PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two Long Island communities just received huge grants to build much-needed parking and make environmental upgrades to new sewer systems.

On Thursday, CBS’2’s Jennifer McLogan visited the funding winners: Port Jefferson and Kings Park.

Port Jefferson is parking deprived due to its tourism popularity. It has a ferry to Connecticut and many historic North Shore locations and quaint shops.

“A lot of the infrastructure on Long Island is really old,” Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant said. “Our sewer system here dates back to pre-World War II. So whenever you are doing those types of projects, extra money is critical because local governments are struggling right now.”

Getting grants and funding is a shot in the arm for Port Jefferson and, 15 miles to the west, Kings Park. Two state and county grants are now earmarked for major upgrades.

“We get two bangs for the buck here. We get extra parking and we get help with storm water runoff with bioswales that will be built,” Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn said.

Sitting on a single aquifer, water quality is critical to Long Island. Business owners in Kings Park told McLogan their fingers are crossed that funding for parking and sewers will jump-start their hamlet.

Main Street is about to get a $20 million sewer project that Vision Long Island said will allow previously restricted apartments, restaurants, and cafes to open. The commercial strip is struggling with vacancies.

“I’ve been hear about 40 years,” business owner Rosalba Olarte said, adding when asked her description of downtown during that time, “Every year, I’m very disappointed.”

Rosalba’s Alterations has decades of loyal customers, but the Kings Park downtown, she said, can be a lonely place.

“When Kings Park and Port Jefferson are both about downtown revitalization and environmental sustainability,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.

So there are signs of hope for these communities. As infrastructure remains an ongoing challenge, there are new places to park that are protected from flooding.

Work on both infrastructure projects expected to begin this fall.


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