Suffolk County, NY – (December 15, 2016) –Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced today that Suffolk County was awarded over $3 million in Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards. These funds will allow the County to launch the planning and implementation of various projects, including the restoration of the degraded former duck farm site at Mud Creek County Park, transportation initiatives, water quality improvement and marine life preservation, job training in the medical field for residents, and many more.
“These funds are critical to continue to promote economic development in our region and improve the overall quality of life for our residents. We are especially grateful to have the funds needed to launch one of our key projects that involves the restoration and preservation of the historic Mud Creek County Park in East Patchogue,” stated Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership and the members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for their steadfast commitment to supporting projects that grow and strengthen our local economy, as well as projects that seek to improve the water quality in our region.”
The Mud Creek Watershed Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project was awarded $2.2M to Suffolk County to renovate the site that was once occupied by several duck farms, which has left the Mud Creek wetlands and uplands extensively impacted by the build-up of contaminants from decades of duck farming. A successful completion of the project will restore fish and wildlife habitat within the East branch of Mud Creek as well as the freshwater wetland and upland habitats.
Mud Creek County Park’s lands and waters were used by the privately owned Gallo Duck Farm from 1922 to the mid-1980s. Prior to duck farming, the area contained streams, swamps, and woods with the East Branch of Mud Creek flowing through the duck farm property.
The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation, initiated a feasibility study in 2011 to evaluate environmental restoration opportunities at Mud Creek County Park. Comprehensive studies of the degraded ecological and physical conditions followed by feasibility assessment and public outreach have culminated in a “shovel-ready” project with construction drawings, specifications and regulatory permits for comprehensive restoration of degraded aquatic and terrestrial habitats at Mud Creek County Park. The County has also allocated $1.7M toward the project.
New York State’s Regional Economic Development Councils were created by Governor Cuomo in 2011 in an effort to jumpstart the economy and promote job creation. This initiative has redesigned the state's approach to economic development from a top-down model to a community-based, performance-driven approach where community, business and academic leaders develop long-term strategic plans tailored to their region’s unique strengths and resources in order to spur economic growth.
The other five Suffolk County projects which were awarded funding by the REDC are:
$300K—Patchogue Gateway Transportation Center – Suffolk County will construct a bus rapid transit station in the Village of Patchogue to further support the Suffolk County transportation plan.
$278K —Woodhull Dam Fish Passage and Peconic River Connectivity Project Implementation and Monitoring – Suffolk County will construct and install a diadromous fish passage through Woodhull Dam on the Little River giving river herring and American eel access to previously inaccessible spawning habitat. The project will enhance nutrient cycling, restore critical spawning and nursery habitat, increase populations and restore river connectivity.
$100K — Project SCHOOL – Suffolk County Local Workforce Development Board will provide dislocated workers with training in healthcare electronic records-related job titles. Graduates will receive certificates recognized by the New York State Education Department and be able to seek employment as Medical Billers, Medical Coders, Medical Records Clerks, and in Administrative titles.
$60K — Suffolk County Blueway Trail Plan – Suffolk County, in partnership with towns, villages, and paddling organizations, will develop a Blueway Trail plan for both the North and South Shores as well as the Peconic Estuary. The plan will include a schematic design of the trail route, potential launch/landing locations, draft signage, project identification for public access and facilities, and an implementation plan.
$25,000 —Wyandanch Village Recharge Basin Relocation Study – Suffolk County will conduct a feasibility study to relocate the Wyandanch Village recharge basin.