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Suffolk County Executive Bellone Announces Symposium For Creating The Downtown Experience

SuffFor Immediate Release

July 3, 2018

Contact: County Executive Press Office

631-853-4000 | 


Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced a symposium for creating placemaking, Creating: The Downtown Experience, will be held on July 12 at 8:00 AM at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington. County Executive Bellone, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning’s Office of Cultural Affairs, has gathered an accomplished panel of experts from the fields of commercial revitalization, the cultural industry and municipalities to share, educate and collaborate on the subject of creative placemaking.


“Our downtowns are essential to keeping our region competitive and bringing the high skill, high knowledge workers we need to grow our local economy,” said County Executive Bellone. “This symposium will open up a dialogue and provide communities across the county with tools needed to create their own unique downtown experience.”


Creating: The Downtown Experience will present how communities create a vibrant destination for visitors and tourists to dine and shop in a culture-infused downtown. The formula includes a combination of community engagement, local government and business support and participation, and transit connections combined with elements that draw visitors and tourists. The symposium will discuss best practices, examples of successful projects and economic advantages. Attendees will leave with action-oriented steps for their own communities.


The goal of the event is to provide attendees with the insight and tools necessary to assist communities county-wide in building downtown experiences that stimulate the economy, drive innovation, welcome cultural diversity and foster civic engagement.  Attendance for the event, which is sponsored by Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers, is free, but seating is limited, therefore attendees must register in advance by emailing or


The panel of experts for the event includes:

  • Theresa Ward, Deputy County Executive and Commissioner, who will serve as the Moderator.
  • Stephanie Fortunato, Director, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism at City of Providence.
  • Larisa Ortiz, Principal of Larisa Ortiz Associates, an award-winning urban planner and nationally-recognized expert in commercial revitalization initiatives for public, private and non-profit organizations.  
  • Robert Lane, Senior Fellow for Urban Design, Regional Plan Association.
  • Paul Pontieri, four-term Mayor of the Village of Patchogue which transformed its downtown from a struggling commercial area riddled with empty storefronts into a cultural and entertainment destination with new apartments and townhouses.  
  • Pat Snyder, Executive Director, East End Arts, Riverhead.

Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning through its Office of Cultural Affairs supports community arts organizations, and fosters cultural participation in order to build vibrant communities and celebrate the diversity of Suffolk County.  A key component of that is ensuring downtowns are attractive places that attract visitors.




Categories: County Executive



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