2013-10-16 / Columnists
This committee is composed of residents and non-residents with a stake in our community and is charged with the task of devising a comprehensive, possibly cutting-edge plan to improve our downtown. The goal is to make Amityville a destination similar to other Villages such as Babylon, Patchogue and Bay Shore to our east and Massapequa Park to our west.
We certainly are behind the curve in this undertaking. Patchogue and Bay Shore began their comebacks in the mid 1990s. The Village of Westbury formed its revitalization committee in 1999 and recently opened a performing arts center as an anchor to its downtown. Better late than never!
However, our Village downtown has one very significant obstacle we do not share with those other destination Village shopping areas. Unfortunately, we have a four-lane state road bisecting our business district. Or, as I have described it, “the Indy 500 smack in the middle of our downtown.” Picture other successful Village business districts; all are two-lane boulevards limiting vehicle speed and easing street parking . Certainly, the current four-lane status of Broadway/Route 110 constitutes a significant hurdle to overcome.
And, who better to tackle this problem head on than the eight new members of our Downtown Revitalization Committee? They are: Tom Howard and Joanne Goodman (co-chairs), Warren Cohn, Dan DeMarco, Tracy Cullen, Peter Keller, Steve Greenwald and Marguerite Kohler.
Seven more committee members will be chosen by the core eight so as to complete the committee of 15. All interested residents and stakeholders should submit brief resumes to me at Village Hall. I’ll pass them on to the committee.
All will be kept busy with such issues as design, parking, architecture, zoning, preserving open space, arts and cultural center and doing all while preserving and enhancing Amityville’s own unique historic fabric.
I would be remiss by not pointing out our current strengths. Long-time anchor merchants, Amityville Men’s Shop, Berger Brothers, Cameta Camera, Barkley Shades, etc. all bring in shoppers from far and wide.
Mike Esposito has certainly begun a restaurant renaissance with Vittorio’s and Vero. And, how about Park Avenue Grill, Cornucopia and Amityville’s own classic— Peter’s Diner? Let’s also not forget the fine eateries on Merrick Road including Better Bagel, Raimos, Villa D’Avanzo, Bellissimo’s Liki Sushi and the Bulldog Grille.
The pieces are in place for the Downtown Revitalization Committee to begin the effort to make Amityville a 21st Century Destination Downtown. Now we start.