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Long Island

Ronkonkoma eyed as gateway to East End

On your way to eastern Long Island -- newly minted by developers as ELI -- you could swing by the Ronkonkoma hub to sing at a piano bar, or have a pint of ale at a Blue Point microbrewery.

That's the vision of development officials who want to make the Ronkonkoma train station a destination as well as a gateway to what they've dubbed ELI.

In a presentation to the Brookhaven town board at Thursday's work session, TRITEC Real Estate Company officials said they wanted the Ronkonkoma hub to serve as a grand entry to eastern Long Island, with entertainment options at the station featuring the best of local flavors and talents.

"What we're talking about is the terminal as a portal to [eastern] Long Island," Robert Loscalzo, chief operating officer of East Setauket-based TRITEC, said at the presentation.

He even unveiled a decal for ELI, in the style of the ubiquitous white oval destination stickers for cars.

The hub project is a proposed $350 million redevelopment of the Ronkonkoma train station and 50 surrounding acres into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use district. A cooperative effort between Brookhaven and Islip, officials hope to link the train station to nearby Long Island MacArthur Airport.

TRITEC was recently announced as the project's master developer, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently allocated $4 million to fund the design phase of a crucial sewage treatment plant for the hub. Other goals are to stimulate development of educational and commercial opportunities in the area.

At Tuesday's board meeting, town Supervisor Mark Lesko plans to introduce a memo of agreement with TRITEC as the first step to formalizing their role as master developer on the hub.

Lesko is also expected to submit a resolution to appoint Southampton Comptroller Tamara Wright as the town's new finance commissioner, with a vote by the board to follow.


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