On Monday, July 12, 2021, Town of Smithtown leaders joined the board members of the St. James Chamber of Commerce to accept a check for $20,000. The money donated to the town will be used towards the construction of a new park centrally located on Lake Avenue. Once complete, the new park space will complement the St. James Cultural and Arts District as a central performance space and village green, accompanied by a new off-street municipal parking lot, to drive economic revitalization and create a walkable downtown.
“The St. James Chamber of Commerce has been a leader in offering assistance to businesses and residents alike during the pandemic. Now they are leading the charge in rebuilding our economy. On behalf of the town, I am truly humbled to accept this very generous donation towards constructing this beautiful new park. This funding will be most helpful in ensuring our success in constructing a spectacular gathering place for the community, which will undoubtedly boost foot traffic to the local shops along Lake Avenue.” – Supervisor Ed Wehrheim
The park design and construction has been made possible thanks to a local 501(c)(3) arts organization, Celebrate St. James, Past – Present – Future. The not-for-Profit group has spearheaded fundraising efforts and solicited local Landscape Architect Bob Retnauer of RDA and Architect Michael Morbillo of Enspire Design Group to create plans for the park. In November 2020, Supervisor Wehrheim and the Town Board joined with Celebrate St. James, as well as the St. James Chamber, Civic Association and members of the community in a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction.
In late Summer 2020, the Town of Smithtown purchased the old Irish Viking lot on Lake Avenue in an intergovernmental contract with Suffolk County. The former pub has been completely demolished, leveled and the Highway Department has recently completed the installation of drainage infrastructure. As highway and construction crews continue with the construction of the municipal parking area and foundation work for the park, a rigorous planning phase is underway to erect the new open space. The Planning Department and community development coordinator has met regularly with Landscape Architect Bob Retnauer of RDA and Architect Michael Morbillo of Enspire Design Group in coordination of the park construction. These St. James residents have volunteered their craft and time to design what will undoubtedly be a beautiful gathering place for Town of Smithtown residents. Design plans for Celebrate Park can be found online at CelebrateStJames.org.