The Hauppauge Industrial Park has experienced an erosion, from a once vibrant industrial park to one that is today under-utilized and under-populated. Where several towns on Long Island now have Industrial Development Departments or at least someone paying attention to the development issues, Smithtown has nothing. Proposed plans are limited and do very little to encourage the types of business that would attract young people, namely technology. Manufacturing on Long Island has its logistical issues, however, technology can survive.

Lack of Affordable Housing:

This is an area that will make most people in Smithtown cringe. If you take a look at Park Slope, Williamsburg and Astoria, areas that have become meccas for our youth, you’ll note that they are embracing the multi-family and apartment lifestyle of the young. Many of these dwellings are seemingly solely populated by the under thirty group. Why is this not achievable in Smithtown? Our youth not only cannot afford the single family living experience, but they also seem to shun it. The other side of affordable housing is taxation. I recognize that school taxes play the dominant part in the housing tax situation, but maybe it is finally time to look at the way we administer all our government services. How much money is wasted on redundant and unnecessary administration?

Community:

This subject is much more encompassing that it seems. It requires downtown revitalization. Community is not a retail destination, but rather a cultural gathering place. This is the type of downtown our young people desire. It will require investing in our downtowns to make them pedestrian friendly, esthetically pleasing and easy to maneuver. It will require the addition of sanitary sewer systems. This is a much-needed enhancement not just for business districts but also for the long-term quality of life for everyone in our town. Water quality is becoming an issue, both in what we drink and what we choose to swim in. It will require a rethinking of our transportation needs. The automobile is a necessary evil on Long Island, one that is becoming less and less embraced by our population. Rather than a source of freedom, the automobile has become a serious expense and at times a logistical problem. Improving on one area without addressing the others will not get us the desired results we seek. All must be addressed simultaneously and progress together.

Each item I have listed will only enhance the good things we have in our town and ensure that it continues in a positive direction for many generations to come. We have a great town with many great features. Let’s move to the future with a positive can-do attitude and make this town the place in which our grandchildren want to live.

…Larry Vetter

 

For more information on Larry Vetter for Smithtown Town Council, visit his Facebook pageand make sure you’re heard on November 3rd!

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