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Patchogue theater renovation among mayor’s goals

Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri watches on Tuesday, Jan.

Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri watches on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, as workers begin renovating the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Mayor Paul Pontieri envisions Patchogue as a booming regional attraction known for a downtown that draws A-list entertainers and Broadway-type theater performances and is anchored with a handsome hotel.

Already underway is a $1 million renovation project to replace seats and repair the roof at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. That work began on Monday and tops the mayor’s list of goals he wants to see fulfilled in the village this year.

The theater is replacing its old seats. There will be 1,049 seats, down from 1,089 because the theater is adding handicap accessible seats. While the lobby of the theater remains open, the theater season begins April 2.

“The theater is critical to the village’s success,” Pontieri said in an interview this week. “They give us a tremendous amount of credibility as an entertainment center.”

He said more than 150,000 people visited the theater last year, many of whom also supported downtown businesses such as restaurants and bars before and after shows.

Patchogue has had strong growth in recent years, with more than 700 apartments constructed downtown that have brought in new residents, artists and visitors from around the region. The construction has allowed the village to rebrand itself as the “new Patchogue.”

As the village has changed, Pontieri says the Emporium night club has become a go-to place for music performances. On Saturday, rap star 50 Cent held an album release party there, an event that would have been unthinkable years ago.

The venue has also hosted other A-list entertainers in the past year, including hip-hop artists Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg, and singer Trey Songz.

“It gives Patchogue that cool factor among young people,” said David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce.

Looking at his goals for the coming year, Pontieri said a $2.5 million project to install drainage and sewer lines to 55 homes on River Avenue in South Patchogue should be completed in September. The project was his main goal for 2015.

“All of those homes will be hooked up and ready to go,” the mayor said, noting the village has received $1.4 million from the Regional Economic Development Councils for the project.

Continuing to make Patchogue more family-oriented also tops the mayor’s goals. That will include finishing a master plan to improve village parks by refurbishing playground equipment, and adding new ball fields and tennis courts.

These projects will be funded by a private $5 million donation, he said. The village started on that project last year.

“You spend a tremendous amount of time planning because you want to do it right,” he said.

Repairing the 35 miles of streets throughout the village is also a priority.

Last year, the village spent $1.2 million paving 25 percent of the municipal roads. The mayor said 60 percent of the roads have been paved in the past seven years.

The village is in good financial condition with a roughly $3.6 million surplus.

As he looks ahead, Pontieri wants to have a hotel built downtown to give visitors a place to stay after watching a show at the theater or after a night partying at the Emporium. He said the national coffee maker Starbucks has contacted the village about the possibility of opening a business in the village.

Patchogue mayor’s goals for 2016

  • Refurbish Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts
  • Attract Starbucks to the downtown area
  • Encourage construction of a hotel downtown
  • Continue growth of restaurants and nightclubs
  • Repair village streets and install sewer lines to homes in South Patchogue

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