Jocelyn Wenk: Our Young People Need Better Downtowns


I'm Jocelyn Wenk and I work for the Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation.

As a young person who grew up on Long Island, moved away, and came back, I look at Long Island's downtowns and see tremendous opportunity. I see places where we could have apartments for 20-somethings and new businesses. I picture young people walking to work, shops, and restaurants -- instead of walking away from our region.

If this sounds far-fetched, it isn't. Building downtown housing is a tried and true strategy that our suburban neighbors have been using for years. And Long Island has the available land. When the Long Island Index inventoried all the underutilized land in downtown and train station areas across our region, we were amazed to discover how much room we have to grow: 8,300 acres.

So Long Islanders -- let's not waste this opportunity, and let's hold on to our talented young people. The place to build is downtown, and the time is now.

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