A focus on Neighborhood Road

Town officials are zeroing in on plans to revitalize Neighborhood Road in Mastic Beach, after it became a top priority once Mastic Beach Village was dissolved at the end of 2017.

At a meeting of the Pattersquash Creek Civic Association on Monday, councilman Dan Panico and supervisor Ed Romaine discussed ways to improve the area. Panico said engineering firm Nelson & Pope had been hired to do a blight study around the business district, which will look at ways to clean up the area before any redevelopment. The officials said this is the first step in any revitalization plan. The plan should be ready by October.

“We will not allow eyesores to flourish in this community,” Romaine said.

Panico and Romaine are looking to make Neighborhood Road a small “hub” for activity, where people can feel comfortable and patronize the businesses that are there. Romaine likened the idea to the area around the Ronkonkoma train station, which started the process about nine years ago to revitalize the area, and is now seeing construction. Officials also want to see more structure in the area, and a higher police presence. They are working with the county to bring a “change of duty” station for the Suffolk County Police to use behind the new ambulance company building.

“The first thing you have to establish is law and order,” Panico said.

Panico and Romaine highlighted the demolitions that have been taking place in Mastic Beach since its dissolution, removing unoccupied, abandoned homes and restoring those parcels to wetlands when applicable. There have been about 50 homes taken down and only about a dozen or so to go. Most of the properties are in the hands of banks when taken down.

Community Library Plan

The Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library presented its budget on Monday, which was approved/denied in a vote Tuesday. The library is asking for $28 per household this year, after keeping the budget level for three years straight. The increase is $364,000. They want to use the money to rent the old village hall in Mastic Beach to use as an annex to the main Shirley facility.

Due to voters rejecting an earlier plan for a new library in a bond vote, officials are working to deliver a new plan to either renovate the current space or come up with an alternate option. If the space is renovated, the library would have to be evacuated for 18 to 24 months, and the village hall space could be a temporary location. But officials said they want it to eventually be permanent, as they rent to own the space. The cost for the village hall would be within the library’s operating budget.

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