Rising and beyond

Sustainable Long Island continues to assist the Town and the community on numerous initiatives, such as aiming to create work-force housing, extending Babylon’s sewer system into the hamlet of Wyandanch, and spearheading a local business association to create support for future economic development in the community.

In 2003, Sustainable Long Island facilitated a community-based planning event called “Wyandanch Rising,” for the hamlet of Wyandanch in central Suffolk County, in partnership with the Town of Babylon and Wyandanch Weed & Seed. Wyandanch Rising brought together over 500 homeowners, renters, business and property owners, civic groups, clergy, planners, architects, and government officials from June 5-9, 2003. Over the course of those five days, the participants crafted the first comprehensive plan for the community in over a generation.

In September 2004, the Town of Babylon adopted the Wyandanch vision plan and immediately began moving forward with the plan’s implementation. Goals set forth by the vision plan include a family-style restaurant, bicycle lanes, on-street parking, wider and better-lit sidewalks, safer crosswalks, mixed-use buildings, and community clean-up initiatives. Longer-term goals included the development of civic groups, public art, community festivals, and the beautification of building facades. From thousands invested from the Town of Babylon for community planning, tens of millions of dollars has resulted for infrastructure improvements.

Sustainable Long Island remains engaged in the implementation phase of Wyandanch’s downtown revitalization campaign.

In 2007, the United States Postal Service was going to build a post office in Wyandanch with barbed wire and bullet proof glass.  Not only did this set the wrong tone for the community, but it went against what had been laid out in the sustainable community plan.  With the support of Sustainable Long Island and the Town of Babylon, the Wyandanch community convinced the USPS to rethink their plans for the post office and the community now has a beautiful, prosperous post office on Straight Path.

To sustain the momentum of long-term revitalization efforts such as this, it is essential that the engagement of the entire community be continued. In early 2010, Sustainable Long Island conducted targeted outreach to the Wyandanch community with emphasis on a weeklong charrette process, which would review progress, identify achievements and discuss opportunities and strategies for the implementation of the Wyandanch Rising Visioning Project. Sustainable Long Island facilitated two community meetings in late April to convene members of the Wyandanch community, Wyandanch Implementation Committee, and design team to refine the ideas presented during the Wyandanch Rising process – one of which was the goal to create a walkable, mixed-use community and vibrant downtown center around the train station.  Nine firms collaborated to incorporate finance, landscape, marketing, building, and design to create an implementable, financially feasible plan for downtown Wyandanch.

Sustainable Long Island assisted the Town of Babylon with outreach for a design charrette during the NYS BOA Program. The Final NYS BOA Program Step 1 and 2 have been completed. Implementation of transit-oriented-development projects are ongoing as part of the larger ‘Wyandanch Rising’ project. The project currently in the design phase of major site improvements, which will ultimately encompass a 40-acre redevelopment of a major portion of the downtown area along Straight Path. The first phase is concentrated in the vicinity of the Wyandanch railroad station and will consist of a new and relocated railroad station, a town-square park and four new three- and four-story mixed-use buildings that will contain approximately 280 apartments above neighborhood-type retail occupants.

Wyandanch Vision Plan