Aiding the parks plan with grants
Patchogue Village Parks and Recreation director Maria Giustizia, Trustee Joe Keyes, Community Development Agency executive director Marian Russo and BID executive director and special assistant to the mayor Dennis Smith discuss the parks project at Shorefront Park.


Aiding the parks plan with grants


Don’t worry. Work is progressing on Patchogue parks.

But the $5 million gift to the village by an anonymous donor will only stretch so far.

The overall assessment by VHB of Hauppauge and Quennell Rothschild & Partners presented to residents last October, along with comments from the resident questionnaire, for amenities to Shorefront, Waldbauer, Father Tortura, Belzak and Four Sisters parks totaled $17 million.

So, village officials are applying for grants in an effort to address priorities and bring down the figure with matching grants closer to around $10 million.

Three grants are in the works, said Dennis Smith, special assistant to the mayor and executive director of BID. They were sent out last Friday.

Community Development Agency executive director Marian Russo said the village has applied for a LWRP Implementation grant via the New York State Department of State Coastal Resources with $202,345 from the private donation and is hoping for a 50 percent matching grant from the state to fund the total Local Waterfront Revitalization application cost at $404,395. The grant would, among other things, cover engineering and permitting costs.

“The plans are for Living Shoreline replacement of the bulkhead with rip-rap rocks, which will control the waves, ” Russo said. “Engineering will have to go out 100 feet, plus there is a 6-foot-high swale and on top will be a walkway.

“The goal is to fast-track it with this engineering application and have plans ready for construction funding next year.”

The second grant will address more amenities at Father Tortora Park. An application for $394,000, again with private donor funds, to New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Restoration was made, for a 50 percent match.

Parks and Recreation director Maria Giustizia said they are hoping to make landscaping improvements, benches, soft-shade structures, water filling stations and a possible quarter-mile track. “If we’re not awarded the grant, we have another plan as a backup and can go forward in 2017,” Giustizia said.

A Suffolk County Water Quality grant requesting a match of $250,000 with the donor funds would address Little Creek that runs behind the Shorefront Park bandshell. “We have to show how we’ll improve water quality,” said Trustee Joe Keyes of that grant. 

Keyes said a lot of the flooding in the area stems from the creek. “There’s no flow in the creek and it backs up,” he explained. “This grant’s project would reset the culverts with a different pitch and remove the concrete vault. It would also eliminate storm runoff.”

Smith pointed out that $350,000 of the $5 million was targeted to new seats for the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. “The theatre seats are in and we also did a questionnaire and mailing and hired Quennell Rothschild for a scoping plan of the five parks,” he said of other costs.

Smith, Russo, Giustizia and Keyes are part of a special parks committee to ensure all the parks are addressed, not just Shorefront. Russo said Port Jefferson Village took 10 years to unfold its waterfront project; village officials are hoping their plan will be sooner. “As far as Shorefront is concerned, we’re hoping for construction in 2018 if we get matching funds for the construction,” said Russo of the most complicated project.

Smith pointed out Roberto Clemente Park’s redo cost $500,000. On the day of its opening in May, NYS Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville) announced $125,000 in DASNY state money.

The six tennis courts at Four Sisters Park on Rider Avenue were started that month with Department of Public Works staffers addressing the resurfacing, including two of the courts for pickleball and the basketball courts, bringing costs down. They also took down a cottage on the property that required asbestos remediation.

The resolution that passed last week designating Mayor Paul Pontieri and Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger to act on behalf of the village in matters pertaining to the Local Waterfront Revitalization program was necessary for the Shorefront Park grant application. 

“It was part of the criteria for the grant,” Smith said. “We had to have a resolution from a municipality to apply.”

Pontieri said the $620,000 2016 State and Municipal Facilities Capital Program money that included funding for a fishing pier at Sandspit as well as sidewalks was based on the village’s Storefront to Shorefront initiative, where people can shop and enjoy Main Street restaurants, but also have a way to enjoy the parks.

Seventy percent of the village’s population ranges from school age to 54, he said. “We’re growing with young families,” he said. “People come here not just for housing; it’s a whole package, whether they walk to downtown or to the water.”