Bringing people together
Sustainable Long Island has prepared the Farmingville community plan and it has been accepted by the town of Brookhaven. The core of the Community Plan is the creation of a revitalized hamlet center along Horseblock Road with landscaping, street furniture such as benches, lighting and trash cans, and a variety of locally-owned businesses.
Farmingville is a small, unincorporated hamlet in central Suffolk County, just north of the Long Island Expressway, nestled between CR-97 and CR-83 – two major north-south thoroughfares. Its history is typical of small suburban communities, starting as a farming community and slowly developing into a quiet residential community with strip commercial development. Farmingville has seen an influx of recent immigrants, particularly from Latin America, causing tensions in the community, which has been divided over the issue of immigration and the presence of day laborers. Recently some of the heat surrounding this issue has dissipated, but hard feelings still remain and the community continues to struggle to come together.
With the issues in mind, Sustainable Long Island facilitated a Community Planning Process in 2009 that included preparatory meetings, a best practices tour, focus group sessions, and the community planning weekend, led by nationally known land use planning expert Dan Burden.
Among the goals of the Farmingville Community Planning Process were to bring together a divided community and to build a consensus of diverse ideas through the creation and implementation of a sustainable community plan. The project gave hope to residents that it would help unify the community and create a new, more positive image for Farmingville. This project presented an opportunity to bring people together, focusing on positive change and proactive, positive participation in the planning process.
The Community Planning Process revealed several common overarching goals, including developing a positive community identity and a stronger sense of place that will distinguish Farmingville from the surrounding area.
During the Community Planning Weekend several priorities became clear:
- Preserve the small-town feel which is the essence of Farmingville
- Foster community pride and enhance community identity
- Calm traffic and make the area more inviting to pedestrians
- Landscape and further beautify the community
- Create public space and define a town or “hamlet center”
- Strengthen the local economy, particularly small, locally owned businesses
- Expand and enhance recreational opportunities
To achieve these goals, community members articulated over 60 recommendations in the community plan, including increasing pedestrian and bicycle safety; more parks and recreation areas with a variety of activities for all ages, especially youth; trees along Horseblock Road and other landscaping and beautification; traffic calming measures to slow travel congestion, and improve flow and pedestrian safety. The core of the Community Plan is the creation of a revitalized hamlet center along Horseblock Road with landscaping, street furniture such as benches, lighting and trash cans, and a variety of locally-owned businesses.