Village of Patchogue, New York
Where inspiration abounds
Business View Magazine interviews representatives of the Village of Patchogue, New York for our focus on Economic Development in U.S. Communities
The Village of Patchogue, New York is remarkable for a bevy of reasons. Its natural beauty and rich heritage, the spirit of volunteerism, the ability of groups to work together – but perhaps the most outstanding attribute is the dedication and community passion that Patchogue Mayor, Paul Pontieri, is recognized and lauded for.
A fine example came to light with the ‘Main Street High School Prom’. Village Trustee Lori Devlin explains, “The Mayor did not want to see another year going by without the Senior Class being able to enjoy a prom because of the pandemic, so he came up with the idea to close Main Street in June of 2021 and create an outdoor prom. The village restaurants worked together to create the menu and cook the meals which were staged in the lobby of the theater. A red carpet was created for each couple to make their entrance and the kids had a great time. It was such a hit that it is planned again for 2022.”
Patchogue has been blessed with many businesses opening in its downtown core recently – nine ribbon cuttings in April alone. “We’re really on a roll,” says Devlin, “and most of the new businesses are restaurants. Main Street is hopping and we’ve seen a lot of adaptive reuse of historic buildings downtown being given new life.” Mayor Pontieri adds, “It’s always been that way here, for a hundred years. These places change who they are and what they are but keep the authentic elements in place.”
When it comes to housing stock, over 650 residential units have been built since 2006 within walking distance of the downtown. According to the Mayor, “What we’ve tried to do is mix it between rentals and for sale. There was an old Budweiser warehouse that became 126 condos; a development called Copper Beach, which are townhouses but 50 percent affordable; and we have Artspace – a 45-unit development offering affordable housing for artists. We also have a waterfront development called Riverwalk with 36 townhouses, and Bay Village has 62 units at the south end of town, where there is a lot of Victorian homes. Bay Village incorporated many of those architectural features in the condominium designs, which is a really unique looking site.”
The village had to be very nimble in its approach to doing business during the pandemic. Public meetings, including BOT, Planning, Zoning and CDA were held by Zoom, permitting the public to conference in. Garbage pickup was modified with fewer men on a truck and residents were asked to bring their cans to the curb. It was important for the village to support the local business community.
One such effort created an outdoor dining area each Sunday in the warmer weather. Main Street was closed for the afternoon and restaurants were permitted to extend their outdoor dining into the street.
Parks and Recreation developed innovative programming that could be conducted outdoors such as the Walk-Through Zoo, Goat Yoga and Trunk or Treat. And in a superb display of illumination, the local arts council turned the village into an outdoor museum during weekends in October & December with its program ‘MoCA Lights’, which created artist-designed projects on iconic village buildings. Issues of ventilation had to be addressed in village buildings, including the 1000 seat Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts, which was shuttered for more than a year. Plans are now in place to add a second floor to the back of the theater to create space for dressing rooms and classrooms – a $2 million project.
On the technology front, the pandemic was the impetus for the village to update their website and develop a virtual meeting system. Now all meetings are broadcast live on YouTube and archived there on the village channel. The village also embarked on a multi-year records management project with records being digitized in a manner that will be able to be accessed by the public through the website. “The goal is to move from paper to a fully electronic records keeping system,” says Devlin. “We see technology as a clear benefit in terms of improved productivity and efficiency of village services.”
In ‘green’ news, the village embarked on an energy efficiency program with Johnson Controls, who designed and implemented an energy saving program that included replacing the aging boiler in Village Hall, installing new thermostats, LED lighting, and solar panels in village buildings. A solar carport is also being installed in one of the municipal lots. The goal is for the energy savings to offset the expense associated with the project which was funded with a bond.
Village officials and staff are adept at finding funding through grants and appropriations. According to Devlin, “We will be embarking on an $12 million waste-water treatment plant expansion, funded by NY State Department of Environmental Conservation Water Quality Improvement Project ($7.7 million) and a federal infrastructure appropriation through Senators Schumer Gillibrand and Congressman Zeldin ($3.5 million). The plan will permit expansion of the sewer infrastructure beyond the village into surrounding communities to the east and west. This makes it a project of regional significance which will spur economic development in those communities and help them deal with their aging septic systems while protecting the bay from nitrogen pollution.” The village is also embarking on a plan to connect 500 homes in the south end of the village to the treatment plant with $21 million in funding from New York State. This will be a phased project with Phase 1 commencing in 2022/2023.
“Patchogue is open for business,” exclaims Mayor Pontieri. “We have proven that public investment creates the value needed to encourage private development and in the long run raise property values for the residents.” New business investment includes a Starbucks which just opened in the downtown, the first one ever in the village. NYU Langone Health has acquired the LI Community Hospital in East Patchogue and is in negotiations to establish an outpatient facility on Main Street on the site of a 53,000 sq ft former Burlington Coat Factory department store which has been vacant for several years. The Mayor notes, “NYU Langone want their doctors to be close to their facility, so we contacted them about this building that was available, and they’re going to be making it into a surgical center and medical offices. For a small village, being able to turnover an empty building of that size is difficult at best, and I think we got lucky. They’re going to be a wonderful community partner.”
Giving credit where it’s due, Mike Kelly of the Kelly Development Group, states, “You need a strong municipal board that has political courage to develop on Long Island. Mayor Pontieri and his administration personify those characteristics. When Paul came to office, his goal was to bring development back to Patchogue. He had a great vision and he’s executing on that vision. He’s the prototype of who a municipal leader should be. Paul has always had great team members on his administrations – everybody’s a pleasure to do business with – and he should be commended for that.”
Even more good news… Great South Bay Music Festival, the largest and longest-running music festival in Long Island, is coming back to Patchogue this year for the first time since 2019. According to Festival Promoter Jim Faith, “We’re anticipating that this will be the biggest iteration of the festival that we’ve ever run and is expected to inject over $5 million into the economy in one week. Mayor Pontieri is a big reason why the festival is still going, he’s been a great ambassador and supporter of the event.”
The Village of Patchogue continues to pursue revitalization and economic development. Devlin reports, “Our multi-year parks project continues with a splash park and new tennis and pickleball courts planned for 2022. We always look for a good visual aesthetic in any proposed projects and continue to grow our arts and cultural assets with public art projects in partnership with our Community Development Agency and the Patchogue Arts Council. I’m just excited to see what the next evolution is because we have so many amazing things happening.”
Summing it up with his personal take on the village he adores, Mayor Pontieri shares, “Our growth and success isn’t driven by anybody, but by everybody. Whether it’s the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Improvement District, Lori in the village hall, the building and the highway departments… we’ve put together that team of people and I think that’s what communities have to look at – working together and not doing battle over the “stupid stuff.” It’s worked for us!”
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AT A GLANCE
Village of Patchogue, New York
What: An ambitious waterfront community; population 12,500
Where: South shore of Long Island, Suffolk County, New York
Rechler Equity Partners – www.rechlerequity.com
Patchogue Village has become a destination for both tourism and Long Islanders looking for an exciting place to live. The bustling downtown community is home to fine dining, quality retail stores, exciting nightlife and entertainment while serving as a model for redevelopment done right.
All of this is due to the vision and leadership of Mayor Paul Pontieri – a true steward of smart economic development on Long Island.
As a lifelong resident of Patchogue, Mayor Pontieri saw his community change in many different ways before he took office in 2004. At that time, Patchogue’s downtown area was nothing like it is today. Large chain retail stores dominated storefronts on main street and diminished the community’s walkability.
After taking office, Mayor Pontieri began to carry out his vision of a reimagined Patchogue by focusing on redevelopment projects for spaces that were already built on rather than eliminating green space and harming the local ecosystem. The result is a diverse array of desperately-needed living spaces here on Long Island.
The Patchogue we all know and love today is a downtown that stands out from the rest. Long Islanders from across both Suffolk and Nassau Counties travel to the area thanks to its many transportation options, from the Long Island Railroad and public bus service to its connections to major highways. Additionally, its proximity to MacArthur Airport makes it a local destination for tourists.
On top of Mayor Pontieri’s vision for infrastructure, he also has a deep appreciation for the arts. This is something we at Rechler Equity Partners have in common with him. From Patchogue’s extremely popular “Alive at Five” street fairs to the 1,200-seat Patchogue Theatre, this impressive community has a little bit of everything.
Rechler Equity Partners would like to recognize Mayor Paul Pontieri for being featured in Business View Magazine and for his unparalleled commitment to the Patchogue community. Mayor Pontieri’s vision has served as a blueprint for other downtowns across the region to embrace smart growth, provide much-needed housing options and make Long Island a better place to live.
NYU Langone Health – nyulangone.org/suffolk
The affiliation between NYU Langone Health and Long Island Community Hospital (LICH) is now official, having received state and federal regulatory approvals. It brings the two organizations together—further extending NYU Langone’s healthcare network into eastern Long Island, and making available the resources, technologies, and capabilities of a world-class academic medical center to the more than 400,000 patients served by LICH.
“We are very enthusiastic about the affiliation as we believe that the united strength of our organizations will greatly enhance the delivery of healthcare services to residents of Suffolk County,” says Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone Health.
With 6 inpatient locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Mineola, and 300+ ambulatory sites throughout the region, NYU Langone is consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the country. Most recently, NYU Langone merged with Winthrop University Hospital, now called NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island. Since that affiliation, the Nassau-based hospital has improved patient length of stay, a clinical metric that points to the quality and efficiency of patient care, and reduced the ratio of observed over expected stays.
LICH has a 65-year history in the communities of south and central Suffolk County, serving more than 400,000 patients.
Great South Bay Music Festival – www.greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com
Each year in mid-July, Long Island’s largest, longest running and most popular family-friendly music festival sets up on the pristine shore of the Great South Bay in Patchogue, NY.
This four-day festival features legends like B.B. King, The Doobie Brothers, Taking Back Sunday, The Zombies (and many more) performing with over 55 local and national performers in all musical genres, on four stages.
But music is not the event’s only draw. The Festival is a mini-village of experiences, including artisans and craftspeople, an educational KidZone, a sumptuous food court and a wine and beer garden. Community philanthropy is also important to the festival with the Storyville Tent, a space dedicated to local, not-for-profit organizations, to help them raise funds and awareness for their causes. Long Island Cares, Stony Brook Cancer Center and The Long Island Music Hall of Fame, have been a big part of the festival’s “give-back” vision since its inception.
As it celebrates its 14th Anniversary, the Festival has become a mainstay of the northeastern US festival market, has hosted over 300,000 attendees (often from out of state), reaches millions with its advertising and infuses over five million dollars into the local economy each year.
St. Joseph’s University, New York – www.sjcny.edu
Ready to Move Our Community Forward
St. Joseph’s University, New York, is Patchogue’s hometown university. We’ve been a dedicated member of this community for decades—and remain a vital part of its future.
Formerly St. Joseph’s College, our new university designation is a clear signal that we’re an institution on the move, ready to meet the challenges of an evolving world to prepare our students for success.
We provide an award-winning education that stays true to our founding values—integrity, intellectual rigor, social responsibility, spiritual depth and service—at an affordable price. In fact, our tuition remains one of the lowest of any private institution in this region.
We offer more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs—including our new Master of Social Work—special course offerings and certificates, affiliated and pre-professional programs, including Child Study, Nursing, Health Administration, Accounting, Marketing, and numerous five-year dual-degree programs.
With more than 3,300 students and 500 employees at our Long Island campus and 44,000 alumni, St. Joseph’s University contributes to the vitality of Patchogue. We live, work and grow here—leading lives of authenticity with compassion, empathy and an unparalleled work ethic—making Patchogue better for our neighbors and a ready source of talent for businesses who operate here.
To learn more, visit sjcny.edu.