New revitalizing grants for three hamlets

Senator Lee Zeldin and Brookhaven lawmakers announced new

Senator Lee Zeldin and Brookhaven lawmakers announced new grants they say are key to revitalizing the Shirley, Mastic, and Mastic Beach communities. Flanking Zelden are, left, Legs. Kate Browning, Brookhaven Town councilman Dan Panico and Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine. (March 2, 2013) (Credit: Newsday / Ed Betz)

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Brookhaven lawmakers announced Saturday new state grants they say will be key to revitalizing the Shirley, Mastic and Mastic Beach communities.

State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who helped launch the Tri-Hamlet Renaissance Project last year with local lawmakers, said during a community forum at William Floyd High School that the three communities would get $2 million in new funding: $1.3 million toward the construction of a sewage treatment plant at Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley, $500,000 for a Nitrex nitrogen removal system for the village of Mastic Beach, and $50,000 toward road attraction signs to be placed along Sunrise Highway and the Long Island Expressway, for example.

Three grants of $50,000 each will fund capital improvements for Legion Fields and Bayview Park, both in Mastic Beach, and Airport Field in Shirley.

Lawmakers said there is no sewage treatment plant in the tri-hamlet community, which has meant that many businesses operating with cesspools have been stifled by health codes and must seat fewer customers than preferred.

"It's been hard for a lot of the businesses along main streets," Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said.

The construction of a new sewage treatment plant is still a ways off. It requires more funding, said Zeldin, who called the $1.3 million an important first step.

"This community is coming out of the starting gate in regards to obtaining sewer infrastructure," Zeldin said. "It has been talked about for decades but never made a reality."

Zeldin said he hopes the sewage treatment plant, in the early design stage, will allow full connectivity for businesses and residents within its reach.

Bob Vecchio, board president of the William Floyd School District, said the plant will attract more commercial businesses, which is particularly important since area development is lacking. Last year, lawmakers issued a report detailing key improvements needed to change the area's reputation as "undesirable." A sewage treatment plant was among the recommendations.

Vecchio said the community "has been rebuilding slowly but surely" for several years.

But the new funding has the community poised for a comeback, officials said. "The stars are aligned in a way they haven't been for decades," Zeldin said.

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