As part of this week's Town Focus: Ronkonkoma series, Erin Geismar will be conducting quick interviews of everyone from community leaders to everyday people on the street.
George Schramm, president, Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Organization
How long have you lived in Ronkonkoma? Nine years.
Where did you live before that? Holbrook, and I grew up in Bethpage.
What issues are important to the civic organization?
We have three focuses. There’s the lake itself. We want to ensure access and balance humane use with protecting the natural resources. There’s the Ronkonkoma Hub project, which is the development planned around the train station, which is really a unique kind of development for Long Island. And the land-use plan for the Portion Road corridor, and now that’s been approved, so we are looking ahead to a downtown revitalization.
What’s the goal of the land-use plan? To reduce suburban sprawl, to reconcentrate businesses to the central downtown area. We’d like that corridor to be a pedestrian-friendly downtown area, to bring back the village feel like you’d see in Huntington.
Your vision for Ronkonkoma is clear, but how would you define the community now? Well, there are different aspects of the community. This deals with business. Residentially, there are mostly single-family homes. The hub project will make available more housing options, specifically to appeal to a younger generation. When that is built, somebody who works on Wall Street or in midtown can live in Ronkonkoma and walk right to the train station. When they get home, there will be things for them to do. Right now we’re missing that element. We don’t have a large component that appeals to young people.
So, would you say Ronkonkoma is in a transition? Absolutely. That’s a good word for it. And in a positive way.