After a decade of planning, a groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday for the Wyandanch Rising project, a public-private redevelopment project intended to transform one of Long Island’s most economically distressed communities into a “transit-oriented, pedestrian friendly, environmentally sustainable downtown.” Tri-State has long supported the project, and through funding from the One Region Funders’ Group, provided a $25,000 Transit Centered Development grant to help the project move forward in 2009.
While yesterday’s groundbreaking marks the beginning of the construction on the project’s most visible components — the buildings — work on the underlying infrastructure has been underway for nearly 18 months. The project, which Empire State Development President & CEO Kenneth Adams called “the number one priority for Regional Economic Development Councils in state,” has received additional state and federal funding to help bring it to fruition.
The broad-based support for the project was highlighted at the celebratory groundbreaking. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (who became the project’s champion during his tenure as Supervisor of the Town of Babylon) was joined by local, state and federal elected officials including Congressman Peter King, State Senator Philip Boyle, Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory, and numerous other stakeholders and project supporters from the public, private and non-profit sectors.
Construction on the project’s first two buildings, which include 37,000 square feet of retail space and 176 apartments just steps from the Wyandanch Long Island Rail Road station, is expected to be complete in 18 months.