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Suffolk OKs land transfer for Wyandanch Rising

Suffolk County has finalized the transfer of two properties to the Town of Babylon for use in the town's Wyandanch Rising revitalization.

County Executive Steve Levy announced the transfer Monday, and said the 5-plus acres of land would be used for a plaza next to an "intermodal" transit facility near the LIRR station. The 3.8- and 1.8-acre parcels are parking lots, the town said, and were requested from the county in July.

Babylon's Wyandanch plan call for redeveloping more than 60 acres at an estimated cost of $500 million, much of which the town hopes will come from private development. The town hopes putting in a sewer line will draw developer interest to an area plagued by crime and drugs. In February, the county announced it would waive sewer hookup fees for Wyandanch's downtown corridor for five years in an effort to spur development.

The facility is planned to serve as a hub for auto, bus and bike commuters, including a six-level parking structure, estimated to cost $45 million. Adjoining it will be public plazas with seating and green space. The town said it hopes to use the space for concerts and a farmers' market.

Babylon officials praised the county transfer of land. Levy spoke of a partnership that creates a "holistic approach" to downtown revitalization. He said the county could have received $1 million or more for the property but wanted to give it to the town to help with its redevelopment efforts, which could serve as "an incredible example for other areas to follow."

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