The stretches of pavement and concrete around the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station could be transformed into an archipelago of green spaces and tree-lined streets under a new revitalization proposal.
After more than a decade of meetings and concept plans for transit-oriented development in downtown Hicksville, 23 potential projects totaling more than $230 million in public and private funds are vying for a piece of a $10 million state grant or inclusion in the overall vision.
The thrust of the recommendations presented last week at the Hicksville Community Center by consultants HKS Architects PC was to focus on projects that would create open space, foster mixed-use development and ease traffic congestion. The presentation was made at the fourth meeting of the local planning committee, which will decide how to spend the grant.
Cecil Bakalor, an urban designer at HKS Architects said the main goal of public investment in infrastructure should be to create a “downtown Hicksville with a sense of place, make it an attraction, make it somewhere where both people and developers are interested.”
The proposed open spaces include a railroad station plaza, “festival plaza” and expanded John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. The centerpiece of mixed use development would be a re-imagined West Barclay Street with street level retail shops topped with apartments and parking garages behind them — adding about 500,000 square feet of new development.
The biggest single project would be four parking garages totaling $106 million in funding from the town, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and private sources.
Among the 23 potential projects were eight submitted to Oyster Bay Town officials last month by private companies seeking a portion of the grant. James McCaffrey, the town’s deputy commissioner of economic development, said at last Thursday’s meeting that two proposals deserved further consideration: a $40 million mixed-use development called 99 Hicksville Station Plaza that would have 200 apartments built above retail stores on Newbridge Road, and the expansion of a Lutheran school and day care facility.
Lionel Chitty, executive director of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce and a revitalization planning committee member, said he wanted to give business owners another opportunity to submit proposals to the town.
Some of the approximately 150 people who attended the meeting raised concerns about development impacts on traffic and parking.
“The Long Island Rail Road parking situation is not getting any better, in fact it’s going to get worse,” Eileen Supran, 51, an office designer from Plainview said during the public comment portion of the meeting. Supran said she was concerned about the impact of additional apartments.
“You’re . . . adding more people who will have cars to this area and have to put their car somewhere,” she said.
The next planning committee meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15.