Babylon Village's 90-year-old Argyle Falls, a weatherworn landmark in need of refurbishment, is closer to a full makeover thanks to a $100,000 county grant.
Babylon Village officials plan to restore the ornamental falls built in 1929 and have raised money for the in-house work, including $200,000 in June from local philanthropist Theresa Santmann.
The white paint on the man-made falls is chipping and cracking, revealing large black sections. Village workers will scrape off the paint, fill in cracks, repaint it and replace parts of the railing.
“How many countless people have used these falls as a backdrop for their wedding photos and for important moments in their lives and their families’ lives,” County Executive Steve Bellone said during a news conference at the falls Tuesday morning announcing the grant. “It is an iconic landmark in this community . . . it’s a place that has a lot of history.”
In March, Mayor Ralph Scordino estimated the project will cost between $250,000 and $350,000. But in recent months, he said the figure may be as high as $500,000.
The $100,000 grant is considered jumpstart funding, an investment that county officials said they see as beneficial to the whole region, not just the village. The village has applied for additional grants.
“These are the pieces that make up Babylon Village, that make it a type of place where our young people want to stay . . . and other people want to be able to move to and grow our economy and at the end of the day, make Long Island and Suffolk County a better place and more of an attraction,” County Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) said.
Scordino said the “iconic falls” are important to the village because of their placement alongside Montauk Highway, where passersby see the landmark and are motivated to contribute to the village’s economy.