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Patchogue mayor’s to-do list includes attracting young families

Downtown Patchogue Village as seen on July 18,

Downtown Patchogue Village as seen on July 18, 2017. Credit: Michael Cusanelli

Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri is focused this year on a $4.7 million Shorefront Park restoration project and curbing parking woes in the popular downtown area.

The projects are part of a broader plan the mayor envisions to address issues in the growing community and make it an attractive place not just for people going out for the night, but also for young families looking for homes.

“The goal is to have a young community and to have young families move into the village,” Pontieri said.

The mayor said he hopes to get a $4 to $6 million parking garage built this year at a location to be selected.

“Patchogue now has a huge outside population coming in,” Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger said. “On a busy Friday or Saturday night, we’re near capacity. People are learning if you want to park on the weekends, you may have to walk a bit.”

The Shorefront Park project, now in the planning and design stages, includes replacing the bulkheading with an open shoreline to reduce flooding and allow a natural flow of water, village officials said. Funding would come from $2.7 million in state grants and the remaining $2 million from a private donation the village received two years ago, officials said.

The project is projected to start in 2019 once construction bids have been awarded and permits issued from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Army Corps of Engineers.

Pontieri’s 2018 to-do list also includes using a $1.3 million federal grant to repave Oak Street, a busy thoroughfare connecting North Ocean Avenue and Route 112, with access to the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts and shops.

Completing a feasibility study to expand the village’s wastewater treatment plant to process 1.2 million gallons of sewage daily is another item on the list. Work on the roughly $6 million project wouldn’t start until 2019, the mayor said.

Pontieri attributed the long list of projects to the village’s growth from a sleepy area with boarded-up storefronts to a vibrant restaurant- and bar-filled attraction.

“Many unintended consequences are part of what happens with growth,” he said, even if the changes have increased visitors and improved home values.

Working with Suffolk County’s Coastal Resiliency Water Quality initiative remains a priority, Pontieri said. In the program to extend sewer connections to 12,000 South Shore homes, Patchogue is to receive $18 million in federal and state grants to connect 600 homes to sewers.

And he wants to continue working with the Suffolk County Police Department to crack down on panhandling in the downtown area.

Village officials adopted a panhandling code in October banning aggressive solicitation such as making physical contact or blocking a person after they’ve declined a request.

Pontieri’s quality-of-life work for the coming year to make Patchogue a desirable place to live also includes addressing homelessness, promoting the village as a walkable community and identifying locations that could be added to the state’s historic registry.

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