Huntington Station Pedestrian Plaza, proposed in 2003 to help re-energize the area around Olive Street and New York Avenue, is an idea whose time has finally come.
Construction of the plaza began about three weeks ago and is expected to be 90 percent complete by mid-October, town officials said. The idea for a plaza has been around for nine years, when the town Economic Development Corporation was first formed.
"A lot of people will say, 'Why did it take so long?' " said Joan Cergol, EDC's executive director. "But this is how it works: You come up with ideas, you meet with the community, you get the town board to say yea or nay, and then after that you have to go out and hunt for the funding."
The Economic Development Corporation was established by the town board to foster economic development and business opportunities throughout the town.
The 18,000-square-foot plaza will feature benches, game tables and landscaping, and is part of the effort to revitalize the area.
"We wanted to create something that would attract both pedestrians and people in cars to pull in there, and we're hoping to bring businesses to that area that will be complementary to the plaza," Cergol said.
Keith Barrett, president of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District for nine years, said he is pleased to see work on the plaza begin. "I'm very excited to see it coming together, and if it's anything like the artist renderings it's going to be fantastic."
Funding for the approximately $700,000 plaza will come from various federal, county and town sources.
Meanwhile, at 1000 New York Ave., plans are still in flux. The building on the site that had long been considered an eyesore was torn down last year by the town with hopes of replacing it with a 10,800-square-foot mixed-use building. But a potential developer that had expressed interest in the site backed out earlier this year.
The town is now awaiting ideas from the community via its master developer, Renaissance Downtowns, on how to proceed.