Lindenhurst Village Trustee RJ Renna in the village square Friday. Officials...

Lindenhurst Village Trustee RJ Renna in the village square Friday. Officials would like to add an amphitheater to the site. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Lindenhurst has submitted the list of projects it wants to fund with the $4.5 million the state awarded the village in January, although obstacles remain.

The money is part of the state's NY Forward program, which helps fund revitalization efforts in smaller downtowns.

The village late last month submitted four public projects and seven private projects for funding. Although Lindenhurst was awarded $4.5 million, the project funding requests total $5.78 million, with the expectation that the state will change the allocation amounts on the individual projects.

A 16-member local planning committee began hosting a series of workshops in May to discuss potential projects after an open call for submissions.

The largest single request is $2.3 million to expand Village Square, which includes creating an outdoor amphitheater.

“I would say that’s the most exciting part of this process,” said planning committee co-chair and village trustee RJ Renna.

That would require the purchase of Suffolk County's Second District Courthouse on East Hoffman Avenue, which cannot be done with the state money. The building, which would have to be demolished, is appraised at $4.3 million to $4.6 million, Renna said.

Suffolk County Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), the legislature's presiding officer, said the county leased the building for more than $700,000 annually, although the lease was up at the end of next year. The $4.75 million in county JumpStart money just awarded to the village could be used to pay for the building, he said. However,  the building must remain in use and rent paid to Lindenhurst until the county figures out where to relocate court proceedings, he said.

“We plan on paying significantly less,” McCaffrey said.  

The village may have to take the building by eminent domain, Renna said.

“We’ve made multiple attempts to be in contact with the owner but we’ve made no traction,” he said.

One of the largest private projects that had been under consideration for some of the NY Forward funding was $1.25 million for a planned apartment project on the site of a former Waldbaum’s on East Hoffman Avenue.

The Waldbaum’s closed more than seven years ago. In 2019, Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Babylon drafted a master plan for the village that included creating mixed-use and transit-oriented development at the site, but nothing materialized.

The project remained in contention for the money until just weeks before last month's vote, officials said. Planning committee co-chair and former Suffolk Chief Deputy County Executive Jim Morgo said after the vote that he was disappointed the project was withdrawn, calling it the “number-one transformational project” listed.

“At a time when there’s a real housing crisis on Long Island caused partly because of the lack of a supply of rental and for-sale housing, the fact that there’s no housing in this is disappointing,” Morgo said at the meeting. 

Developer Bobby Curcio said although he had not yet submitted an application to the village, the project itself isn’t dead. Curcio wants to build 172 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments above a superette, or small supermarket with food staples and prepared meals. He estimates the cost at $75 million.

“It’s such an expensive job that we’re about to embark on that I think the village could use the money better than I could,” Curcio said of withdrawing his application for the state money.  

Renna said he expected the state to decide on the projects in January.

“It’s a relief,” Renna said of finally submitting the projects. “But I’ll feel better when the money gets awarded. Then a whole other layer of work starts.”

Lindenhurst has submitted the list of projects it wants to fund with the $4.5 million the state awarded the village in January, although obstacles remain.

The money is part of the state's NY Forward program, which helps fund revitalization efforts in smaller downtowns.

The village late last month submitted four public projects and seven private projects for funding. Although Lindenhurst was awarded $4.5 million, the project funding requests total $5.78 million, with the expectation that the state will change the allocation amounts on the individual projects.

A 16-member local planning committee began hosting a series of workshops in May to discuss potential projects after an open call for submissions.

The largest single request is $2.3 million to expand Village Square, which includes creating an outdoor amphitheater.

“I would say that’s the most exciting part of this process,” said planning committee co-chair and village trustee RJ Renna.

That would require the purchase of Suffolk County's Second District Courthouse on East Hoffman Avenue, which cannot be done with the state money. The building, which would have to be demolished, is appraised at $4.3 million to $4.6 million, Renna said.

Suffolk County Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), the legislature's presiding officer, said the county leased the building for more than $700,000 annually, although the lease was up at the end of next year. The $4.75 million in county JumpStart money just awarded to the village could be used to pay for the building, he said. However,  the building must remain in use and rent paid to Lindenhurst until the county figures out where to relocate court proceedings, he said.

“We plan on paying significantly less,” McCaffrey said.  

The village may have to take the building by eminent domain, Renna said.

“We’ve made multiple attempts to be in contact with the owner but we’ve made no traction,” he said.

One of the largest private projects that had been under consideration for some of the NY Forward funding was $1.25 million for a planned apartment project on the site of a former Waldbaum’s on East Hoffman Avenue.

The Waldbaum’s closed more than seven years ago. In 2019, Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Babylon drafted a master plan for the village that included creating mixed-use and transit-oriented development at the site, but nothing materialized.

The project remained in contention for the money until just weeks before last month's vote, officials said. Planning committee co-chair and former Suffolk Chief Deputy County Executive Jim Morgo said after the vote that he was disappointed the project was withdrawn, calling it the “number-one transformational project” listed.

“At a time when there’s a real housing crisis on Long Island caused partly because of the lack of a supply of rental and for-sale housing, the fact that there’s no housing in this is disappointing,” Morgo said at the meeting. 

Developer Bobby Curcio said although he had not yet submitted an application to the village, the project itself isn’t dead. Curcio wants to build 172 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments above a superette, or small supermarket with food staples and prepared meals. He estimates the cost at $75 million.

“It’s such an expensive job that we’re about to embark on that I think the village could use the money better than I could,” Curcio said of withdrawing his application for the state money.  

Renna said he expected the state to decide on the projects in January.

“It’s a relief,” Renna said of finally submitting the projects. “But I’ll feel better when the money gets awarded. Then a whole other layer of work starts.”

Projects Lindenhurst submitted

Public

Villlage square expansion $2.3 million

Creation of greenway/walking trail $1 million

Pedestrian and streetscape improvements $765,000

Irmisch Park enhancements $385,000

Private

101-109 N. Wellwood, façade upgrade, $322,000

Small Project Fund $300,000

BACCA Public Arts projects $200,000

175 S. Wellwood, 2nd floor expansion, $172,000

Belfast Gastro Pub upgrades $167,000

BACCA renovations $90,000

197-201 S. Wellwood facade upgrade $84,000

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