BID founders honored
BID movers, shakers and founders were cited at Monday night’s Patchogue Village Board meeting. Pictured (left to right) are: Ralph Zegel, Al Chiuchiolo, Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger, Gary and Nicholas Rizzi representing Vitro Rizzi, Mayor Paul Pontieri, Abie Siegel of Blum’s and Artie Fuccillo.

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BID founders honored

Story By: LINDA LEUZZI
7/16/2015


Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger introduced a resolution to hire J.R. Holzmacher Engineering as consultants for the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts renovation at $80,000 at Monday night’s village board meeting.

The renovation work, involving seating replacement, ripping up the present flooring and its restoration, fixing ceiling leaks and painting, will take place all at once, starting in January 2016. 

“This is a multifaceted process with laying out the seating to the floor,” said Mayor Paul Pontieri. “It’s a 90-year-old building, so we have to assess that the structure can handle the changes. When you walk on the floor, there seems to be some soft spots and Holzmacher has worked with us before. What will defray the costs is the $1 for each ticket sold for a theatre production and some of the money we’ll be using is also from the $1 million parks grant.” 

L.K. McLean Associates was approved to conduct a traffic study at the River Avenue and Division Street intersection, not to exceed $3,500, in a resolution introduced by Trustee Lori Devlin.

“It is a complicated intersection with three approaches of traffic and a railroad crossing grade,” said village attorney Brian Egan. “They will review traffic studies and reviews from the county and the Long Island Rail Road and will conduct vehicle counts. The board is requesting the study now so that it can consider the heavier summer traffic at that intersection. “ Egan said he expects a report back within 60 to 90 days.

The village board authorized the demolition of No. 70 and No. 180 River Avenue; No. 37 Maple Avenue was adjourned for a public hearing declaring it unsafe by the bank’s counsel, for Aug 24; No. 83-84 River Avenue was adjourned for a public hearing declaring it unsafe, for July 27. 

“Demolishing a structure is a serious step but these two houses, [No. 70 and No. 180 River Avenue], have been a black hole for the village for a long time,” Egan told the Advance. “The village code has very specific threshold procedures to require demolition. There are due process and notice steps so every bank or interested party has a chance to object or contest the building inspector’s findings that the building is unsafe.”

Egan said 180 River Avenue has been abandoned for over a decade and has attracted vagrants, graffiti and is in dangerous condition. “No. 70 River Avenue is what’s termed by popular media as a zombie house,” he added. “It’s been unoccupied and boarded up for a long time and is owned by a large bank, Credit Suisse First Boston.”

Egan said the resolution orders the building inspector to remove the structure within 60 days; the cost is assessed against the land and charged back to the owner on the next tax bill.

“The building department has worked with property owners throughout the village with varying degrees of success,” Egan added. “That often is a person’s most valuable possession. If it is in foreclosure, attacking the zombie homes is what the attorney general is tackling; it could take between four to six years to settle. So in that gray period is where these houses fall into it. The person can’t pay, the bank is going through the foreclosure; they just have a lien on it and they don’t technically own the house.”

A public hearing was set for July 27th for 88 Central Ave. 

Johnson Electrical Construction Corp. was approved to install the lighted crosswalk, currently in storage, in front of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts for a lump sum cost of $23,292.50.

A request to purchase a 2003 Ford Suburban from the Patchogue Fire District was approved for $3,500.

Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy reported that estimates for last Thursday’s Alive After Five® were between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors. “It was a very family oriented crowd without any incidents to speak of,” he said, adding that the chamber paid for extra security. Adding South Ocean Avenue to Church Street was a hit for those businesses on that stretch, he said. Family Fun Night attracted 3,000 to 5,000 visitors, he said.

The Business Improvement District was in the spotlight for a number of reasons. BID executive director Dennis Smith gave a report; the 2015 - 2016 BID budget is for $157,360. Over the past six years, the BID has received three New York State Main Street grants totaling $950,000 in seed money, which translated into $2.6 million in improvements to East and West Main Street and South Ocean Avenue that included renovated storefronts as well as six streetscape projects. The improvements this year include a security surveillance camera initiative at the front and back of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts and on a utility pole at the Four Corners.

Smith hailed Abie Siegel, Arthur Fuccillo and Vitro Rizzi, who passed away late last year, as well as John J. Roe III, as the BID’s founders.  While Roe wasn’t present to receive a plaque from Patchogue Village, Gary Rizzi and his son Nicholas represented Vitro Rizzi, and Siegel, Fuccillo and former BID executive director Ralph Zegel as well as Al Chiuchiolo were honored. 

“When the BID was created, these were the successful business people who were there at Patchogue’s heyday and when it went downhill, and we thank you for creating that BID,” said Mayor Paul Pontieri, addressing the men cited. The men were part of the original Business Use District, where they taxed themselves for downtown parking; the residents did not, he said.

“You guys are phenomenal for what you’ve done for this village,” said Siegel, who added some frank comments along with some kibitzing.