The company developing a master plan for Lindenhurst has revealed a rough draft of suggestions for the village to improve its downtown.
Frank Wefering, director of sustainability for Babylon-based Greenman-Pedersen Inc., made a presentation of the suggestions at a recent village work session. The company, which this summer completed a walkability study for the village, is being paid $80,000 to develop a master plan.
The plan is to be used as a guide to help the village as it continues to try to resurrect a lagging downtown. In their work, Greenman-Pedersen is using the components of transportation, parking and land use with three goals: revitalize the downtown, improve linkages and promote traffic and pedestrian safety.
The company held a public “vision building” workshop in May and conducted an online survey from May to August that received 1,115 responses, Wefering said.
Participants gave the downtown a rating of 2.66 out of five stars, he said. Asked for the three words that best capture the downtown they want to see in 2030 to 2035, residents listed retail, restaurants and walkable.
Residents said they go to Babylon Village, Farmingdale and Bay Shore to get services, which Wefering said shows that “money is leaving the village.”
Based on the responses, Greenman-Pedersen is suggesting the village encourage, perhaps through tax incentives, the establishment of more restaurants and retail stores, particularly “interesting” businesses.
“People want niche stores, they want something unique to go to,” Wefering said. They also want more “family-oriented” businesses, he added.
“Breweries are great,” Wefering said, noting he feels residents are not against them. “But especially families need more stuff for kids to do and to do as a family.”
A brewery recently opened in Lindenhurst and another is due to move in next year.
Greenman-Pedersen also recommends the village create a theme of “healthy and sustainable,” with “green and healthy” stores, to create something that businesses will want to be a part of as a movement. The village should seek mixed-use and transit-oriented development at the shuttered Waldbaum's grocery store site, the company suggests, and increase density around the train station and on Wellwood Avenue.
The draft recommendations also include developing bicycle infrastructure, installing car charging stations, creating a village shuttle and improving parking without building more spaces.
“It did, for the first time in our village’s history, present a comprehensive plan of what might be versus what we have,” Mayor Mike Lavorata said of Greenman-Pedersen's recommendations. “Now that the map is there for us, at least we’ve got a place to look and say ‘here’s a suggestion’, even if we modify that suggestion.”
Lavorata said village officials will have to prioritize whichever tasks they decide to tackle, but traffic calming measures are at the top of the list.
“As we’re going to try to have more people in the downtown area, my concern is safety,” he said. “Whatever can be done, like lighting a crosswalk, to be a walkable downtown, those are the things that I think we want to do in the immediate future.”
Wefering said the draft recommendations will be presented to the public in January.
Some of the results from the Lindenhurst survey:
How Often Do You Visit the Downtown?
Multiple times a week 33%
Once a week 26%
Once a month 19%
Positive Qualities about living/working downtown
Percentage who said they strongly agree
Community Facilities — schools, libraries, etc. 32%
Attachment to the Community 24%
Percentage who said they strongly disagree
Downtown Character 18%