Smithtown, Kings Park put on IDA's downtown development radar

Main Street in Smithtown. (Feb. 20, 2012) Main Street in Smithtown. (Feb. 20, 2012) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

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Downtown areas in the hamlets of Smithtown and Kings Park will be analyzed for future development as part of a new planning service funded by the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

The IDA, a state public benefit corporation tasked with promoting economic development within Suffolk, last month selected the hamlets and three other municipalities to receive a total of $300,000 in planning services from the Regional Plan Association, an independent urban research and advocacy organization that works in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.

"The IDA has gone into a contract with Regional Plan Association to offer planning services to local municipalities, with one of the goals being helping municipalities further define some of their planning objectives, but also potentially turning those plans into development," said Anthony Manetta, an IDA adviser, who was the agency's former executive director.

Other entities that will receive planning services are the Town of Babylon for a Route 110 corridor study; the Village of Amityville for transit-oriented development in its downtown area; and Suffolk County and Suffolk County Community College for a collaborative innovation zone project that would devise ways to use state resources to bolster local economic development, Manetta said.

Frank DeRubeis, Smithtown town planning director, said the assessment focuses on "the strengths and weaknesses of each of the downtowns" and answers "what type of policies the town should adopt in revitalizing the downtowns."

Manetta said a few things factored into the selection of Smithtown and Kings Park.

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"They have tremendous opportunity in those communities, considering their proximity to the railroad, and the businesses that they have in those communities is a great recipe for success there."

The Regional Plan Association will provide reporting and updates on how each of the conceptual ideas for the projects is going through the fall, Manetta said.

He added that the IDA may "provide project support in terms of incentives to get the project up and going."

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