History of the Baldwin Civic Association
It was social media that revived the BCA.
While the Baldwin Civic Association dates back to August 1945, it was the launching of the Baldwin Needs Revitalization Facebook page in 2011 that sparked it back to Life. David Viana started the page as a way to “get everyone to start talking with each other and to get everyone to start thinking what we can do to fix Baldwin.” As the number of “likes” continued to grow, another Baldwin resident, Linda Degen, reached out with the idea of bringing back the Baldwin Civic Association.
The first informational meeting was held
October 22, 2011 at the Baldwin Public
Library with the hope that 50 people
might attend. Instead, nearly 200
residents showed up.
Other meetings followed at Baldwin
High School. Committees were formed:
Beautification, Potential New Business
(now Economic Development), Violations
(now Quality of Life), Membership, Fundraising, and Empty Storefronts. Officers were elected, including Viana and Degen as co-presidents, and an Executive Board was convened.
Since then, the BCA has continued to grow in membership and activities. Beautification Committee projects include plantings around town, the Baldwin Community Garden, banners along
Grand Avenue and Merrick Road, and
the new Baldwin sign on the train
trestle at Sunrise Highway. The Quality
of Life Committee went beyond just
reporting violations to bringing events
like the summer Music Series to Baldwin.
The Economic Development Committee
has reached out to and supported local
businesses, and has an active voice in
the Town of Hempstead project to redevelop the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and Merrick Road. As part of the committee drive to bring technology businesses to Baldwin, it brokered a partnership between Hofstra and the Baldwin School District to bring a computer coding program to Baldwin Middle School—the first of its kind in a Long Island public school.
The BCA has become an advocate for Baldwin. One of the earliest projects the BCA supported was the LIRR Infill Redevelopment study, which led to the Grand Avenue Traffic Study and recommendations to improve traffic on our main North-South thoroughfare. After Superstorm Sandy, BCA members were tabbed to help represent Baldwin in the New York Rising Program. BCA board members regularly meet with elected representatives as well as attend meetings of the Nassau County Legislature and the Hempstead Town Council. BCA representatives even journey to Albany to make sure Baldwin’s concerns are heard by government.
The Baldwin Civic Association is once again a vibrant organization that is working to fulfill its mission to “foster our wonderfully diverse community and maintain the quality of life in Beautiful Baldwin.”
The BCA Executive Board is comprised of nine members: five officers and the chairs of the four standing committees. The Executive Boards meets once a month.
President Karen Montalbano: Karen was born in Brooklyn and moved to Baldwin in 1970 with her family. Karen joined the Baldwin Civic Association when it was re-established in 2011 because she felt there was a need to attract more and better businesses to the community. She became chair of the Economic Development Committee and then Vice President, and was elected President in 2014. Her work with the BCA was recognized in 2013 when she was named the Baldwin Herald’s Person of the Year, and she was recently recognized by Vision Long Island with the Diana Coleman Community Leadership Award.
Vice President Steven Greenfield: Steve and his wife, Mary, have lived in Baldwin since 2000. Steven is a retired Executive Director for not-for-profit organizations, most recently the Mental Health Association of Nassau County. He is also an adjunct faculty member teaching social policy at Long Island University. Steven says, "The BCA has really been moving forward. I hope to see the Association increase in numbers and continue to press for needed changes. Baldwin is on the cusp of great things."
Treasurer Christopher Tomasello: Chris moved to Baldwin in 1996 from Malverne. He was first attracted to Baldwin by the beautiful, park-like setting of the Silver Lake area and the larger property lots available in Baldwin. With a BS in Environmental Sciences and an MS in Environmental and Occupational Health Science, Chris owns a Baldwin-based environmental consulting business and a Hicksville-based environmental contracting company.
Recording Secretary Helena Hillian: Helena has been a Baldwin resident for over fifteen years. She is married with three children who attend Baldwin schools. Helena is a licensed RN, with a BSN from Stony Brook University. Since Helena joined the Baldwin Civic Association in 2011, she has served on the Membership Committee as well as planning, organizing, and working at Association events to sign up new members. Other activities and interests include involvement in the PTA and school events. Serving the community has been one of Helena’s passions. "As a board member, I have the opportunity to serve as an active participant and help foster that cohesive voice for the community." Helena encourages all residents to become change agents by joining the Association, “A Catalyst for Change.”
Corresponding Secretary Joan Flatley: Joan has been living in Baldwin since 1967, and has been working for the community the entire time. She taught in the Baldwin School District for 31 years before retiring in 2012 as principal of Meadow School. In addition, she has been a member of the Baldwin Democratic Club, the Baldwin Educational Assembly, the Baldwin Civic Association, SPLASH, and the Baldwin Foundation for Education. She has been recognized for her unstinting service by the Baldwin Foundation for Education, was named a “Woman Trailblazer” by the Nassau County Legislature, and won the “Woman of Distinction” award from Assemblyman Brian Curran. She looks forward to continuing her work in and for Baldwin.
Standing Committee Chairs
For biographical information about committee chairs, see the individual committee pages.
Beautification Committee: Rita Cavanagh
Economic Development Committee: Darien Ward
Membership Committee: Rob Weisser
Quality of Life Committee: Jason Vitale
Click here for a copy of the Association's by-laws.