As Lynbrook and East Rockaway enter the New Year, there are many projects on the horizon. Officials have outlined redevelopment, road work and new business development as major goals for 2020.
Lynbrook Mayor Alan Beach said two blighted neighborhood properties were among his main targets for development in 2020. The first, the Lynbrook Motor Inn property, has already been designated as the site of a new apartment complex, while negotiations are continuing over the site of the vacant Mangrove Feather factory.
The Lynbrook village board voted 4-1 in November to permit the Farmingdale-based development firm Terwilliger & Bartone Properties to build a four-story, 80-unit luxury rental apartment complex on the site of the motel, formerly known as the Capri. The business, at 5 Freer St., has long been a neighborhood nuisance, with several drug and prostitution arrests having happened on or near the property, officials said.
“I think it’s wonderful, and we’re going in the right direction, and it seems very positive,” Beach said. “What’s better than getting rid of such a tremendous headache for the village?”
As for the Mangrove Feather factory, the village board has worked for years to redevelop the site, but officials have had a hard time coming to terms with its owner, Barry Singer. Since December 2017, representatives of the Garden City-based Breslin Realty Corp. have been in negotiations with Singer and village officials over purchasing the property and redeveloping it into rental apartments. Beach said he was optimistic that a deal would be struck this year. The building, at Broadway and Saperstein Place, has remained unoccupied for more than a decade.
Village officials are also negotiating with the Amityville-based LandTek Group about installing a synthetic-turf field at Greis Park, which is set to undergo a makeover after a $60,000 master plan to revamp it was completed last fall.
In addition to Greis Park, there are also plans to refurbish three “pocket parks” around the village. The Melville-based H2M architects + engineers revealed plans to renovate six parks in January 2019, and have restored three of them. The plans also include the beautification of Five Corners Park, on Broadway and Merrick Road, and the installation of a large street clock there.
Other plans for 2020 include the Merrick Road Gateway project, which will see major road work done on the thoroughfare; the opening of new restaurants in the village’s downtown; the repaving of Broadway, from Merrick Road to Sunrise Highway; an increase in commuter and shopper parking south of Sunrise Highway; and the addition of Sunday hours at the Lynbrook Public Library, from noon to 4 p.m., beginning March 1.
Chamber of Commerce President Stephen Wangel said the chamber was ready to rally behind developments that will benefit Lynbrook this year, and to get its members involved in a range of programs. Wangel noted that the village attracted media attention by being at the forefront of the fight against National Grid’s gas moratorium, which was lifted in November, and that County Executive Laura Curran chose Lynbrook as the place to host her news conference to promote Small Business Saturday in November.
“We will continue to exploit and expand on these assets,” Wangel said, “in order to attract smart development and unique business opportunities to make Lynbrook an even greater environment for business and community.”
In East Rockaway
East Rockaway Mayor Bruno Romano said that there are many projects in the works in the village this year. He added that the village board would work with county and state legislators to attract grant support for key projects.
Romano said he and the board would continue to push for completion of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s Living with the Bay initiative. LWTB is a state project, undertaken after Hurricane Sandy, to improve storm resiliency along Mill River, which runs from Hempstead Lake south to Hewlett Bay. The project would include the construction of a bulkhead on property at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School where it meets Mill River, along with drainage pipes that would run under the athletic fields. The bulkhead, school officials said, would reduce flooding at the school.
“We have noticed that millions of dollars have been spent on consulting and engineering firms, and to date we have not seen any plans or a timeline on this project,” Romano said. “From what I suspect, many companies capitalized on this opportunity, and now the remaining funding for this project has dwindled down.”
Thehbia Hiwot, executive director of NY Rising Housing Recovery, Buyout and Acquisition Programs, told the Herald in October that the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery was “working closely with the school district to finalize an adjusted scope of work and project management agreement.”
Romano said he also planned to continue to join other elected officials in the fight to restore the Nassau Inter-County Express’s N36 bus route — which was eliminated in 2017 and was the only line that served East Rockaway.
In 2020, village officials will also continue to grow the downtown business district by expediting Building Department permits; introduce legislation to ban Airbnbs in the village; and celebrate a new Oktoberfest event, which will replace the annual Stars & Stripes festival. Romano said the change was made because safety and insurance issues have arisen over the fireworks display that closes the annual event, after new condominiums were developed near the waterfront.
Though he said he was disappointed about the fireworks, Romano said he looked forward to ushering in a new tradition in East Rockaway, and to the year ahead. “We have an outstanding team in our community,” he said, “and we’re always looking for quality-of-life issues, and ways on how we may continue to make East Rockaway a wonderful village to live in.”
Editor's note: A previous version of this story erroneously stated the Greis Park master plan cost $60 million. The actual cost was $60,000. We regret the error.