Lindenhurst’s quest for $10 million in grant money to help further revitalize its downtown began in earnest Wednesday night at the middle school.

More than 200 people, mostly village residents, gathered in the school’s gymnasium to give their input on a Downtown Master Plan that’s being hammered out by two engineering and planning firms.

“This will be one of the major research tools we use to apply for the (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) grant application,” Lindenhurst Village Trustee RJ Renna explained to those in attendance. 

“It’s a $10 million grant we are seeking from the State of New York to invest in our village,” he continued, “to make Lindenhurst the kind of downtown that we want it to be.”

As part of the Master Plan planning process, he explained, the village is seeking community input.

Hence the Wednesday night meeting, which was dubbed a Community Visioning Workshop 

“We might not all agree, but we gotta get it on paper,” Renna said.

Here are the study’s goals:

  • to assess re-use potential for underutilized properties
  • Improve upon existing parking and/or find space to add more parking
  • Evaluate the potential for relocating residents from flood-prone areas
  • Figure out how to provide unimpeded access (think bike baths) between the water and downtown
  • Evaluate vehicle traffic and promote pedestrian safety

The state grant money would be put toward implementing the plan’s recommendations.

Here’s the timeline:

  • All residents will have until June 1 to fill out a survey and give their input.
  • There will be another opportunity for residents to weigh in on the planning firms’ initial recommendations this summer.
  • A draft Master Plan will go before village and chamber officials closer to the fall.
  • The final Master Plan would be approved and released by December.

After a brief presentation, attendees were encouraged to visit four stations to give their ideas to the planners.

One station sought input on transportation and parking, another on land use and economic development, and a third sought people’s overall visions and desires for the downtown. There was also a survey station.

The stations were run by representatives of GPI of Babylon, the planning firm that’s teaming up with BJH Advisors of New York on the study. 

BJH Advisors was involved in the plan that helped downtown Westbury receive the competitive Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in 2016. Click here to read more.

The Lindenhurst Downtown Master Plan is costing $80,000, half of which is being funded by a state grant. The other half is coming from the village, according to Renna.

Among those residents in attendance Wednesday night was Tony Minero, a 28-year resident of the village.

He said he’d like to see a foodie and social vibe outdoors in the downtown.

“I’m looking for more restaurants, something like Greenwich Village … where everyone is outside eating,” he said in an interview. “Or things like dog parks, so we can take our pets and go downtown instead of traveling a far distance. A community aspect where everyone is outside talking and communicating with one another.”

Another resident in attendance, Donna McDonnell, told GreaterBabylon she thinks there’s already enough restaurants.

She suggested a general or department store within walking or driving distance for village residents, mentioning specifically a store she frequented when she lived in Nassau County.

“They had everything you could ever need,  without having to go to Home Depot,” she said. “And that’s what they need here, especially for the older people to just go right into town.”

She also wondered why so many stores are coming and going in the downtown.

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Residents gathered at one of four stations Wednesday night at the middle school. (Michael White)

During his introductory statements, Renna said that’s a major goal of the plan: To retain businesses that do invest in the village.

Mayor Michael Lavorata said he was pleased with the attendance, though he wished even more people would have shown up.

The villagers “have to tell us what they want,” he said. “We’re hoping by them … offering ideas, we can hear about things that maybe we never even thought about before.

“And wouldn’t it be great to win that $10 million grant?”

Top; Looking north at the shops on Wellwood Avenue. Mayor Michael Lavorata says the village’s vacancy rates are the lowest they’ve been in 15 years. (Michael White)