The Kings Park community is trying to spruce up its downtown area by using a strategy that's already proven to be successful in nearby Suffolk County towns.
With close to 25 percent of the storefronts on Main Street empty, Chamber of Commerce President Tony Tanzi says the town has not yet recovered from the closure of the Kings Park Psychiatric Center which drove the economy in the North Shore town for decades.
“When the hospital closed in 1995, it kind of left a void here on Main Street that has not been filled. So, we're faced with a downtown that's aging. There's no real investment happening.
But now community leaders say they have a plan that should inject some life into the sleepy downtown.
The project would call for around 300 rental units that would be built around the train station. A strategy meant to attract young professionals, as well as trendy shops and restaurants, and that has already been implemented in towns like Farmingdale and Patchogue.
“They want to live in these communities that are more vibrant. They don't want to get into their car to go places,” Tanzi explained.
Some residents say they're not sure if Kings Park can handle the influx of newcomers but they might be willing to give it a try if it means they'll one day have a nicer downtown.
Tanzi says installing a sewer system will also be key to revitalizing the downtown area.
Before Tanzi and others start implementing their ideas to jumpstart the community, town officials will have to look over the plan.