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Bellone proposes $250G in grants for downtowns

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone delivers his "State

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone delivers his "State of the County" address at the Suffolk County Legislature building. (Feb. 19, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone will propose that $250,000 be distributed among 11 projects to enhance economic activity in downtown areas throughout the county, officials said.

This is the 11th round of the grant program, which is administered annually by the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel pending available funds, officials said. Awards are given to organizations such as chambers of commerce, business improvement districts and civic associations. The money is meant for projects including public parking facilities, street lighting and pedestrian walkways.

Bellone will introduce a resolution to the county legislature to support funding for the proposed projects at a Sept. 12 meeting, officials said. The legislature is expected to vote to approve the resolution on Oct. 8, said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, spokeswoman for Bellone.

The proposed grants vary from $7,500 to $48,000 and would support projects in Riverhead, East Hampton, Central Islip, Flanders, Riverside, Northampton, Amityville, Lindenhurst, Northport, Babylon and Brookhaven, according to documents provided by Bellone's office.

Eligible organizations must represent their downtown area, partner with their local municipality and apply for the grant. The panel uses a point system to evaluate and choose the applications, officials said.

"Providing grant funding through this program encourages local organizations to partner with their municipality and find ways to enhance public lands, improve the vitality of business districts, and contribute to walkable communities and bustling downtowns," Bellone said in a statement.

The largest grant proposed is $48,000 for the Rocky Point Civic Association, in partnership with the Town of Brookhaven, to build decorative crosswalks with a warning surface, curb extensions and decorative streetlights. The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with East Hampton Village, is seeking $37,000 to purchase and install an illuminated crosswalk on Newtown Lane, a downtown street. The Riverhead Business Improvement District, along with the town, is seeking $30,000 to purchase and install LED light fixtures along Main Street.

The smallest proposed grant is $7,500 for Babylon Village and the local Chamber of Commerce to purchase and install two informational kiosks along business district walkways on Deer Park Avenue, officials said.

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