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Wyandanch Rising? Yes, indeed

Buildings under construction on Straight Path as the

Buildings under construction on Straight Path as the Wyandanch Rising Project continues on Nov. 20, 2014. Credit: James Carbone

Rarely have hope and skepticism collided so starkly as with the ongoing redevelopment project in Wyandanch.

Optimism from government and business leaders as well as residents about the revitalization of the distressed hamlet has been met with cynicism from other corners about the likelihood of that ever happening.

The best way to defuse doubt is to get things done -- and that's what's happening now with Wyandanch Rising.

The latest evidence: The project has signed its first commercial lease and Thursday received $4.7 million in the latest round of state economic development funding. The two pieces of news are intertwined.

Some of the state money is for construction of a commercial office building, which means jobs for the community and foot traffic for retailers in the development. The lease is with Roslyn Savings Bank, which also will bring retailers potential customers all day. The branch will be the hamlet's first stand-alone bank. That 10-year bet on Wyandanch's future is echoed by letters of intent received by developer Albanese Organization Inc. from such businesses as a national wireless company, a shoe store and restaurants -- businesses that appeal to residents and commuters using the train station. Plus, more than enough people have been qualified to fill the income-restricted apartments and Albanese has started signing leases for the market-rate units.

Yes, challenges remain in Wyandanch -- crime, poverty, a poor-performing school system -- but progress is being made. Even the doubters would have to agree with that.