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Plans for New Downtown Center in East Farmingdale Revealed

Town of Babylon Supervisor unveiled plans for new downtown area on Route 110 to the community.

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.

betty papagno April 18, 2011 at 06:35 PM
If this has been in discussion since 2002 no wonder Stew Leonards got shot down. Now we can have perhaps an apartment complex, sports complex and maybe a skating rink. What happened to public safety because of the airport???????
cinque35 April 18, 2011 at 08:19 PM
This is the best thing that could happen to this area. Right now it consists of an abandoned garbage filled lot (where Stew Leonards was going), across from that.. a lot full of construction trailers (with no sidewalks on either side), across 110.. a giant mulch pile that smells like manure, several abandoned factories and buildings and even Airport Plaza is mostly a large sprawling unused parking lot. Other places in the country that underwent a transformation like this became extremely desirable places to live and surrounding property valves increased.
Andrew B. Herzman April 19, 2011 at 04:55 AM
I want to know more about the RailRoad Station.
Tanii April 19, 2011 at 11:18 AM
With all of the budget cuts/fair hikes the MTA is making I doubt they would really want to open up another station that would A. have to be refurbished and B. Maintained unless there would be a serious draw to the area. As an ex-Brooklynite it would have to take something pretty spectacular to get me out of my borough, on to the subway then onto the railroad (which the Ronkonkoma line is not that frequent and quite expensive for the young people in question) out to the middle of nowhere Farmingdale. If they are trying to target the college crowd, opening the railroad station is pointless and despite the fact that gas is 4.09 a gallon I doubt people are going to drive to the railroad station (in whatever town they are in) park their car to pay to get on the railroad, LI public transportation is just not set up at that way. Now back to the issue of young people and jobs, a convention center and sports facility will not create the "high" paying jobs young people are expecting these days. 110 is littered with aging, dated and empty and in some cases down right UGLY office buildings. Building more of the same isn't going to bring businesses/salary jobs to the area. Do I have an answer right now as to what will? I'm still working on it...I've only been in Farmingdale for 5 years and have a bit more research before I continue to blather.
cinque35 April 19, 2011 at 12:22 PM
This is not "more of the same" try attending one of the several meetings before you talk. This is a walkable village center with town homes & parks, not an office complex.
Tanii April 19, 2011 at 01:01 PM
While I agree I should get to meeting, I am basing my opinion on the article above sounds like more of the same in terms of constructing office buildings of trying to "attract new high paying jobs". I honestly hope that plans for that area really are community oriented rather just another mall/empty office space with prefab townhouses houses around it.
Lawrence DeMarco April 19, 2011 at 03:18 PM
There are many things this article doesn't touch upon such as the Bus rapid Transit System that is part of the overall plan. It is believed that the incorporation of such a system along with the reopened train station and also the fact that the entire area of development is walkable within a 5-10 minute period of time would make this area desirable to many people. There would not be as much of a need to drive every where. This would also add a lot of money to the local revenue stream. At the meetings it was pointed out that developments such as this have been quite successful throughout the country.
Tanii April 19, 2011 at 04:04 PM
It's a shame that this whole plan virtually hinges in the MTA.
cinque35 April 20, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Have to agree with that, if it were up to the MTA nothing will ever get done. Hopefully something can be done on the state level..

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