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Center Moriches to revamp its Main Street

Moriches residents Gene Grunwald, Pat Hahn and Beautification

Moriches residents Gene Grunwald, Pat Hahn and Beautification Organization President Mark Danowski review plans for Main Street in Center Moriches. (Feb. 9, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

From trash receptacles to the species of trees that will be planted, details of the $3-million revamp of Main Street in Center Moriches were revealed at a presentation Wednesday night.

Work will take place between Brookfield and Hawkins avenues, where 30-year-old sidewalks and concrete curbs will be replaced; new light poles and fixtures will be installed; 15 black iron trash receptacles and matching decorative benches will be placed; drainage issues will be addressed. The plan also calls for 29 diseased or damaged trees to be removed and 46 new trees to be planted.

Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico, who helped route federal stimulus money toward Center Moriches to pay for the project, said at Wednesday’s meeting that the overall design focused on a “higher quality” look for Main Street.

“Even when it comes to the garbage cans,” he said.

The street revamp, which is being handled by consulting engineer firm L.K. McLean Associates and contractors at Bove Industries, will cost about $1.9 million. Officials plan to use the remainder of the $3 million on lighting, other purchases and to cover unexpected costs, Panico said.

In addition to the streetscape project, Suffolk County Legis. Ed Romaine also secured a county grant for $75,000 to rebuild a park on Bank Street. The park, which will be completed before the street project begins. It will be landscaped, paved with brick and concrete and include benches and a pergola.

The design of the park was a collaborative effort between Town of Brookhaven Parks Commissioner Ed Morris, the Chamber of Commerce of the Moriches, the Center Moriches Community Association and the Downtown Beautification Organization of Center Moriches, Panico said.

The project will start on March 14, the day after the the Center Moriches St. Patrick's Day Parade, and is scheduled to be finished by July 15. The work will take place during the weekdays only and is not expected to stop traffic, though some street parking will be lost from day to day.

Residents  who spoke at the meeting were generally happy with the project plan, although one asked for additional crosswalks on Main Street. Currently, there is only one. Another resident Richard Ely, who owns a private tree service company, said he was concerned about the trees the contractors planned to dig up.

Ely said he and fellow resident Bert Seides were responsible for planting most of the trees that line Montauk Highway and other parts of the Moriches area, which they have been doing for more than 20 years.

Panico welcomed Ely and Seides to walk the length of the project with him to see which trees were identified as diseased, though he said the town’s professional arbor consultant made the official determination.

Panico said the sidewalk project is the first step and he hopes to keep sending funds into Center Moriches. He said ideally he would like to replace street signs to match the new decorative iron light poles and, on a bigger scale, he hopes to eventually turn the former Center Moriches train station into a skate park.

Panico said his goal is to maintain homeowner’s property values and attract businesses to Main Street. But most importantly, he said, he wanted Center Moriches residents to be proud of their community.

“This is your downtown,” he said.

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