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Downtown Central Islip revitalization project recipients announced

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, surrounded by local politicians,

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, surrounded by local politicians, walks along Carleton Avenue in Central Islip on Thursday. Credit: James Carbone

Nearly $10 million will be infused into Central Islip to enhance its downtown corridor with new projects that include mixed-use buildings, a sewer system and a historic trail, state officials announced Thursday.

The hamlet will receive $9.7 million in state funding meant to renovate the Carleton Avenue corridor, which encompasses about 11 blocks stretching from Suffolk Avenue south to Smith Street. Central Islip last summer was named the recipient of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s third annual 2018 Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.

Elected officials that included Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) and Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter spoke Thursday from the northern edge of the corridor to announce the new projects.

“Projects like these that we are funding today are an important part of continuing the story of Central Islip, and not just looking back at its storied past, but looking forward to an even better future,” Hochul said.

She also cited a $1.8 million project to convert the old LIRR train station into a mixed-use development that will include affordable apartments meant to keep millennials in the hamlet. The development will also house retail space, a cultural facility and a public plaza, officials said.

Getting young adults to stay in the area, even those who grew up in the hamlet and love it, is “one of the biggest challenges” because the lack of affordable housing, Hochul said.

These projects will be funded with the state grant:

  • A $3 million streetscape enhancement between Suffolk Avenue and Smith Street to improve lighting and signs, and to add trees.
  • A $2 million sewer system will be built between Suffolk and Smith.
  • About $19,000 for a 5-mile hiking and biking trail extending from the Federal Courthouse to the historic Heines Homestead.
  • A $1.3 million mixed-use development at 108 and 110 Carleton Ave.
  • A $985,000 two-floor mixed-use building at 69 and 75 Carleton Ave., which will include a combination of one-bedroom and studio apartments.
  • $600,000 for a commercial property investment fund to attract and retain business owners.

State officials chose which projects would receive funding after working with a 17-person committee co-chaired by Carpenter. The committee met monthly beginning last fall.

Carpenter on Thursday thanked the committee and the public, which participated in community forums to help whittle down potential development proposals. She noted the effort that went into securing the grant.

“It took us three times, three swings at the bat to be successful,” she said. “But it happened, and it happened because the community pulled together.”

Islip’s committee worked with employees of HR&A Advisors Inc., a consulting firm in Manhattan, which was paid $300,000 from grant funds for its work.

MaryAnn Pfeiffer of the nonprofit Youth Enrichment Services, who served on the committee with Carpenter, said she had mixed feelings about the selected projects and hoped for projects that would attract new businesses downtown. She also wanted to see renovations to the community center at Recreation Village and the seniors citizens center included in the projects.

“Decisions were made. We need to rehab the senior center," Pfeiffer said. "Maybe the governor can find more money to help out."

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