Main Street grants and ticket amnesty
Of five submitted applications, three have been approved for New York Main Street Grant funding. According to Business Improvement District executive director Dennis Smith, the committee approved the following projects:
15 Oak Street, the former Masonic Lodge. Boom Burger, he said, intends to occupy that space and use the funding to clean up the façade and create a new entryway. They will be receiving $50,000, which will be more than matched.
Westhampton Beach business partners Anthony Cicogna and Anthony Catanzaro plan to open their third Boom Burger location at that site, which will include about 10 outdoor seating tables as well as 16 indoor seats and a walkup service window.
31 Oak Street, the office building containing Congressman Lee Zeldin’s office and Dr. Esposito’s podiatric office, in addition to 12 more spaces. The owner of that building, Smith said, plans to refurbish the lobby and stairs as well as create awnings and redo the doctor’s office entrance. The owner will be given $38,000 and also about $12,000 worth of streetscape landscaping from BID, which will be providing the work.
83 South Ocean Avenue, Wallen’s Natural Food Market. With the funding, Smith said the owner wants to put up a new awning and also remediate some contained asbestos occupying pipes in the basement. The owner will receive just under $6,000, which will be matched.
Projects currently not approved but pending committee approval include: 15 North Ocean Avenue, the chamber building, which is subject to brick repointing and a paint refreshment, and 58 South Ocean Avenue, the old Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame. If approved, the chamber will receive about $10,000 and the SC Sports Hall of Fame owner about $50,000 to be more than matched.
“We are trying to finalize a plan with the owner of the hall of fame; we want to subdivide the building into four storefronts and take the heavy workload so that he can later figure out how to renovate them with interested lessees,” said Smith.
The grants were secured in December of last year and final approvals were set as of March; BID began marketing in April through May and began accepting applications through June. Currently, BID is still in their selection process with about $60,000 remaining from the original $250,000 secured. To be considered, projects must be within the targeted area on South Ocean Avenue from Terry Street to the Four Corners, North Ocean Avenue from Oak Street, and Oak Street to Jayne Avenue.
Projects seeking exterior renovations, according to Smith, are subject to Architectural Review Board approvals. Some have already been approved and work should begin in the spring.
Also, during the last village board meeting held on Monday, Nov. 13, the board approved a holiday amnesty program for all tickets remaining open in the Village Justice Court. The program will run from Dec. 1-31 and will offer a 50 percent discount on all tickets that have accrued penalties and remained unanswered at the recommendation of Village Justice Patricia Romeo.
According to the village, the court has a total of 6,000 outstanding tickets. All those with outstanding tickets will be sent a letter. The program will run at no cost to the village.
Also, later that night, trustee Susan Brinkman said she has been working with the newly formed Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War to place the Civil War Statue situated on the lawn of the American Legion, next door to Village Hall, on the National Register of Historic Places as a designated landmark. The designation, she said, would open the statue up to funding opportunities to help with the Sons’ overall fundraising efforts to restore it.
As of now, she said, she wants to put a resolution before the ARB to set a public hearing to register the statue under a historic landmark within the village itself, which will later help with national and state registration. Legis. Rob Calarco has since secured over $30,000 for the restoration of the statue within the county’s 2018 budget, which has allowed for the statue to be picked up the first week in December to begin the process.
“We want to make sure we designate it as a landmark so that it doesn’t continue to deteriorate any further,” she explained. Next, she said, will be to place the WWII cannons on the village’s landmark registry.
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