OP-ED: Housing, the essential ingredient for Patchogue's economic renaissance
BY PETER J. ELKOWITZ, PRESIDENT/CEO
LONG ISLAND HOUSING PARTNERSHIP INC.
There is no question that Patchogue Village has reinvented itself and become a top Long Island destination both for living and working, as it has benefited from new economic development and job creation in the last 15 years.
A model for downtown revitalization, Patchogue has been widely recognized as one of the most transformative villages on Long Island, earning accolades from the Long Island Index, the Long Island Housing Partnership, the Regional Planning Association and Vision Long Island.
As various housing developments have sprung up, so have many new businesses and recreational activities, and there are more feet on the street to patronize local merchants, giving new vibrancy to Patchogue’s downtown.
New Village, Copper Beech, Artspace, Riverwalk, Riverview and Seacrest Village have a combined total of 663 housing units, all within walking distance of Patchogue’s downtown commercial district and its Long Island Rail Road station.
The Long Island Housing Partnership has participated in the development of affordable housing and has provided valuable technical assistance to multifamily housing developers in the Patchogue community. The public/private partnership between developers and nonprofits has helped turned a once downtrodden village into one of Long Island’s gems.
The village’s revitalization has been contagious, leading to upgrades and improvements at existing entertainment venues like the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts and expansion of the village’s cultural scene, with Artspace, Gather Art Studio and clubs and restaurants featuring live music.
And, unlike most places on Long Island, Patchogue is getting younger. The average age of a Patchogue resident is 35, seven years younger than the Suffolk County average age of 42.
The prosperity sowed in the village’s business district has also spread to its residential community, boosting property values. The median home sales price in July 2019 was $340,000, more than 26 percent higher than the $268,384 median from just two years ago.
A study by the Long Island Regional Planning Council touted Patchogue’s revitalization and found it accounted for $693.3 million in economic growth from 2000 to 2017. According to the report, Patchogue’s rebound is likely to continue, with an estimated $239 million in economic growth and more than 2,500 new jobs expected through 2029 as a result of more development projects in the pipeline. There’s a lot more to come.
And though it’s getting younger, Patchogue is a community for all ages.
Despite claims of NIMBYs, the Patchogue-Medford School District has reaped financial benefits.
From 2006 to 2017, the school district recorded:
$6,614,297 Estimated tax levies
-$1,180,000 Estimated educational costs
$5,434,297 Estimated surplus revenue
The estimated costs are based upon the 40 enrolled students living in the 663 housing units as of Dec. 14, 2018. This surplus revenue will increase substantially as the Industrial Development Agency tax abatement given to New Village decreases.
A new 128-unit assisted living development called Village Walk Senior Living will allow residents no longer able to live at home to stay in the community and take advantage of the thriving downtown. The complex has a movie theatre, a wellness center, activity room and a wine room for happy hour. It has a bistro and dining area, where residents can have three meals a day. It also includes housekeeping services, laundry and a free car service for short trips.
An upgrade to five existing Patchogue parks is also underway, thanks to a private $5 million donation. With the support of an additional NYS grant of $2.5 million, Shorefront Park, in particular, is being redesigned with a living shoreline and a pedestrian boardwalk that will go from Mascot Dock to the softball field. The boardwalk will be ADA compliant and will have lighting, plantings and benches.
Meanwhile, the myriad new housing opportunities serving various income levels, as well as transformative thinking by local officials and business and civic leaders, have proven to be the main catalyst for the village’s ongoing revival.
Patchogue understands that it needs to provide housing for all — despite age, race, national origin, color, religion, sex, disability, income level, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, creed — and it has made decisions that have yielded success and prosperity.
And now, Patchogue continues to enjoy a true renaissance.
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