By Connor Beach
The Town of Huntington has applied for a $10 million state grant that would help fund the continued revitalization process in Huntington Station.
The town board unanimously approved last Thursday a resolution authorizing an application for the grant, which is one of 10 planned to be distributed through the New York State Regional Development Council.
The grant is one of 10 possible $10 million grants being offered as part of the third round of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which gives local leaders the ability to “revolutionize how their neighborhoods can thrive and prosper,” according to New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, DRI chairwoman.
Applications must be submitted by June first, and one grant will be awarded to a community in each of the 10 Regional Economic Development Council zones, including Long Island.
The previous two rounds of DRI grants awarded in the Long Island zone went to Westbury in 2016 and Hicksville in 2017.
The town board applied for both of the previous two grants, but was not selected. Town officials, however, are confident Huntington has a chance to capture the third.
Councilwoman Joan Cergol, who co-sponsored the resolution with Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, said she thinks Huntington Station is a “strong contender” for this year’s grant, especially since the previous two winners are in Nassau.
“I’m hoping that it’s Huntington that is able to reap the benefits of this $10 million infusion into the community,” Cergol said. “Talk about flipping the economic development light switch on.”
Cergol said that if the grant is awarded, the town would have to set up a local planning committee to work with state planners to develop a downtown strategic investment plan.
The state’s regional development councils will consider eight different criteria when selecting the winning grant applications, including whether “the municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.”
Lupinacci said Huntington’s application outlines several projects including streetscape improvements, adding bike lanes, addressing dangerous traffic concerns, the creation of a public plaza and advancing the creation of an integrated security program.
“What’s great about this is that we can use the money to further a sense of community, encourage the entry of new businesses and make Huntington Station more walkable and a hub for cultural and artistic activity,” Lupinacci said.
The location of the proposed improvements would stretch along New York Avenue, from Lowndes Avenue to West 13th Street, according to Lupinacci. Both Lupinacci and Cergol said the grant would help to expand the development that is currently going on north of the Huntington LIRR station into the area south of the tracks.
Lupinacci said, “Our goal is to seek the funding to help maximize our present and future economic opportunities in the Huntington Station area, especially looking south of the train tracks.”