Rockville Centre seeks $10 million state grant

Proposal calls for bike path, center for teenagers, more green space


Rockville Centre could see the addition of green space, a new teen center and several upgrades to the area around its Long Island Rail Road station and parking lots if it can secure a $10 million state grant.

The village recently applied for the grant, which would be part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. In its fourth year, the program will invest $100 million in 10 downtown neighborhoods across the state. One community from Long Island will be chosen, said Suzanne Sullivan, the village’s director of community development, and the decision will be made in the next few months.

Participating communities are nominated by the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown’s potential for transformation, and each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization.

“We apply for this $10 million grant every year,” Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray said at a village board meeting last month. “They haven’t gotten to us yet, but we aren’t going to give up.”

Among the plans outlined in the grant, village spokeswoman Julie Scully told the Herald, are a bike path through the village and additional lockers under the elevated railroad tracks so that commuters can store their bikes and helmets.

The bike path, which Sullivan said the village is seeking for the first time through this grant, would run from the Rev. Morgan Days Park, under the train station and along Morris Avenue, as far north as DeMott Avenue.

“Having a dedicated bike lane will make cycling to the station and downtown area a more attractive option,” Scully wrote in an email.

The village would also fix the pavement under the station, which Murray said is “really, really in bad shape,” and add LED lighting, plants and street furniture.

For improvements to the village’s parking fields, officials would focus on those closest to the train station. They would be redesigned to optimize space and use green technology, such as permeable pavement, to help filter storm water and mitigate flooding. There would also be charging stations for zero-emissions vehicles and more bike racks and lockers there, “encouraging residents and visitors to utilize other forms of transportation instead of just traditional cars,” according to Scully.

Murray also noted at the meeting that the village would like to acquire the former Nassau Inter-County Express bus depot on Banks Avenue. The depot shut down in April 2017, and operations were consolidated into the Mitchel Field Depot in Garden City, according to NICE spokesman Andy Kraus, the Herald reported at the time.

“I let the county executive know I wanted it,” Murray told the Herald on Monday.

The depot could become a center where teenagers go for recreation, he added, and green space could be added. In the plan, it would also offer young adults access to social workers, according to Sullivan.

Discussions about acquiring the property have not yet taken place, Murray said.