Bellone, Vecchio & Local Advocates Announce Progress on Community Planning to Revitalize Kings Park
January 20, 2017 By Kelly Tenny
NEW YORK – Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined by Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and community leaders and advocates to announce the progress being made on infrastructure investments pertaining to key sewering projects in Kings Park and downtown Smithtown.
The updates come in the immediate aftermath of Governor Cuomo’s regional State of the State address, where he announced that $40 million in state funding would be allocated to the sewering of Smithtown and Kings Park.
Suffolk County also announced last month that more than $7.5 million in county funds would be allocated to local municipalities and downtowns to further grow the region’s economy, including $200,000 to the Town of Smithtown to advance the community’s proposed “Revitalizing Kings Park Downtown” Action Plan.
“These county and state funds will enhance our sewering initiative and help this community fully realize its vision for revitalizing downtown Kings Park and help our county achieve our number one economic development goal to make our region once again attractive to our young people, by creating more vibrant downtowns,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “These local efforts and the community’s commitment to develop a downtown plan is why we are here today. Because the community did the hard part, the governor took notice and we now have the resources necessary to bring sewers downtown.”
“We are grateful for the County Executive’s intersession with the governor to obtain funding for the sewer lines in Kings Park and Smithtown,” added Town of Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio.
Theresa Ward, Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning said, “Community based planning is at the core of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s approach to economic development. We are proud to have partnered with community members and leaders, the Town of Smithtown, and the Suffolk County IDA to provide $200,000 for the community to complete plans for the downtown Kings Park and Smithtown areas. Adoption of a local community based plan is a critical step in attracting significant infrastructure investments to our region, as evidenced by Governor Cuomo’s announcement earlier this week of a $40 million-dollar commitment for sewers to serve Kings Park and Smithtown. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Kings Park and Smithtown community, and the Town of Smithtown to bring jobs, private investment and economic growth to this community and emulate this collaboration in other communities across the county.”
“This is precisely the type of outcome sought by the County Executive and IDA in launching this program,” said Kelly Morris, Deputy Executive Director of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency. “By providing planning capacities to local communities, momentum can be built toward more comprehensive grassroots planning efforts and ultimately, redevelopment itself.”
County Executive Bellone and officials announced the necessary steps to execute the sewering plan. Steps include the creation of a sewer district and commence an engineering design to develop the scope of the remaining project. The estimated cost for the Kings Park project is $20 million. These funds will allow County officials to advance the project, which is 80-90% designed, and move it forward.
For downtown Smithtown, County Executive Bellone has directed the Suffolk County Commissioner of the Department of Public Works to immediately begin the process of securing an engineering team to commence the design process within the next 6 to 8 weeks.
While design work will be underway, it will provide an opportunity for community leaders to provide further input. The County will partner with the Town and the community to support efforts to build out from the vision provided by Supervisor Vecchio last year.
“The Kings Park Chamber of Commerce is delighted that the County and Town are working together to help bring the vision of the Kings Park Community to reality,” said Tony Tanzi, President of the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce. “Kings Park is a great community and we are willing to work hard to get a Downtown we can all be proud of. We are thankful to have elected representatives that have heard us and are taking action.”
“The Kings Park Civic Association is excited by the progress of the revitalization of Kings Park’s downtown and is grateful to Suffolk County’s commitment to this project. County Executive Bellone met with members of our community a little over 14 months ago and set the tone that would ultimately help our downtown flourish. Governor Cuomo’s proposed $40,000,000 for sewers in Kings Park and Smithtown, and the County’s $200,000 award to support the community’s revitalization plan are essential steps in moving forward. The Civic Association is eager to continue to work with the County, Town, State, and most importantly, the community, to see our beautiful hamlet thrive,” said Linda Henninger, Vice-President Kings Park Civic Association
“Kings Park has all the ingredients for a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown,” said Christopher Jones, senior vice president and chief planner for Regional Plan Association. “This grant from the county will help make the community’s vision a reality.
“I am rarely a man at a loss for words, however, this occasion has brought me close. Should anyone have asked me yesterday what are your thoughts about Smithtown/Kings Park my reply would have been, ‘It’s a great place to live and raise a family,’ said Robert Cartelli, President of the Greater Smithtown Chamber of Commerce. “Now, with this funding my reply would be, ‘I wouldn’t dream of raising my family or operating my business in any other place,’”
“This funding for downtown revitalization and sewers will allow Smithtown to grow as a community and invite more business opportunities, housing and offer environmental stability to our town,” added Barbara Franco, Executive Director, Smithtown Chamber of Commerce
“New York State wastewater treatment funding coming back to Long Island to directly aid downtown growth is critical for the health and vitality of our business districts. Perseverance pays off as it is great to see these local communities get what they have been asking for over these many years,” said Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island.
The County would like to recognize the following community organizations for their input for working together to develop the community action plan:
Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, Kings Park Civic Association, Kings Park School District, Ft. Salonga Civic Association, San Remo Civic Association, Nissequogue River State Park Foundation, American Legion, Kings Park VFW, Kings Park Youth, Kings Park Soccer Club, Catholic Youth Organization, Kings Park Fire Department and Hibernians.