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Babylon OKs $11 million for Wyandanch redevelopment

The town of Babylon has approved $11 million in bonds for property acquisition in Wyandanch as part of its plans for downtown redevelopment.

The bonds, approved during Tuesday's town board meeting, include $8 million previously approved for property acquisition as part of the "Wyandanch Rising" revitalization. That money was part of $15.5 million spent on 19 properties in Wyandanch. The additional $3 million approved Tuesday will go toward new property purchases. The town said it could not say which properties would be purchased or if they would be acquired through eminent domain.

Of the 19 properties already acquired, four were taken through eminent domain, for $4.2 million, the town said. In April, the town approved adding two properties to its acquisitions list. The town had previously identified 76 properties on a "Taking Map" of possible appropriations.

Also on Tuesday, the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for more transparency in government, released a list of Federal Transportation Administration-approved earmarks that were not used and have now lapsed. On that list was $922,944 designated in a 2007 earmark for an intermodal facility at the LIRR station in downtown Wyandanch that is part of the redevelopment. The facility - which would include a parking garage and allow access from buses, bicyclists and pedestrians - is estimated to cost $45 million.

Suffolk County had said Babylon failed to meet the deadline for the FTA money, but town spokesman Tim Ruggeri said the project was not far enough along at the time and that the FTA had recommended the town bypass the 2007 funds. Ruggeri said the money was part of a five-year stream of funding through the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. The town will be using the 2008 and 2009 portion of the funding for the planning of the intermodal facility, Ruggeri said. He said the town is currently doing a required environmental review.

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