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Lindenhurst officials revitalize efforts for first master plan

Officials aiming to revitalize Lindenhurst's downtown area, seen

Officials aiming to revitalize Lindenhurst's downtown area, seen on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, are working to come up with a master plan. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Officials in the Village of Lindenhurst are seeking guidance in their efforts to revitalize the downtown and create the village’s first master plan.

Village officials recently received $40,000 from the state to help form a master plan. They plan to hire a company to identify underutilized properties, improve parking and lighting in the downtown area, and improve storm resiliency for areas south of Montauk Highway.

The village also has received a $200,000 grant from Suffolk County to fund a walkability study. In addition, village officials are reviving a dormant economic development committee to work toward a specific plan for the downtown, which has grappled with vacant storefronts for years.

“There’s been a lot of talk all these years,” Mayor Mike Lavorata said of downtown revitalization efforts. “We’re trying to instead of talk about it, take action.”

The village has never had a master plan, and officials are hoping it will provide specifics on what types of businesses and housing will work in which locations and help them bring together a half dozen studies full of insights and recommendations that have been sparsely implemented, from a “Downtown Business District Analysis” done by Suffolk County in 2000 to a 2015 village-conducted community survey.

A master plan could marshal the data from these studies and provide the village with a guide for moving forward, officials said.

“All of these things have a significant amount of detail to them, so it’s kind of just saying let’s look at this stuff and also try to understand how we can get some large infrastructure money,” said Village Trustee RJ Renna.

The master plan funding is the result of the efforts of the village’s grant writer, Nicole Christian, of HB Solutions LLC in Melville, whom the village hired last year.

Christian called the master plan “critical” because it allows for resident and stakeholder input and provides a “continuous vision” for the village, regardless of future election results or natural disasters. It also tells government agencies the village’s commitment and plans for moving forward at a time when competition for funding has intensified. “Without that master plan it is extremely difficult to get grant funding,” she said.

Village officials are also reviving the economic development committee formed in 2014 that has been inactive since 2016. The new committee will have Renna as chair and include previous members Marian Conway, New York Community Bank Foundation’s executive director, and former Democratic Assemb. Robert Sweeney. New members will include Marguerite Danaher, who owns a financial planning business downtown, and an unnamed member from the village’s business improvement district.

The group, which hopes to begin public meetings in February, has identified a 12-month action timeline centered on five key areas: transportation, housing, downtown branding, pedestrian-friendly improvements and traffic calming.

“Things got off track,” Renna said of the previous group’s efforts. “This committee is setting goals and is focused on moving things forward.”

Downtown do-over

Lindenhurst Village’s downtown includes Wellwood and Hoffman avenues. There are 110 businesses along Wellwood Avenue from Fremont Street to Gates Avenue, of which 14 are vacant. New businesses slated to come into Lindenhurst Village’s downtown this year:

  • Sidelines Café just opened at 43 W. Hoffman Ave.
  • Restaurant/bar at 147 S. Wellwood Ave.
  • Event planner at 132 N. Wellwood Ave.
  • Restaurants at 25 E. Hoffman Ave. and 49 E. Hoffman Ave.
  • 7-Eleven at 194 Montauk Hwy.
  • Village Lanterne expanding at 155 N. Wellwood Ave.

Source: Lindenhurst Village