$5.2M secured for Waverly Avenue Spur
Earlier this week, deputy presiding officer Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) announced that he has secured $5 million in county funding for improvements to County Road 19, the spur connecting Waverly and West avenues in Patchogue. Improvements will include traffic flow changes, pedestrian safety and new green space on Patchogue Lake.
“This is a pretty exciting project,” said Calarco, explaining the 20 years in the making of reconstructing the decades-old spur and the struggle to remove a once-existent fence during his seven years in office. “It will remove all the invasive species for a view to the lake and include some nice green space with walking paths, bike lanes and a small gazebo.”
Original plans to include an approximately $1 million project to rehabilitate the dirt parking lot behind Bargain Bilge next to the existing spur through condemnation were dropped. According to Calarco, instead of spending money on litigation with unwilling-to-sell property owners, the county has decided to reallocate that funding to support the parking garage project, which will potentially be located in the county Sixth District Court parking lot. It would be slated as an entirely different project.
“We dropped that portion of that project because of the condemnation issue; instead, we are looking to repurpose funds to facilitate the parking garage,” explained Calarco. “We felt that with the amount of spaces we would have gotten out of that location and going through litigation, that money is much better used for the parking garage with far more spaces.”
The owner of the property, Athene Ziglis, a Patchogue resident and former owner of the Island Grille diner, said she was happy with the decision and is currently working on a potential project proposal for that property to present to the board.
The parking lot, according to Village of Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri, would have only created about 65 spaces, whereas the garage will create upwards of 200 spots and is still within walking distance of the spur. The garage is currently being designed with the intent to utilize prefabrication. In addition to the county funds, another $1.7 million has been applied for through the state and the rest will be supported through parking meter funds and a bond at no cost to the taxpayer. That project will also still include the addition of a rapid transit bus stop connecting to the Nicolls Road corridor through a separate allocation of funds.
The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously passed the resolution to allocate the funds for the spur as of the Nov. 20 general meeting. According to the Legislature, the area is an important entrance to Patchogue Village, positioned between the new Blue Point Brewery, the New Village development, and the suggested site for a hotel.
“The rebuilding of the spur and moving the lane eastbound to the south will really open up that whole area as parkland,” said Pontieri, pleased with the project. “It will also work well for the movement of traffic, emergency services and the new Blue Point Brewery … this project really has a lot of benefits and positive pieces to it.”
The westbound road will be moved into the current median to create a green space on Patchogue Lake for residents and visitors to gain access to the lake for recreational activities. Additionally, a new traffic circle will be implemented to allow for better flow of traffic and the fire department to more rapidly respond to calls south of Main Street.
“The traffic circle will be much better for the fire department, especially. They have been having trouble getting south of Main Street and will now be able to come around and head straight south with less traffic,” Calarco assured.
The spur is also a major access point to the new headquarters of the Blue Point Brewery, which purchased the former site of Briarcliffe College in 2017. Blue Point began operating at the new site earlier this year and is expected to publicly open in the next few months.
The project will also include a $200,000 allocation of county funds for stormwater runoff improvements, including new catch basins and four bioretention areas, as well as the removal of invasive species for a better view.
“These improvements bring a lot of really important benefits to Patchogue Village,” added Calarco. “It will improve access to our vibrant downtown areas, create an incredible green space and highlight some of our great attractions.”
The county is currently finalizing design plans and will put the project out to bid in 2019. Once awarded, construction will begin.
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