August 1st, 2019 –Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced seven transformational projects for Central Islip as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. The strategic investments in downtown Central Islip will augment the community's opportunities, including access to LIRR transit, proximity to residential neighborhoods and community resources, and reuse of vacant and underutilized parcels with potential to support mixed-use development. The investments are part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the economy and create more opportunities for Long Island.
"As part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Central Islip will be able to further diversify its already growing economy through increased access to transportation and the redevelopment of mixed-used spaces," Governor Cuomo said. "This thriving community will serve as an example to other cities for how targeted investments can enhance opportunities and quality of life."
"Central Islip has seen significant investment over the last couple decades with housing and recreational complexes," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "We're building on that growth by funding projects as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative that will make needed infrastructure upgrades, streetscape improvements, and add housing and retail for residents. We are focused on revitalizing the area by supporting economic development that creates jobs, continues to attract businesses, and strengthens the economy of Long Island."
Central Islip was named a DRI Round 3 winner in August 2018. Central Islip is a diverse economic and residential community with more than one-third of its population represented by ethnic minorities. As a result of this diversified economy and workforce and increasing residential population, downtown Central Islip is on the verge of becoming a vibrant transit-oriented epicenter for the entire Islip community. DRI funds will be used to leverage the state's investment in the LIRR Third Track and Double Track projects by promoting transit development and downtown revitalization adjacent to the Central Islip rail station. With complete streets and traffic calming, this downtown will become a more inviting and enjoyable area. There are many sites along the downtown Carleton Avenue corridor that are ripe for redevelopment with the advent of sewers, including a potential public-private partnership that would be ideal for needed mixed-use development.
The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include:
- Enhance the Pedestrian Experience in the Downtown Corridor: Install streetscape improvements along Carleton Avenue between Suffolk Avenue and Smith Street to enhance pedestrian safety and experience of the corridor, and to strengthen connections between downtown and other community resources. Improvements include corridor-wide amenities, as well as site-specific lighting, signage and trees defining a northern gateway to the corridor; a new Clayton Place Plaza adjacent to the fire department; and lighting at additional key locations.
- Install Infrastructure along Carleton Avenue: Introduce a sewer system in downtown Central Islip to eliminate current limitations to the area's development and support a more varied and vibrant mix of commercial activities, including 'wet uses' like restaurants. This project consists of installing new sewer line along Carleton Avenue between Suffolk Avenue and Smith Street, promoting dense, mixed-use development along the corridor and laying the foundation for future investment.
- Redevelop Site of Former Train Station into a Mixed-Use Development: Transform the site of a former Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station into a transit-friendly, mixed-use development providing community members with affordable and market-rate apartments, retail space, a cultural facility, and a public plaza - all accessible from the current LIRR station. DRI funds will help the Town of Islip secure a developer for the site and offset costs associated with site acquisition, on-site improvements, vertical construction, parking, and gap financing.
- Create a Central Islip History Trail: Celebrate Central Islip's history by developing a five-mile hiking and biking trail extending from the Federal Courthouse to the Historic Heines Homestead, with interpretive signage at historic sites along the way, encouraging historical tourism and active lifestyles. DRI funds will be used for trail costs within the DRI area, such as signage identifying six downtown sites, audio/phone enhancement, and distance markers.
- Construct a Downtown Mixed-Use Development: Construct a 26,000 square foot mixed-use multi-story building at 108 and 110 Carleton Avenue with ground-floor retail or commercial use and upper-story affordable apartments, parking, providing opportunities for downtown living, enabling new commercial uses, and increasing foot traffic.
- Create a Mixed-Use Development on a Prominent Downtown Corner: Build a two-story, mixed-use building on a highly visible corner of the corridor at 69 and 75 Carleton Avenue to provide opportunities for new commercial uses, parking, a mix of studio and one-bedroom residences for a multi-generational community, and a downtown destination for visitors and residents.
- Establish a Commercial Property Improvement Fund: Establish a grant program supporting the rehabilitation and improvement of buildings within the DRI area to support owners' and merchants' investment in the Carleton Avenue area, shift perception of the corridor, and attract new businesses, activities, and customers. Potential projects include façade enhancement, signage, or interior fit-out improvements.
The DRI projects are the latest example of Governor Cuomo's ongoing commitment to Central Islip and Long Island.
Town of Islip Supervisor Angie M. Carpenter said, "I am so proud of our Town and certainly Central Islip-today even more so as we see long-awaited investments come to life. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, our community will see positive growth and endless potential."
Supervisor Carpenter added that Town officials will be seeking additional funding resources to complete projects that were proposed, but not selected.
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "This is an exciting announcement for Central Islip and all of Long Island. Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative continues to make positive changes in communities across New York State. These investments in the urban core will drive further smart growth and ensure a welcoming community for future generations."
Empire State Development President, CEO & Chairman Howard Zemsky said, "Public transit is a critical part of economic development, and Central Islip's DRI will leverage previous state projects like the LIRR's Double Track and Third Track to help revitalize this community. From investing in infrastructure for new development and enhancing pedestrian safety to realizing transit-oriented mixed-use developments, these DRI projects will usher in a true transformation."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a unique approach to providing state resources to projects that are guided by the will and wisdom of the community. Using this targeted funding, Central Islip will be able to build on its strengths while addressing specific needs that will boost economic development and create new opportunities. With today's announcement, the Governor has now invested approximately $300 million since 2011 to produce or preserve housing for Long Islanders."
Senator Monica Martinez said, "Central Islip is now on the cusp of great things and we are all excited to see these projects come to fruition. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's smart economic polices like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, communities across Long Island are thriving and growing."
Assemblyman Phil Ramos said, "Thanks for Governor Cuomo and the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing Central Islip's potential. The community will indeed make the most of these investments, which will pay dividends for years to come."
Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Kevin Law, President of the Long Island Association, said, "From investing in infrastructure to improving commercial properties to building affordable and market-rate apartments, Central Islip's DRI projects will help renew this community, boosting the local, county and state economies - efforts I am proud to support."
Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University, said, "Renewing our downtowns is critical to Long Island's long-term success, and I am happy to support these DRI projects which will create transit-oriented developments, invest in open space, and build the infrastructure Central Islip needs to grow and succeed."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "This is a proud day for Central Islip, as we learn what projects will be funded through Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. These investments are smart in that they are targeted and structured to support further growth for our community."
Suffolk County Legislator Samuel Gonzalez said, "Central Islip is ready for the next wave of economic development thanks to the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Our residents, businesses and visitors deserve a community filled with opportunity and pride. The DRI is a large part of this new reality."
For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative.