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17 LI downtown areas vie for $10M state grant 

Westbury won a state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant

Westbury won a state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant in 2016. Among the new construction was this apartment building, seen on June 26, 2017. Photo Credit: Uli Seit

Seventeen downtowns on Long Island will vie for a $10 million state grant to support their redevelopment plans, state officials said.

The fourth round of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative attracted fewer applicants in Nassau and Suffolk counties than previously. Last year, a record 23 applications were received, up from 21 in 2017 and 20 in 2016.

Statewide, 94 applications were received, down from 105 last year.

“Vibrant downtowns are a critical part of economic development — and the DRI leverages a proven combination of strategic planning, dedicated funding and local input to reinvigorate communities,” Cara Longworth, Long Island regional director for Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, said Tuesday.

She also serves as executive director of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, a state panel of local leaders that will recommend one of the applicants to Albany for the 2019 grant. The recommendation is due July 12.

Applicants will be judged on eight factors including the compactness of the downtown area, future job growth, proximity to housing and strategy for redevelopment.

Central Islip won last year, Hicksville in 2017 and Westbury in 2016.

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter has said the town plans to utilize the grant funds to refurbish a roughly 2-mile stretch along the Carleton Avenue corridor, from the Central Islip Long Island Rail Road station south to Smith Street.

"Our community has built a framework for a lively downtown that complements Islip's unique combination and access to public transportation, employment opportunities, visitor amenities and cultural diversity," Carpenter said in August when Cuomo announced the award. "Today's DRI award will make sure our community continues to attract businesses, jobs and families."

This year’s competition consists of eight downtowns in Nassau and nine in Suffolk. The officials did not name the downtowns on Tuesday.

One $10 million grant will be awarded in each of the state’s 10 regions, Cuomo said in April.

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