A long awaited $6 million project to revamp Manorhaven Boulevard, delayed by opposition to tree removal and then the pandemic, is underway as local officials hope upgrades will attract new businesses and visitors to the village.
Nassau County Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), who represents Manorhaven, held a ribbon cutting on Dec. 6 to celebrate the start of work on Manorhaven’s main street. The upgrades include repaving the mile-long road as well as Manorhaven Village’s municipal parking lot, new crosswalks, traffic signals, bus shelters, trash cans and decorative street lamps.
Since the village is a hot spot in summer, DeRiggi-Whitton said she’s hoping most of the changes will be completed by spring with some touch ups in the fall.
"We’re really trying to polish up this gem," DeRiggi-Whitton told Newsday on Wednesday. "It could have such potential to be a destination spot."
Local officials are counting on the upgrades to attract new businesses and help increase traffic to the village, which according to 2020 census data is home to just shy of 7,000 people.
KokoShen Li, owner of newly opened OneMore Cakes & Bakes bakery on Manorhaven Boulevard, said the upgrades are needed to enhance the village’s business district. She noted that the area is "relatively quiet" for retail activity and said more businesses would help drive foot traffic.
"If we have more retail businesses [in the area], it would definitely be helpful, so people don’t feel like we’re out of the way because they can shop for more than one thing," Li said.
State Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Manorhaven), who has lived in the village for close to a decade, said people may often overlook the village when traveling to the Manhasset Bay Marina or Manorhaven Beach Park and Pool, but said the changes will make the village more attractive for visitors.
"I really hope that after this project is complete, visitors that come through our village will fall in love with it, and it’s waterfront charm, just as I have," Sillitti said. "You won’t just drive through to get to your destination, but maybe stay awhile."
Officials noted that because Manorhaven Boulevard floods easily during heavy rain, workers would clean existing pipes and install new drainage, including curbs and gutters.
"That part of the project, while not the pretty part, is a very necessary and important part," Sillitti said.
Village of Manorhaven Mayor Jim Avena also praised the project.
"This is such a great accomplishment, we cannot wait to see the final product next year," Avena said in a statement. "We’re certain that the ‘new’ Manorhaven Boulevard will attract more businesses into our village."
The initiative, which DeRiggi-Whitton said has been in the works for more than five years, was delayed by the pandemic and after officials had to alter original plans that called for the removal of 90 trees, after hearing opposition from local residents. In the latest plan, officials said only five trees, which are diseased, will be removed out of the originally planned 90 trees.
"We redid the plan to save all the oak trees," DeRiggi-Whitton said. "It’s the perfect scenario. You get the natural beauty from the beach and the trees."