Parking, affordable apartments, office buildings and a possible convention or sports center are being proposed for East Farmingdale.
Town of Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone and designer Jeff Speck unveiled plans for a new downtown center on Route 110 and Conklin Street during a presentation at the East Farmingdale Fire Department on April 12.
The plan, which Bellone said has been in discussion since 2002, would include the reopening of the Republic train station in addition to a new downtown center located in the Airport Plaza area.
Bellone thinks that these plans are a step in the right direction for Farmingdale.
"In terms of the Long Island economy, young people are leaving. Lack of new high paying jobs being created, if not addressed, are going to cause long term problems for all of us," Bellone said.
The expert behind the project is Jeff Speck, who has authored the book Suburban Nation. He said that Airport Plaza is fine the way it is but that he believes Farmingdale can benefit from the change.
"Even in this economic climate there is a huge interest in doing business. We are optimistic about carrying out these plans on this site. This is not just a theory, it is a version of what we want to happen here," Speck said.
Despite these plans for expansion and growth, Bellone and Speck both agree that these plans will not come to fruition unless the MTA decides to
"Communities grow where transportation comes together. This plan surrounds around pedestrians and not only transportation," Speck said.
Other issues that could halt the reconstruction of the area include the height of the proposed structures, specifically the office buildings, and receiving the necessary approval of the multiple land owners who currently own the site.
"This isn't going to happen unless the current land owners are convinced that this is going to make them rich," Speck said.
Although there was some hesitation towards the plans from the community, Thomas Joseph Junior, who is president of the East Farmingdale Civic Association and has been a Farmingdale resident for more than 40 years, approved.
"I would love for things to be walkable. We need things to be more community friendly around here," Junior said.
Creating additional traffic was one of his main concerns about the project.
"My biggest issue is the addressing the traffic. I like that you're getting people out of their cars and taking mass transportation. I could see this working with our community if it is done the right way," Junior said.