A Manhattan nonprofit has crafted recommendations to help Lindenhurst Village revitalize its downtown.
Lindenhurst was one of several municipalities that the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency asked the Regional Plan Association to study. The group began evaluating the village last year and last week gave a draft report to the Lindenhurst Economic Development Committee.
The agency discussed the report at a meeting Wednesday and will now hand the report over to the village board, which was expected to accept the findings Tuesday night at a board meeting.
RPA noted that the downtown “feels like different places” on south and north Wellwood Avenues. In addition, RPA stated, the stark empty space under the train viaduct crossing over Hoffman Avenue loses “an engaging and attractive pedestrian experience.” But the report praises the Village Square space and mural that was added last year, and acknowledges the “beautiful street signs.”
Lindenhurst is losing retail sales to surrounding communities, RPA stated, and businesses are “capturing a disproportionately low portion of the overall spending” of village residents. The village also has a disproportionately high share of businesses “that offer little potential” for revitalizing the downtown, such as convenience stores.
Lindenhurst has “tremendous opportunities” to improve the downtown, the report concluded, offering up a priority list. The list includes: redesigning East Hoffman Avenue as a more “pedestrian-friendly corridor for mixed-use development”; consolidating “main street” activity in the northern and southern portions of Wellwood Avenue; and promoting a mixed-use redevelopment of the site where an empty Waldbaum’s sits.
In order to address these suggestions, RPA proposed the village create a new “Downtown District” zoning code to “clearly define and allow multifamily residential and mixed-use development.” RPA stated that front and rear setbacks, building heights and lot coverage rules also be revised to allow for greater density downtown.
Lindenhurst economic development committee member and former state Assemb. Robert Sweeney outlined topics he felt were not addressed in the report, to which the other committee members stated agreement. These are: changing the angle of downtown diagonal parking spaces to increase visibility; more discussion on signage and beautification of the downtown; developing better communication between the village and businesses; and creating a group to help promote activities in the village.
Sweeney also suggested the village do its own parking study, since the RPA report, referring to a Suffolk County parking study from last year, stated there is an “excess” of parking in the village. A survey conducted last year by the village found parking is a top concern for residents who believe more spots are needed for a successful downtown.