Babylon Town is using a chunk of $450,000 in federal...

Babylon Town is using a chunk of $450,000 in federal pandemic recovery money for a revitalization effort in Deer Park. Pictured is a view along Deer Park Avenue in the hamlet. Community members previously expressed interest in increasing pedestrian safety in this area during meetings focused on revitalization and creating a more defined downtown. Credit: Tom Lambui

Babylon Town is using $450,000 in federal pandemic recovery money toward ongoing revitalization projects in the hamlets of Deer Park and North Babylon, officials said.

The money is part of $27.7 million the town received from the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus bill. The $450,000 is going to the town’s Local Development Corporation, or LDC, which Babylon formed in 1988 to work with businesses to spur economic growth.

The money will be dispersed among a variety of programs but used primarily for a North Babylon facade project and a revitalization effort in Deer Park, according to the LDC’s attorney, Matt McDonough.

The North Babylon facade program will be similar to a previous one in Copiague, McDonough said. That program, started in 2017 and partially funded through grants, improved seven facades.

The grant money through the LDC paid for nearly $194,000 of the work while the businesses invested nearly $505,000, according to LDC chief executive Joseph Ninomiya.

A North Babylon walking tour by town officials and community members helped identify facades that need improvement and similar to Copiague, business owners who apply will pay for a certain percentage of the costs with the federal money covering the rest. That percentage isn't settled yet, officials said.

Before the allocation of the federal money, town officials held community meetings in 2022 and 2023 in Deer Park to discuss ways to revitalize the hamlet and create a more defined downtown. The town hired Northport-based Vision Long Island to provide recommendations and the planning group has submitted a report that will be used in coming up with a plan now that funding is available.

Vision Long Island director Eric Alexander said the group found the Deer Park community was focused on three priorities: getting hooked up to the sewer system, bringing in more businesses and increasing pedestrian safety, especially along busy Deer Park Avenue.

“You have to create a dynamic where there’s not just things you want to walk to but also where you don’t have to take your own life in your hands to cross the street,” he said.

Deer Park civic leader Valerie St. Bernard said she is encouraged by efforts the town is making to beautify and improve areas of the hamlet, including plans to build a museum on Commack Road honoring the history of firefighting and rescue services in the town.

“We’re expecting Deer Park to have a downtown and whole different appearance in the near future,” she added.

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