Lindenhurst officials gathered Monday to update villagers on downtown improvements in the works thanks to a $350,000 grant provided by the Suffolk County Jumpstart Grant Program.
The funds will kick-start a series of improvements, which includes, among other things, the repaving of Wellwood Avenue from Montauk Highway to Hoffman Ave.
In addition, parking spaces will be re-angled and pedestrian safety bulb-outs and median extensions put in place.
The bulb-outs and preparatory work is expected to be completed by spring.
“The objective is you start out on Montauk Highway and you work your way north, and the village just gets better and better,” said Richard ‘RJ’ Renna, a village trustee.
Renna led the announcement and spoke in detail about the solutions being put forth to Lindenhurst’s downtown a more walkable, friendly community.
“ … to be able to kick-start, what we believe, will be a series of investments in the Village of Lindenhurst to improve safety, and to make Lindenhurst more of an attractive destination for families, as well as for businesses,” Renna said.
About a year ago, Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, along with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, secured a grant for $200,000 which was used for a walkability study to examine the downtown area and how it could be improved.
“We all want to see this vision completed, no matter how long it takes,” McCaffrey said. “Things are happening now, and it’s not something we are going to talk about and dream about, they’re happening.”
The $350,000 Jumpstart Grant is the money going towards making the dream of a safe and walkable downtown area become a reality.
“You’re going to see Lindenhurst look a lot different,” McCaffrey said. “Every successful downtown is a walkable community.”
Renna said the walkability study results showed the need for safety when pedestrians cross Wellwood Ave. The first step, he said, would be adjusting the sidewalks and adding bulb-outs and median extensions.
These bulb-outs and median extensions would be added at the Lindenhurst Fire Department, near Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and by the intersection of Hoffman Ave. and Wellwood Ave.
“It will make a little less of a journey across the street, and a journey where you can actually see the cars that are coming, and parked cars aren’t blocking your view or obstructing it,” Renna said.
The village will collaborate with developers Greenman-Pedersen Inc., GPI, to change the parking spaces from a 60-degree angle to a 45-degree angle, with the intention of making it safer for vehicles to pull out of the spaces.
The WWI Monument, located on the intersection of Wellwood Ave. and Hoffman Ave., will be extended out more into the street. This will provide more room for pedestrians and prevent dangerous U-turns at the intersection.
A rectangular rapid-flashing beacon will also be installed for pedestrians to utilize when they want to cross the street.
Renna said many other steps have been taken over the past year and a half to add more parking within the downtown and re-do parking lots.
According to the walkability study, it was recommended that the village closes off the northeast portion of Hoffman Ave. by the gazebo.
The area is now a community dining area with tables donated by Restoration Kitchen, and the village used a $5,000 PSEG grant to provide umbrellas for the area space and have the road re-done.
“In the middle of this COVID pandemic, I think the greatest thing that the village can do for these businesses is provide the ability to not only survive but thrive,” Renna said.
All these measures are to create a more friendly environment, help with the downtown’s safety, as well as its economic revitalization, something community members have been pushing for some time now.
The village has already been recognized by Vision Long Island and awarded for its SmartGrowth and downtown initiatives.
“We are going to continue to make sure that Lindenhurst is the type of place we can all be proud of,” McCaffrey said.
Below are photos of the renderings of the Wellwood Ave. revitalization project.