Civic Groups Seeking Revitalization Grants

TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, New York, July 3

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

Huntington’s downtowns are looking to level up.

The East Northport Chamber of Commerce, Cold Spring Harbor Main Street Association and Greenlawn Civic Association are three local civic groups that have submitted applications to the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel in hopes of being approved for a Round 12 grant – a funding program that seeks to aid downtowns and business districts with movements to improve the areas.

Eligible applicants must be a local business or community group partnered with a local town or village. Applications were due no later than June 13 and began examination by the panel on June 30, according to Walter Rabe, member of the panel for the last 10 years.

“We’ll start going over the applications and vote on them based on a points system which grades the applications on different categories,” Rabe said. “This year Suffolk has $500,000 to give away to bondable projects in a 10-year plan with interest.”

The first of the bunch is looking to upgrade the pedestrian crosswalk in line with 185 Larkfield Road in East Northport – better known as the public library.

“Over the years that site has seen numerous vehicle and pedestrian accidents,” Sharon Moulton, executive director of the East Northport Chamber of Commerce, said. “What we’re proposing are new signs and posts equipped with pedestrian push buttons that activate lights to attract the attention of motorists.”

This type of crosswalk has already seen implementation in places like Greenport, Moulton said, and has successfully shown an 80 to 90 percent increase in compliance with motorists stopping for crossing pedestrians.

Moulton also mentioned extending the curbs of the road outwards so that the length of the crosswalk is shortened, making a crossing pedestrian more obvious.

Moulton said the project is expected to cost around $50,000, which would be supplied by Suffolk County, should the grant application be approved.

Next up is Cold Spring Harbor, which, like East Northport, also hopes to make walking downtown an easier task by sprucing up 25A.

The Main Street Association is hoping to implement “400 feet of sidewalk that would interconnect the east and west sides of [the] community,” according to the application submitted by Tom Hogan, member of the hamlet’s Main Street Association.

Plans call for that stretch of sidewalk — which reaches from around the Seafarer’s boat launch and the downtown business district — to be graced by historic style streetlights, which would be installed on the newly-proposed, and existing, sidewalk of Main Street.

“What we’re seeking to do is address the need for better ‘walkability’ so that we can link our business community, park and waterfront in one pedestrian walkway,” Hogan said. “Right now it’s a struggle to walk that  400 feet: A) it’s unattractive and B) it’s unsafe.”

The project would cost around $100,000 should the application be approved by the county.

Finally, the Greenlawn Civic Association, headed up by its president, Brian Hackett, is hoping to continue its street-scaping projects along Broadway Greenlawn by installing new sidewalks and streetlights.

“We want to make the town more walkable and safer,” Hackett said. “We’re also trying to improve safety on Broadway itself and make it better for shopping.”

The project, seeking to improve the east side of Broadway across the street from the Harborfields Library, would cost between $50,000 and $70,000, according to Hackett.

With about 22 other organizations applying for grants, though, the application process may be a long one for the three Huntington groups, as only about half of the applicants are granted money, according to Rabe. Then, even when an application is accepted, the panel is allowed to pick and choose certain parts of the application to approve and disapprove in a system that has “worked pretty well,” according to Rabe, for the last 12 years since its conception.

The process of evaluation should take a month and a half, so applicants can expect a response sometime in mid-August.

Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander (Thursday, July 3, 2014;  A15)

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