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Historic trail, apartments among proposals for downtown Central Islip 

Maria Esteban casts her vote for a proposed

Maria Esteban casts her vote for a proposed project at a Central Islip public forum Monday. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Central Islip’s new downtown could include a historical trail, mixed-use apartment buildings and revamped senior and recreation centers if approved by  those charged with revitalizing the area.

Officials unveiled about a dozen proposals at a community meeting Monday to improve the Carleton Avenue corridor with about $9.7 million in expected state funding and asked residents to vote on which projects to pursue.

A local planning committee will decide next month which proposals to include, officials said.

The proposals call for nearly $30 million in total investment in Central Islip, including in new housing, office space and sewers. Applicants have to pay for the majority of their projects, and state funding would cover only a portion of their expected costs, said Jee Mee Kim, of consulting firm HR&A Advisors Inc.  

Islip Town officials submitted the most proposals – five – including the most expensive one: converting the former Long Island Rail Road station into retail and community space and mixed-income apartments for more than $10 million. They also proposed spending up to $3 million in streetscape improvements and up to $6 million for a Suffolk County sewer connection. Renovations to the senior and recreation center would total about $2.25 million.

The Smith Street gateway would get traffic improvements, including a right turn lane and a sidewalk, for about $100,000, under a proposal by the Suffolk County Water Authority.

The Central Islip Civic Council would create a 5-mile walking trail around 25 historical sites for $25,000. The Episcopal Church of the Messiah would develop a community center for more than $1 million.

Business and property owners could also apply for grants to rehabilitate their buildings under a proposal by the Islip Town Community Development Agency.

Other proposals include a $3.9 million medical education center with urgent care, doctor offices, a children’s education facility and proposed art gallery and library and a $3.5 million mixed-use development of retail, offices and apartments.  

About seven other proposals were either not complete or were not eligible for state funding, Kim said.

Residents questioned why so many of the proposals included apartments when the school district is already overcrowded and whether the state would also fund new school buildings to keep up with an increasing population.

“It kind of feels like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Leigh-Ann Barde Romain, a 33-year-old mom.

Kieem Johnson, 26, said that, while he liked most of the proposals, he is concerned that millennials are “going to feel left out” because they do not have the funds to submit their own projects. There also need to be more places to “entertain and retain” them in the community, he said.

“My friends aren’t coming back because there’s not much for them to do,” said Johnson, who works at a construction company and grew up in Central Islip.

The planning committee will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday at town hall to discuss the proposals.


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