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Firms make pitches to revitalize Wyandanch

The Town of Babylon Tuesday heard pitches from eight firms jockeying to be hired to design the town's expansive Wyandanch revitalization.

The design firms, chosen from 12 that submitted proposals, made 45-minute presentations to a selection committee consisting of various town officials, including Supervisor Steve Bellone and city planning consultant Jeff Speck, who was hired last year.

In their presentations, the firms touted their experience and, in most cases, spoke in generalities of how their methods could gel with the "Wyandanch Rising" redevelopment plan the town has been working on for more than five years. The revitalization plan is centered on the area around the LIRR station and includes plazas and mixed-use buildings for retail and residential development.

This year, Wyandanch was chosen as one of three "Spotlight Communities" by the state as part of a new initiative to support brownfields redevelopment. The town received nearly $1.5 million and the design firm will be hired from these funds, Bellone said. The firms' proposed fees range from $400,000 to $800,000, he said.

Many of the design teams assembled praised the town for its detailed planning. But the firms, which contained architectural, law, retail and housing specialists, also stressed that any design going forward would need to be flexible.

"We're OK with flexibility to a point," Bellone said afterward. "What we're going to demand is that there be great attention to the design of buildings and architecture and plazas and parks and to make sure that these public spaces are the best they can be."

At least one firm questioned mixed-use development, stating that it had not been successfully implemented locally. But Bellone remained adamant that such development, in some form, would remain part of the design.

Bellone said the committee will make a hire recommendation by Dec. 28 and it will go before the town board for a vote at the 10:30 a.m. Dec. 29 meeting.

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