(Ronkonkoma, NY-April 29, 2015) Today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and the Long Island Railroad signed a Memorandum of Agreement to form the Ronkonkoma Hub Regional Planning Alliance. This will be the first effort of its kind in the region for planning teams from multiple municipalities and levels of government to meet on a regular, formal basis on a project of regional significance.
“The Ronkonkoma Hub Regional Planning Alliance provides the framework for multiple jurisdictions to sit down at the same table and plan together on projects that affect our region,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “The biggest reason young people have been leaving our region is government’s failure to work together to address the challenges we face. Thanks to the leadership of Supervisor Romaine and Supervisor Carpenter we are creating a model to change that moving forward.”
The Ronkonkoma Hub has been deemed as one of a handful of “transformative” projects by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and has been deemed regionally significant by the Long Island Regional Planning Council. The project is a mixed-use Transit Oriented Development which includes 1,450 multi-family units, 360,000 square feet of commercial space and 195,000 square feet of retail space. It is expected to generate thousands of construction and permanent jobs in our region.
“The Ronkonkoma Hub will have a significant impact far beyond the borders of Brookhaven Town, and establishing this Regional Planning Alliance makes sense,” stated Supervisor Romaine said. “We must maintain an open and cooperative effort as the planning stage moves ahead. I look forward to working closely with the Town of Islip, Suffolk County, the MTA and Tritec as the master developer of this project to ensure that this project meets and exceeds expectations.”
Supervisor Angie Carpenter stated, “Although the Ronkonkoma Hub is primarily located in Brookhaven Town, its close proximity to the Town of Islip reinforces the importance that we work together with Brookhaven and Suffolk County in these critical planning decisions. Having been involved in business, I understand how imperative it is to work together to create an environment that fosters economic growth and development, and has all the players at the table working together. I am certain this will be a model going forward with other significant projects.”
"For Long Island to start growing again we need our leaders to work together regionally," Long Island Association President and CEO Kevin Law said. "I commend County Executive Bellone, Supervisors Romaine and Carpenter and the LIRR for agreeing to work together because this type of regional cooperation should encourage private investment in Long Island."
“This strategic Alliance of the Towns of Brookhaven and Islip with Suffolk County and the Long Island Rail Road presents a unique opportunity to grow our regional economy and attract and retain our skilled workforce by capitalizing on one of the Island's major transportation hubs,” stated John D. Cameron, Chairman-Long Island Regional Planning Council. “It is collaborative leadership like this that Long Island needs to not only make it sustainable for the future but also to enhance the quality of life for all Long Islanders.”
Long Island Rail Road President Patrick A. Nowakowski stated, “We are pleased to join with Suffolk County and the Towns of Brookhaven and Islip in the formation of the Ronkonkoma Hub Regional Planning Alliance. The Ronkonkoma train station is already the busiest transit hub in Suffolk County and so the LIRR and its customers have a vested interest in the future development of the area. This unique partnership will help to ensure a fully-coordinated plan going forward so the Railroad is able to meet the Hub’s future transportation needs.”
While the core of the development at the Ronkonkoma Hub is in Brookhaven, it is adjacent to an airport in Islip and relies on a sewer connection from Suffolk County, which largely passes through Islip and could potentially connect other downtowns in Islip. Last year, Suffolk County awarded $2.3 million in Jumpstart funding to the Ronkonkoma Hub, which is being used for planning and infrastructure improvements, including road widening and utility relocations.
Legislator William Lindsay, III, Chairman of the Legislature’s Economic Development Committee has been a leader in arguing for greater regional cooperation to spur sustainable economic growth in Suffolk County. He is currently working on legislation that would create incentives for greater regional planning.
“Projects like the Ronkonkoma Hub are critical to the long term growth and sustainability of Suffolk County,” stated Legislator William Lindsay, III. “For years elected officials have been talking about the negative impact caused by the loss of our young professionals, we in government are finally taking action in order to reverse this trend. I look forward to the continued collaboration with our partners in Town Government in order to foster projects that will further revitalize our downtowns, create environments that young people want to live in as well as spur economic development.”