Since 1968, Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington has worked to preserve the peninsula’s environment and provide educational initiatives. That mission will continue in 2018, but it will be under a new name.
To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the group will now be known as Residents Forward. Executive Director Mindy Germain said the name change helped to more succinctly describe what the group does.
“Our old name sounded like all we did was plant flowers,” she said. “We do so much more than that. We are the leading advocate for clean drinking water on the peninsula, for maintaining trails … it’s more than just beautification.”
As for why Residents Forward was chosen, Germain’s explanation was echoed by Vice President of Marketing Flora Hanff.
“Everyone calls us ‘Residents’ so we wanted to maintain that part of the name,” she said. “However, we also wanted our name to communicate our commitment to always advancing — striving for better — together. Hence, Residents Forward.”
With the new name comes a new mission for the group. Germain said that just as “Residents Forward” demonstrates a commitment to more than just beautification, so too should the group’s goals. She said they will now seek to protect and advance the beauty, vibrancy, resiliency and sustainability of Port Washington.
The “forward” part of the name comes from a desire to inspire and unify residents toward the accomplishment of these goals, Germain said.
She stressed that teamwork was important to carry out the group’s work, for goals both big and small.
“The beauty of our organization is we do the really small things like pick up garbage on Main Street,” she said. “And on the other side, we are leading a major advocacy effort to fight [New York City] from activating the Queens wells.”
The group is one of many on Long Island fighting the city’s bid to use the Queens wells for drinking water. Officials on Long Island are concerned that allowing the city access to the wells would reduce the supply of water for island residents.
Germain said the group’s work will not be much different than it was last year — it had already been doing more than just beautifying the area, and the group’s goals were changed to reflect that. She said the push to do more than just beautify the area began with Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“Our focus on resiliency, that changed after Sandy,” she said. “We realized that we needed to plan ahead for the future and harden our infrastructure for future disasters. That was the newest theme to the organization.”