A snapshot of our changing community
If one word could summarize the last year in Westbury/Carle Place, it would probably be “progress.” In numerous aspects of community life, major projects have gotten underway with others slated to begin in the coming months. Here is a snapshot of the projects we’re watching.
Lesso Renovates The Source Mall
In 2017, Hong Kong-listed Lesso Group Holdings Ltd. announced its $92 million purchase of The Source Mall. The mall, which had long been in decline, will soon see new life as a home furnishings destination, complete with new restaurants, community centers and co-working space for interior designers.
While a number of existing businesses will continue to serve the community, such as Fortunoff Fine Jewelry and the Cheesecake Factory, the renovations did force others to find new homes.
School District Bond Approved
In May, Westbury School District voters approved a $58,585,000 bond for projects at Westbury middle and high schools. The tax-neutral bond, to be financed over 17 years, will not only provide for necessary infrastructure work, but build classroom space to alleviate overcrowding at the schools. The work includes the construction of 14 modular classrooms at Westbury Middle School, as well as 12 at the high school.
Third Track Work Begins
It’s a project decades in the making. And while various iterations of it have crashed and burned, last year’s approval of the Long Island Rail Road’s third track project will have long-lasting effects on Westbury and Carle Place. Early stages of work have begun on the project, which will include infrastructure upgrades and the elimination of seven grade crossings (including those at School Street and at Urban Avenue) along the Main Line from Floral Park to Hicksville.
The project includes numerous upgrades to the Carle Place train station, including platform replacement and additions like canopies, shelters and benches, as well as CCTV security cameras, ADA compliant mobility improvements, USB charging stations and digital information displays. New bike racks and artwork are also on the docket. Construction on the station is expected to begin at the end of the year and run until the second quarter of 2020.
Westbury will see similar station upgrades, with platform replacements, platform canopies, new benches, shelters and signage, new CCTV security cameras, ADA compliant elevators, ramps and overpasses, Wi-Fi and a pocket park. The pedestrian tunnel will be expanded, and new bike racks and artwork are set to be installed. The station will stay open throughout the construction, which is expected to begin later this year and be completed in 2022.
Also on the to-do list is the replacement of the Cherry Lane bridge in Carle Place. Built in 1953 and currently standing at 12 feet, 10 inches, the bridge will be replaced with one that is 14-feet-high in early 2019. Westbury commuters will also see parking relief in the form of two additional parking garages, on the north and south side of the LIRR tracks.
The Village of Westbury wasted no time in taking advantage of the $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds granted to them by the state in 2016. Last year saw the approval of seven priority projects and 2018 has been marked by ongoing advancements, including the purchase of a space for Westbury Arts (which will allow them a permanent home for performances and meetings, as well as a gallery and workspace for classes), and a grant program to incentive business owners to upgrade their facades. In the coming year, residents can expect to see the starting of major streetscape improvements and upgrades to the community and senior center, as well as the opening of the Westbury Arts building.