As the sixth-round Long Island winner of New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), Huntington Station will receive $10 million in funding to revitalize its downtown neighborhood and generate new opportunities following the local planning process.
For Round 6 of the DRI, which was created in 2016 and “serves as a component of the state’s economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract businesses, jobs, and economic and housing diversity,” each of the state’s 10 economic development regions are being awarded $10 million, making for a state commitment of $100 million in funding and investments. Huntington Station joins the communities of Westbury, Hicksville, Central Islip, Baldwin, Amityville and Riverhead, which were Long Island’s winners in the first five DRI rounds.
Like past DRI rounds, each selected community, the state says, will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that “articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have transformative potential and leverage further private and public investments.” The Department of State will then award DRI funds to selected projects with the greatest potential to “jumpstart revitalization and realize the community’s vision.”
Huntington Station’s DRI area focuses on the walkable downtown Huntington Station immediately surrounding the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Station and continuing south along the New York Avenue corridor.
With the pending completion of the East Side Access project, this area is beginning to undergo commercial revitalization that will “ultimately serve as a major commercial and social attraction to the community,” the state said.
The vision for Huntington Station, which “seeks to re-energize its urban core and attract new opportunities to build on its vibrant, diverse and walkable downtown,” includes transforming the downtown by developing key sites for mixed-use projects, burying and/or relocating utilities and overhead wires along the New York Avenue corridor, expanding broadband, creating a centralized park or public gathering space, implementing a business façade program, and making streetscape and transportation improvements.
The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered the criteria below before recommending Huntington Station as the nominee:
- Downtown is compact, with well-defined boundaries.
- Downtown can capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment.
- Recent or impending job growth within, or close to, the downtown that can attract workers, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable.
- Downtown is an attractive and livable community for diverse populations.
- Municipality already embraces or can create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life.
- Municipality conducted open and robust community engagement resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives.
- Municipality has the local capacity to manage the DRI process.
- Municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for near-term implementation with an infusion of DRI funds.
Huntington Station will begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners.
The SIP, the state says, will “examine local assets and opportunities to identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with each community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.”
The SIP will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will “advance the community’s vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state’s $10 million investment.” Plans for the DRI’s sixth round will be complete in 2023.
“The Huntington Station community deserves a safe, walkable and affordable downtown where residents can thrive,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “This strategic investment will revitalize the community, and I can’t wait to get shovels in the ground to transform Huntington Station into a must-see destination for tourists and local visitors alike.”
“Thriving city centers are key to generating economic opportunity,” said Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Linda Armyn, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Bethpage Federal Credit Union and President of Farmingdale State College Dr. John Nader. “This DRI award recognizes the importance of walkable, transit-oriented districts, especially here on Long Island, and demonstrates New York State’s commitment to revisioning downtowns that attract people to live, visit and do business here.”