By: Nicole Fuentes
Today, the American Planning Association named downtown Patchogue Village one of 13 great places in the United States, beginning the countdown to National Community Planning Month in October. The community will celebrate downtown Patchogue Village’s new designation on Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. at the Patchogue Theatre. They are planning to install a plaque with the designation at that time.
“It’s an outstanding honor to be considered one of America’s great places, something we all know locally, but it’s nice to let the rest of America know as well,” said David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, elated by the honor.
As part of the 12th year recognizing great neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces, APA chose Patchogue for its transformation and lively Main Street. It is one of four neighborhoods and 13 places across the United States to honor this year.
“The transformation that has occurred in Patchogue is nothing short of groundbreaking when you consider how much progress has been made in such a short amount of time,” said county executive Steve Bellone of the honor. “This downtown revitalization was made possible by a community-driven approach from the ground up led by mayor Pontieri.”
APA chooses places with exceptional character, quality, and planning that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. This year’s board chose communities that have stories of revitalization.
According to APA president Kurt Christiansen, Downtown Patchogue Village was once thought of as a “ghost town” until the village turned to plan innovations like transit-oriented development, investments in local infrastructure, and early adoption of multifamily housing. Today, downtown Patchogue Village has reinvented itself as regional dining, shopping, and entertainment destination.
“Patchogue is one of those places that the community came in and basically redeveloped and reenergized the town,” he said — also referencing the theatre’s renovation — noting why the village was chosen. “We were impressed with the fact that this community didn’t want the area to [die], but really wanted to see how they could change it while also keeping the character.”
APA member and Patchogue resident Alex Wallach, he explained, nominated Patchogue and, out of several hundred submissions, and selected it as the only honoree on Long Island.
Wallach, an executive board member of the local APA NY Metro Chapter and alternate member of the Patchogue Zoning Board of Appeals, works for the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning by day and has a love for his hometown.
“In 2017, I was looking for a place to live and fell in love with Patchogue. It checked all my boxes: affordable housing, close to water, arts, culture, restaurants,” he explained of his decision to move here and nominate the village. “Then I fell in love with the sense of community. Everyone had a story to tell of what Patchogue used to be and how it came to be. What I realized was that it was a special and great place and deserved some national recognition.”
Wallach submitted the nomination in April of this year. After the Oct. 19 announcement at Fall Fest, a walking tour followed by an after-party at the Blue Point Brewery hosted by the Patchogue Young Professionals.
“We all do great things, but when people notice it outside of your realm, you know they genuinely recognize you,” said mayor Paul Pontieri. “For me, it’s an honor because of all the hard work we’ve all done.”
For more information about APA’s Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets, and Great Public Spaces for 2019 and previous years, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.
In addition to Patchogue Village, APA had also recognized the following Great Neighborhoods in 2019:
Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 303 neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces around the country. Designees are selected annually and represent the gold standard for a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future.