Long Island leaders on Friday announced grants totaling $200,000 for revitalization of downtown Copiague, an area town consultants once described as “desolate.”
The grants, for $100,000 each from Suffolk County and New York State, will bring high-visibility crosswalks, facade renovations and other streetscape improvements to the hamlet over the next year.
“We recognize the importance of investing in our downtown communities,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville). He stood with officials, including County Executive Steve Bellone, Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, Deputy Supervisor Antonio Martinez and Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon), in a downtown parking lot.
Town officials this year rezoned a 31-acre section of downtown Copiague around Great Neck Road and the Long Island Rail Road Copiague station to permit higher and denser building, in a bid to attract private developers and remake an area now dominated by low-slung commercial buildings.
The only major project so far under the rezoning — a 90-unit apartment complex with 71 affordable housing units called Copiague Commons — is slated to open in early 2017. Town officials said Friday they were in early talks with another developer that has expressed interest in the area.
Some neighbors have criticized plans they say will increase congestion, but Martinez said public opinion favors revitalization efforts.
“The buy-in exists” from residents and business owners, he said.