The Village of Amityville has received an $80,000 grant from Suffolk County for its downtown revitalization efforts.
The village’s Chamber of Commerce was awarded the money and it will be dedicated toward a section of Park Avenue between Greene Avenue and Ireland Place. The grant will go toward road repaving, drainage improvements, lighting, new crosswalks, handicapped-accessible sidewalks and handicapped parking.
“This is big for us,” said village Mayor James Wandell. “This is the last piece of the puzzle. There’s been a great effort to improve Park Avenue.”
Wandell said the infrastructure improvements have been long-needed — the road there has not been repaved since 1992, he said — so the village intended to go forward with the work, but now can do so with less financial strain. The upgrades, he said, will make the area safer and more inviting for pedestrians.
Keith Mainhart, a member of the chamber, said he was happy to see the investment the village is making in that area.
“For millennials it’s all about walkability,” he said. “So if we can attract more of that group to here, it would be great.”
Suffolk County Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) was able to obtain the grant money through the county’s downtown revitalization committee. The committee disbursed $600,000 for 14 projects this year, with Amityville’s award being the second-highest amount. The county gave $104,400 to Patchogue Village for improvements to the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.
“It will mean more people, more eyes on the street, more potential to spend money downtown,” Gregory said of the Amityville improvements.
Wandell said he expects the work to begin in the spring. Park Avenue is a key part of the village’s downtown with 22 businesses in that area, he said, and has been a focus of efforts by the village’s downtown revitalization committee. He said eight new businesses have opened on the street in the past three years.
Warren Cohn, who owns the 106-year-old Amityville Men’s Shop on Park Avenue, said he has seen his sales go up by 35 percent in the past three years. Cohn, who is a member of the downtown revitalization committee, said the infrastructure improvements could bring even more foot traffic to the area.
“The lifeblood of any residential community is tax collection,” he said. “If you remain stagnant, with the legacy costs of keeping up with infrastructure, you’re going to lose. You have got to bring in more people.”