Despite the social and economic limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Baldwin Oaks Civic Association vice president Wayne Miles, 71, has spearheaded a series of beautification and safety projects in North Baldwin by partnering with local organizations, elected officials and the community.
“As a resident, owner and community advocate at Baldwin, I am resigned to maintaining the quality of life and I am committed to keeping Baldwin clean, green and beautiful,” Miles told the Herald.
Indeed, over the past year the Baldwin Oaks Civic Association has been very busy. Community Engagement President Jonathan Prevost said, “We have set ourselves an ambitious goal of completing 10 community improvement projects by the end of the summer. I am happy to say that we have completed seven of the 10 projects, three of which are currently underway.
Among the projects, the group has:
- Pushed for the repaving of Coes Neck Road with Hempstead Town Councilor Dorothy Goosby.
- Worked with Health District # 2 to install anti-waste signs on Coes Neck Road and adjacent to Fairview Mall.
- Teamed up with Nassau County Lawmaker Debra Mulé to repair traffic gates along Grand Avenue.
- Contacted County Lawmaker Kevan Abrahams to repair the crosswalk, cut down overgrown plants and remove a fallen cable along Grand Avenue near the Southern State Parkway.
For all the good Miles has done for the community, the Baldwin Herald proudly names him our Person of the Year for 2021. “Most of the things that I do, some people know it or don’t know, but I don’t. are generally not recognized, ”he said.
Murray described Miles as “altruistic”, adding that he is also “energetic”, an “actor” and a “bridge builder”. “The good thing about him is that he’s a consensus builder. Before a decision, he seeks everyone’s opinion, ”Murray said.
Miles was born in Spanish Harlem, then moved to Brooklyn at the age of 7. He came to Baldwin with his wife, Inge, and son, Hannibal, in 1994. He said he chose Baldwin because of his safety – he wanted to be a major. influence in the life of his son, “instead of the street”. His wife, he said, fell in love with Baldwin because he had the space she needed to raise a family.
“One thing I love about Baldwin is that it’s a very mixed community. . . and [people] are respectful. I don’t know what people do with their family and friends, but in public they are very respectful, ”said Miles.
Miles wasted no time in starting his social and community work. In 1996, he and his family attended a Baldwin Oaks Civic Halloween party, fell in love with the organization, and joined it. One of his first projects was to fight for Coes Neck Park to be rehabilitated with new basketball courts.
This was not surprising, as Miles had a proven track record of social activism in Brooklyn. In 1993, Miles received the Hakim Subir Humanitarian Award for Distinguished Community Service for organizing community youth and staging the first Summer Olympics at Parade Ground Park in Brooklyn.
In 2015, in honor of Black History Month in February, he received a citation from New York City in honor of African American business. As part of “Black Businesses in Brooklyn: Legacy and Longevity,” Miles was recognized for 30 years of continuous activity, dedication and involvement in the downtown business community.
Miles started GoGreen Inc. in Brooklyn in 2006. GoGreen Inc. is a non-toxic commercial and residential cleaning service, with a green product retail store, that “educates businesses and neighborhood residents about health issues. related to cleaning and personal care ”, and Miles has even created his own line of green cleaning products.
Miles uses his keen sense of business networking in his community organization. “He’s always the person to find the right link for the issues,” said Yasminda Lowe, 47, a board member of the Baldwin Oaks Civic Association. She added that Miles was the one who encouraged her to join the association three years ago.
In addition to the beautification projects, Miles has also leveraged his connections and networks outside the organization to advocate for residents. He was instrumental in advocating against the relocation of the first Nassau County Police Department station next to Baldwin High School and the establishment of a Molloy College facility in Coes Neck which would have increased traffic. vehicles and pedestrians. He also fought efforts to abolish Health District No. 2 by community referendum.
Miles, however, also ventured out on his own, using his money, time, and physical effort to provide and install Christmas decorations in the Fairview Mall neighborhood and plant aquatic flowers at the corners of Village Avenue, School Drive, and Grand. Avenue. “I just do it – that easy. If I see garbage in the street, I’ll go sweep it up, ”he said.
He gets involved in these personal projects, in part because he finds that the Baldwin Oaks Civic Association has struggled to attract volunteers from the community. “It is difficult to make them realize that it is their effort that will maintain the quality of life, house prices on the rise, and that it is their vigilance that will reduce crime,” he said. declared.
However, he understands that people are busy and put their jobs, careers and families first. Miles served as chairman of the Baldwin Oaks Civic Association Sanitation Committee for 19 years, before becoming vice chairman in 2017. As chairman of sanitation, he was in charge of surveying streets, housing zombies and code violations. He didn’t apply for the presidency, he said, because he doesn’t have the bandwidth between his family, his business and volunteering.
Lowe said she believed Miles’ responsibilities as a business owner and family man made his job all the more remarkable, saying: “Even though he’s not the president, Wayne has acted as such on several occasions. “
Miles acknowledged that social media has helped recruit members. Nonetheless, he said, “Covid has presented a greater challenge as people are afraid to go out and engage.”
Speaking of Miles, Prevost said, “At the height of the pandemic, he led the Baldwin Oaks Civic Association on many improvement projects and continues to work on behalf of the organization and the community.”
The civic group has been active for over 40 years and shows no signs of slowing down. The Baldwin Oaks Civic Association is “an organization on the move,” said Miles. He has seen improvements in home maintenance, renovations and values since moving to the community 17 years ago, but he has recently seen an increasing number of vehicles parked on local streets, and it’s a problem he wants to solve.
Miles listed future plans, including beautifying areas in North Baldwin, installing a “Welcome to Baldwin Oaks” sign, adding Southern State Parkway overpass guardrails for the protection of schoolchildren and participation in the equitable distribution of funds for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
“[Wayne Miles] has an unwavering passion for improving the value and safety of his city and won’t stop until the job is done right, ”his son, Dr. Hannibal Miles, 31, told the Herald. “He understands and tackles the issues facing many in his community head-on, making Baldwin a better and more beautiful place to live. “