Frank Petrone, Huntington Town Supv.
January 30, 2009 @ 12:00 am EST
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This morning Huntington Town, Supervisor, Frank Petrone discussed his administrations efforts to create a better Huntington. He credited the work of the then, town councilman, Steve Israel, and himself for forging an alliance across party lines. Israel was and is a Democrat and he was a Republican. They both saw the benefit of working together in a problem-solving mode. (Years later Petrone changed his affiliation to Democrat)
They began a process of pre-planning to anticipate opposition and meet the demands of the affected communities. Under that effort Canon was attracted to Huntington and set up their North American headquarters in the town. This R&D facility creates 2000 jobs. More importantly, it attracts thousands of other jobs.
In order recapture some of the picturesque qualities of the past, what is referred to a Huntington Village, installed ornamental lighting, brick sidewalks, and other amenities. The positive image has attracted many merchants to the Main Street area and vacancies are hard to come by.
Huntington Station on the other hand represented a much bigger challenge. There were changes made there in the past that exacerbated this poorer area. Huntington Station area has always been the residence of working class African Americans and immigrants from various places. In blighted areas, such as Huntington Station crime and drugs root themselves easier than in upscale areas. The program to “take back the blocks” was inaugurated. According to Petrone, the residences were informed and consulted and the quality citizens of the area have more recently prevailed. The fact is that a program like this could not succeed without the cooperation of the local residents.
Every effort in new housing will value the concept of a walkable community. There is a plan for more concentrated multiple dwellings that will allow for a community center and a substantial park area.
There is an effort to build out the infrastructure of sewers to accommodate growth, and that has been a daunting task. However there should be an opportunity accomplish that under a federal infusion of infrastructure money.
During the Q&A, a question about the LIRR proposed rail yard was asked. The yard will help maximize the use of the East Side Access that is currently being built. When trains from Long Island can go directly to Grand Central Station, these yards will be needed to store the additional rolling stock. This yard has caused some people to object, but they will likely be placed where the old landfill was located. This is actually in the Town of Smithtown, and while electrification to that point will be expensive, most agree that the added expense is worth it.