The streets of downtown Oyster Bay are brighter, cleaner and prettier, and more events are happening to draw residents out to enjoy them, thanks to the efforts of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association (OBMSA). And the association is looking forward to another strong year: at its annual meeting held recently at the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay, highlights of the past year were presented along with an overview of this year’s projects.
“In 2018 we will be continuing our efforts to revitalize and beautify the downtown,” said executive director Meredith Maus.
Maus gave a presentation discussing the successful projects and campaigns in 2017, including the Hanging Flower Basket campaign, which provided the streets with 168 baskets in the spring and summer and 168 wreaths in the winter.
“This was fully funded and filled the downtown with color and life this past spring,” said Maus.
The mission of the OBMSA, a nonprofit organization, is to create a healthy economy in an attractive hamlet while maintaining the downtown’s historic integrity. It “engages the public and private sectors to revitalize the heart of Oyster Bay through responsible preservation, community events, educational outreach and business development.”
According to Sasha Freedman, project manager for the association, other accomplishments include the “hugely successful” façade and sign grant, which provides grant funds for businesses in downtown Oyster Bay to get new signage and improve their building façades.
“Since 2013, OBMSA has assisted over 30 businesses with this program, disbursing over $48,500 of grant money and leveraging an additional private investment of $56,000 into the downtown,” said Freedman.
In keeping with its mission, OBMSA hosted and participated in several fun community events this past year, including hosting the annual Dancing in the Street in July, the New York AutoFest Car Show, Raynham Hall’s Halloween Parade and the Tree Lighting & Ice Skating in December.
Maus also discussed the technical assistance the association provides to local businesses. The association works with business owners interested in improving their properties and puts them in touch with trusted architects and contractors to “encourage historic and appropriate designs” for the downtown area. On top of that, they help the building owners secure grant monies to assist with the costs of the projects.
She also discussed a successful series of workshops that OBMSA developed and hosted in partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SUNY Farmingdale and one-on-one in depth meetings with an advisor from the SBDC in the OBMSA offices for members.
The association is an important resource for new business owners, as it can provide technical assistance to small businesses. It keeps a list of available spaces for sale or rent for businesses interested in opening or expanding downtown, assists with permits and can provide demographic and market data to new businesses.
Plans are already in the works for continuing the OBMSA’s efforts to keep the downtown clean and green.
“Starting in the spring, kiosks will be repaired as an Eagle Scout project,”said Maus. “We will be continuing Project Clean Sweep, where we have hired someone to pick up debris throughout the downtown during the high season. We will also be breaking ground on a project to increase green space in the downtown, with an exciting landscape renovation of the post office.”