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The Irish Viking demolition and other projects in the Town of Smithtown

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This past year saw lots of physical improvements within the Town of Smithtown.

The work ranged from park and beach renovations to more municipal parking, to the unveiling of the town’s comprehensive master plan draft.

And 2021 will continue to be a year of improvement, town officials said.

Smithtown Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said that over the next year, the town will continue to combat COVID-19 by working with government organizations and agencies to ensure efficient vaccine distribution.

Wehrheim also said the improvements being implemented within the town will, hopefully, foster job growth, enhance the quality of life for residents, and provide a cleaner environment for future generations.

“Despite all we have endured, the Town of Smithtown continues to flourish as we continue to work together in service to the community,” Wehrheim said. “As we embark on a new year ahead, this administration remains optimistic of all that we have done and what is ahead for the Town of Smithtown.”

Below is a breakdown of what the town undertook this past year, and what residents can expect in the year ahead:

Renovations to parks and beaches in 2020

  • Over the past year, Kings Park Memorial Park, Morewood Park, and Flynn Memorial Ballpark have been completely renovated.
  • Savatt Square underwent a complete makeover with new landscaping and plantings.
  • The Highway and Parks departments completed the restoration and mile-long paving of the Hike and Bike Trail.
  • The pier at Kings Park Bluff was repaired and a new rock wall now protects the pier from erosion or severe storms.
  • Brady Park playground was replaced.
  • A custom walkway was installed adjoining the Nesconset Gazebo to Nesconset Library and Charles P. Toner Park.
  • At Gibbs Pond Park, the town installed LED sports lighting, turf resurfacing, and reconditioned the tennis and basketball courts.
  • Improvements made to the Firematic Training Facility for volunteer firefighters.
  • Renovations made at Long Beach this past year, including the construction of a stage-like platform for summer concerts and a new pavilion at Schubert’s Beach.
  • The Long Beach Marina bathroom is now upgraded, a new fueling system was installed, and dispensers with competitive pricing.

Improvements to beaches and parks in 2021

  • By the end of 2021, 75 percent of the town’s parks and beaches will be restored over a four-year period.
  • The town is currently in the process of installing a new playground at Short Beach, which is expected to be completed in time for the warmer weather.
  • Parks will continue to be restored with the completion of renovations to East Hills and Laurel, along with the replacement of turf fields at the Moriches Soccer Complex.

2021 improvements to Landing Country Club

  • The parks department completed new surfacing around the pool with the installation of permanent shade structures and a stairwell replacement. 
  • The town is also in the process of installing a new bathroom and small concession area at the club’s entrance.

Flynn Memorial Ballpark

  • The ballpark is now a state-of-the-art complex, complete with resurfaced synthetic turf with a built-in drainage system underneath.
  • The four fields are equipped with warning tracks and pitchers’ warm-up mounds and LED Energy efficient sports lighting. 
  • At the center, a two-story air-conditioned building houses a concession stand, pro shop, and handicapped-accessible bathrooms on the first floor with a press box on the second floor for officials. 

The town plans to complete this project before the spring with the paving of the park’s parking lot, and construction of a new playground area more central to the fields. 

“It is our hope that we will all be able to enjoy a spectacular opening day celebration together, pending the curve of the coronavirus,” Wehrheim said. 

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Improvements to off-street parking and completion of the municipal parking lot on Pulaski Road

  • The municipal parking lot located on Pulaski Road was completed in early November. 
  • The project was funded by a $500,000 Jumpstart grant and contains 23 spaces, an electric charging station for EV vehicles, and LED lighting. 
  • Many Main Street businesses were suffering due to a lack of parking, officials said, so these improvements were designed to be beneficial in alleviating traffic and shoppers’ struggles to find on-street parking. 
  • This is the second municipal lot project to be completed in a downtown business district in the last two years. 
  • For more information on the new Pulaski Road lot, check out GreaterSmithtown’s prior coverage

The Town of Smithtown will have off-street parking lots in all three of its small business districts by the end of 2021. 

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Lake Avenue revitalization project

  • The town started planting new trees along Lake Avenue in the fall of 2020 as part of its final phase. 
  • Victorian-style, ornamental lamp posts will be installed with the bases for new crosswalks and a masthead traffic light at Woodlawn and Lake Avenue. 
  • Removal of wire clutter, double and old poles has begun. 
  • Matching street signage will follow lamp post-installation. 
  • New waste receptacles and street benches will be the final accents in the project. 

The Lake Avenue Revitalization Project will be completed this spring. 

Irish Viking demolition, a new park, and off-street parking

  • The former Irish Viking site was demolished in November 2020 and the lot has been cleared of remaining debris. 
  • The property will be transformed into a municipal parking lot and surrounded by a new park. 
  • The park design and construction is in collaboration with Celebrate St. James, who is spearheading a massive fundraising effort to build the park. 

The Smithtown Comprehensive Master Plan for the downtown areas 

  • In 2020, Smithtown began drafting its master plan to revitalize its downtown areas. 
  • For a detailed look at what’s to come for Smithtown and its communities, take a look at our breakdown of the plan

Environmental efforts completed in 2020

  • Smithtown continues to uphold its reputation as a Tree City USA with the planting of 500 trees by the Department of Environment and Waterways, as well as an additional 175 trees planted by the Highway Department. 
  • In 2020, the DEW seeded a total of 540,000 juvenile hard clams and 50,000 juvenile oysters in an effort to improve the water quality. 
  • The Meadow Road Stormwater Remediation bioswale was spearheaded and completed by the Engineering department this past year.
  • In 2020, the Town of Smithtown collected close to 45 tons of household hazardous waste and safely shredded over 16 tons of paper. 
  • The highway department continues to prevent stormwater pollution with the cleaning of 466 catch basins and swept 469 miles of roads triannually. 
  • The town has reduced the use of salt by 10 to 15 percent during the winter months by using a beet juice brine system to prevent icing on the roads.
  • The town has made a vigorous effort to go paperless and digitize all historic records through New York State grant money. 

Environmental plans for 2021

  • Smithtown hopes to install its third EV Charging Station in one of the three central business districts by the end of the year. 
  • The town shifted to digitizing historic records through grant money from the state.

Regional Fueling Station at the Kings Park Highway Yard 

  • The regional fueling station was completed and a consolidated funding grant of $902,363 from the New York Regional Economic Development Council was awarded to the town for the government efficiency project. 
  • This is a shared service-based initiative that consolidates municipal and emergency response fueling operations, saving the taxpayer funds across multiple government agencies.

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Smithtown’s COVID-19 Response 

  • Orchestrated a central communications matrix consisting of local food banks, shelters, school districts, non-profits, first responders, and more in order to ensure “no one was forgotten during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 
  • Organizations and individuals helped the town facilitate various supply donations, meal deliveries, PPE appropriation, and fabric allotments to deliver hand-sewn face masks. 
  • The Senior Citizens department delivered weekly meals to high-risk seniors along with focusing its maintenance and repair services on outdoor projects. 
  • Smithtown GTV helped film and produce virtual tours for local small businesses. 
  • Implemented an online system for food establishments to file for temporary outdoor accommodations. 
  • As the pandemic continues, Horizons Counseling and Education Center and Youth Bureau conduct outreach and community service through various initiatives. 
    • This includes a kindness rock campaign, ‘thank you’ signs for essential workers, and an animal food drive for wildlife at the Sweetbriar Nature Center. 
  • The Department of Recreation adapted its recreation schedule for safe summer activities for kids. 
  • The town produced a special Graduation Message for the class of 2020. 

The Town of Smithtown will continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 by looking into ways to help local teachers, high-risk seniors, and essential workers who are eligible to receive the vaccine. 

To sum up what is in store for the year ahead, Wehrheim said the town is delivering a 2021 operating budget with the lower overall tax increase in Suffolk County.

The supervisor said property values are up, small businesses are choosing to open in Smithtown and the parks and beaches will continue to be updated for continued community enjoyment.

“This beautiful town, our home, remains environmentally sound, financially strong and our commitment to service has never been more resounding,” Wehrheim said. “On behalf of the Town of Smithtown administration, department leadership, and every Municipal employee, we wish good health and hope to the community, and we look forward to the year ahead.”

Previous reporting

Top: Photos of all projects completed by Smithtown in 2020.

All photos provided by the Town of Smithtown.