Work began Wednesday on two vacant, blighted homes on an otherwise well-kept Central Islip street that will later be sold as affordable housing, local officials announced.
The two foreclosed properties on Magnolia Street — a tree-lined residential stretch with lush, colorful vegetation — will be treated to more than $100,000 in renovations, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news conference outside one of the homes.
Bellone said “the high rate of foreclosure” in Suffolk has “threatened” the home ownership dream for many families. Citing RealtyTrac statistics, Bellone said one out of every 333 homes in Central Islip is in foreclosure, compared to 1 in every 605 homes throughout the rest of the county.
“These vacant properties detract from area property values, creating eyesores and attracting crime,” Bellone said.
With funding from state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office, the houses were purchased by the Suffolk County Landbank as part of its Acquire and Renovate Bank Owned Residences (ARBOR) program.
With the help of Long Island Housing Partnership and Community Development Corp. of Long Island, they will be sold to new home buyers who fall within the area’s median income at 80 percent or below.
Daniel Walsh, 70, a retired Pathmark meat cutter, moved from his hometown of Brooklyn 42 years ago and settled across the road from one of the dilapidated houses. He said he looks forward to having new neighbors join their tight-knit community, which includes a neighborhood watch.
“Central Islip gets a bad rep, but this is really an excellent place to live. A few original home owners are still living on this block,” said Walsh, who lives there with his wife and son. “I’m just glad they’re taking care of these homes now. They’re definitely an eyesore.”
Suffolk Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) said the renovations signaled a part of Central Islip’s “renewal” as it fights to take back the community from gang issues.
“It’s almost symbolic of the rebuilding of the Central Islip community, which we’re all invested in and has begun,” Cilmi said.
Since 2015, five homes have been renovated and a sixth redeveloped under the Landbank program in Sound Beach, Mastic, Lake Ronkonkoma and Copiague.
Construction on the Central Islip homes is expected to take about eight weeks. An announcement for applications will be made a later date, a Bellone spokesman said.
For more information on the program, visit cdcli.org or call 631-471-1215.