A newly awarded $1.7 million state grant is expected to help Westhampton Beach officials pay for the construction of a long-awaited sewer project that village and local business groups hope will be an economic generator for the village.
Westhampton Beach was one of more than 180 communities across New York State that received more than $146 million in grants for water structure improvements, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday. The state Environmental Facilities Corp. awarded the village the grant through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, which helps provide grants to local municipalities to help them pay for water-quality infrastructure for both drinking water and sewage treatment projects.
Village Mayor Maria Moore said the grant will help pay for construction costs related to the sewer project, which is projected to cost between $13 million and $14 million.
The project will connect the village’s Main Street business district and two condominium complexes to Suffolk County’s wastewater treatment plant at Gabreski Airport. Once completed, the sewers are projected to eliminate about 5,000 pounds of nitrogen that enter village waterways, according to a village-commissioned study. In addition, the sewers would help the village meet the county’s sanitary code requirements — which restrict development in the area due to a lack of sewers — and clear the way for more apartments over stores, restaurants and a small boutique hotel.
Moore said the new development “will certainly entice people to come to the village to come and eat and stay over.”
The village expects to place the sewer project out to bid this spring and start construction in late fall. Construction is expected to last up to 18 months, and Moore said it is expected to be “less intrusive” than the ongoing multimillion-dollar Main Street improvement project.
Ari Goodman, president of the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that the chamber envisions the sewer project being an asset that will generate more business for local merchants and the village.
“It will help bring more people into the area because there will be more places to stay, more restaurants and that, in turn, will not only help the restaurants, but people will come into town and help all the businesses in town,” Goodman said. “So, we feel it’s a ‘win-win’ for everybody.”