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Long IslandNassau

Westbury officials brainstorm on how to use $10M state grant

Westbury Village Hall is seen on Jan. 19,

Westbury Village Hall is seen on Jan. 19, 2017. Credit: Newsday/Christine Chung

Westbury’s downtown could one day be unrecognizable, with big plans in the works to spruce up the neighborhood and revitalize development in the village.

Ideas range from new housing near the train station to colorful public murals and a farmers market, with the village planning committee brainstorming the best uses for the $10 million state grant it received in July.

At a recent outreach meeting, consultants from Brooklyn-based BJH Advisors LLC presented numerous potential projects encompassing the arts, diversity, transit-oriented development and walkability to a crowd of more than 100 people.

Mayor Peter Cavallaro said that the broader goal was to make the village of Westbury more sustainable for current residents and future generations.

“We want Westbury to always be the special place that we think it is,” Cavallaro said. “We have a developed downtown already; it just needs to be redeveloped and reshaped so that it is more attractive to everybody.”

The village is finalizing its ideas to meet the state’s late February deadline for complete plans for the downtown revitalization grant. Westbury is one of 10 communities selected, and the only one on Long Island. A total of $100 million will be disbursed across New York to “improve the urban vitality of city centers, according to the state’s website.

One of village officials’ main priorities is attracting new residents, especially younger ones, by rezoning parts of downtown and developing more housing adjacent to the train station. The neighborhood bordered by Maple and Union avenues has been earmarked for new development, and the village would select a master developer to invest in the area.

Village officials are also planning to significantly boost parking options, possibly by constructing one or more municipal parking lots. As part of its third track project, the Long Island Rail Road has also proposed building a four-story parking deck on the current commuter lot north of the train station.

There are also numerous arts projects prioritized to enhance the village’s cultural profile. The vision is to “make Westbury a destination for arts and culture,” said Julie Lyon, president of the village Arts Council. Empty wall spaces on Post Avenue, Westbury’s main downtown stretch, could be emblazoned with new murals, and in the coming years, village officials said they would also like to see the area house another cultural institution.

The planning commission will convene again in late February.

Cavallaro said the time is nigh for revitalization and that the village is on the right path, solidifying its status as one of the premier downtown neighborhoods in Nassau.

“If we make certain critical investments today, we can really bring us to that next level and really make the community more sustainable and attractive to more young people, old people and everybody who wants to do business here or live here,” he said.

Projects and price tags

More municipal parking lots: $20M

Streetscape improvements on Post Avenue: $5M to $10M

Redeveloping area near Maple and Union avenues: $3M to $4M

Attracting a cultural institution: $3M

Permanent space for village Arts Council: $1M to $2M

Rezoning downtown’s core area: $1M

Launching retail grant or loan program: $500,000

Commissioning and installing public art: $300,000

Creating a farmers market: $30,000


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