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Revitalizing NY Children: Big Hope for Wyandanch Rising

Image: Wyandanch Rising courtesy BHC Architects
Image: Wyandanch Rising courtesy BHC Architects
July 29, 2013

NEW YORK CITY - Local advocates say it's more than just brick and mortar, and they are counting on the 500-million-dollar public/private Wyandanch Rising redevelopment project to also revitalize men, women and especially children on Long Island. Comments from the Rev. Constance England, board president of the Family Life Center; and Martin (Marty) Dettling, senior vice president, Albanese Organization, the developer for the project. Image Available: Architects plan of project

Advocates for New York children believe a project that just broke ground on Long Island could do more than just improve the local building stock. They expect it will revitalize people and families, young and old.

The Rev. Constance England, board president, Family Life Center, said the Wyandanch Rising project offers great promise to change both the face of the neighborhood and the prospects for many who live in this economically challenged part of Long Island.

"It's not just brick and mortar that we are talking about," England said, "it's the revitalization of a community of people; with the building piece of it also comes the revitalization of men, women and children."

England added that the greatest need and hope for the community is with children. She said if you can get to them while they are young and help them grow, they will look at the world differently, have greater self esteem, and make a greater contribution as they grow up.

Marty Dettling is the senior vice president of the Albanese Organization, which is developing the project. He said they have been working with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for two years on Wyandanch Rising, which will bring more working-class housing to the area.

"Fifty percent of the units are below market rate, so this [negates the] whole idea that Long Island does not have any affordable places to go, and their only option is to leave Long Island," Dettling said. "This is the type of place they can find as their new home."

England said her group serves 120 local youth in learning camps this summer, and she hopes that as the development grows the economy, they will be able to serve even more in the future.

"It's going to change life. You see it looking at other communities where jobs are being offered and new buildings are going up. It is an excitement, a hope - a new hope for people of the community," England said.

The first two mixed-use buildings in the 40-acre, $500 million public/private redevelopment of Wyandanch are slated for completion in 2014.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY