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Suffolk lawmakers to weigh $7.5M in economic development funding

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone with Islip Town

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone with Islip Town Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, left, and Supervisor Angie Carpenter to promote a new international customs facility at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

Suffolk lawmakers will consider Wednesday approving $7.5 million in economic development projects, including an additional $1.25 million to Long Island MacArthur Airport for a new international customs facility and $1.5 million for improvements at the Ronkonkoma Hub project.

County Executive Steve Bellone said the proposed spending would help keep young people on Long Island.

A legislative committee will consider the projects Wednesday. If approved, the full legislature will vote on them Dec. 20.

“Our best play in the region is to use the assets we have in downtowns near train stations,” Bellone said surrounded by local officials at an airport news conference.

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said the county funding for the customs facility, if approved, would be added to $11 million in grants from the state, county and town. The project would cost $12 million to $18 million, officials said.

“A customs facility keeps our airport vibrant and successful in the future,” she said.

Ronkonkoma Hub developer Tritec plans to break ground in the first three months of 2017 on the project with 1,450 rental units, office and retail space.

The $1.5 million would be used to move utilities in the road and create pedestrian access between the mixed-use project and airport.

Other proposed spending includes:

  • $1.6 million for the relocation of the Blue Point Brewery to Briarcliffe College. The brewery, owned by Anheuser-Busch, is increasing capacity from 8,000 barrels per day to 75,000.
  • $250,000 for an upgrade of the Port Jefferson Long Island Rail Road plaza, including improved lighting, sidewalks and trees.
  • $1.25 million to study the feasibility of sewer infrastructure in Huntington Station.
  • $1.25 million to the town of Babylon for the Long Island Music Hall of Fame to move into Wyandanch Village.
  • $200,000 for a bike lane and wider sidewalks in the village of Lindenhurst.
  • $200,000 for parking and economic impact studies in downtown Kings Park.
  • $25,000 for Mattituck and Greenport traffic studies.

Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said the county is also going to propose reducing debt in the pipeline by $27.6 million, through old projects coming in under budget or being canceled.

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