Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces a $10 million Downtown Revitalization...

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant to rebuild downtown Central lslip during an event at Touro Law School in Central Islip on Aug. 8. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Central Islip is, in some ways, two stories along a single street.

There’s the southern end of Carleton Avenue, the site of the Long Island Ducks’ ballpark, federal and state courthouses, two hotels, some retail stores and a senior housing complex. And then there’s the stretch just south of the train station. It’s less than a mile long, but its blight, vacancies and dilapidated properties tell a very different tale.

Central Islip now is poised to change its story by redeveloping its downtown just south of Suffolk Avenue. The Town of Islip won the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative competition and its $10 million prize for planning and paying for the area’s needed transformation. The win comes on top of Central Islip’s designation in June as a federal Opportunity Zone, which offers tax incentives for private investment in the area.

A remade downtown Central Islip could include new housing, restaurants and retail space. Add in improved, more walkable streetscapes and sidewalks, and new uses for the old firehouse and surplus New York Institute of Technology land that’s vacant and available for development.

Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter will lead the effort to revitalize Central Islip and find the best mix of projects while ensuring improvements to sewer connections and other infrastructure. Residents and civic associations seem supportive; area business leaders should step up, too.

With everyone on board, Central Islip’s new story can begin.

— The editorial board

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