Town officials joined together to celebrate the completion of a new municipal parking lot located on Pulaski Road in downtown Kings Park.
On Monday, Nov. 23, Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) was joined by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) to mark the new parking spaces and its quick completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This completed project, finished just one year from the date of award, comes at a crucial time when many restaurants have used portions of their parking lots to expand outdoor dining,” Wehrheim said. “However, in the long term, the municipal lot will create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown that supports walkability, increases foot traffic to local businesses and decreases traffic congestion.”
In October last year, Bellone signed a bill awarding the Town of Smithtown $500,000 in county Jumpstart funding to build the lot in downtown Kings Park on Pulaski Road, right off of Main Street. The Jumpstart program is part of a comprehensive economic development plan designed to encourage, foster and enhance the planning and developments of Suffolk’s downtowns. Since 2013, the county has awarded almost $14.5 million in funds.
“The fact that we’re standing in this parking lot today, basically a year from when this bill was signed, is an extraordinary act of efficiency and excellence by the Town of Smithtown,” Bellone said. “My hat’s off to you and your team for getting this done.”
The new lot features 23 spaces and several electric charging stations. To celebrate the upcoming holidays, the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce decorated the lot with festive wreaths.
“You don’t often describe parking lots as beautiful,” Bellone added. “But this is a beautiful parking lot.”
The lot will help small business, as parking is a constant concern in local downtowns, especially with spots taken over by outdoor dining. Members from the chamber of commerce and the officials in attendance all agreed that shopping and dining in downtowns will help the local economy.
“The small business community has been hard hit across Long Island,” said Vision Long Island’s Eric Alexander. “A government that listened on multiple levels and funded — this is how you do good downtown projects. This is wonderful.”
According to Wehrheim, the Kings Park Downtown Market Analysis and Action Plan was completed by Larisa Ortiz Associates in 2017. The study determined that businesses along “restaurant row” were suffering due to a lack of sufficient parking. The analysis was backed up by public polling from both residents and business owners.
“We have to do everything that we can to support small businesses, not only to survive this crisis, but to get back to thriving,” Bellone said. “We will get through this and we will overcome this.”