The year of 2012 has come to an end, but there are a few issues and ongoing stories to keep an eye on as we move into 2013:
1. Route 347 Construction: New York State Department of Transportation will continue moving forward with its Route 347 greenway project. Despite promises the Vets Highway/Route 454 to Route 111/Wheeler Road stretch being finished by August 2012, that deadline has passed while construction rumbles on. Hauppauge and Smithtown residents have voted to have sound barriers up to 20-feet high erected as the project moves eastward. How will this affect the local landscape and quality of life? Follow our topic page for the latest news on 347 in 2013.
2. Hauppauge Schools face second tax cap: Hauppauge school officials will face difficult decisions drawing up the 2013-2014 school budget this upcoming March - May, as Gov. Cuomo's tax cap remains in place. While Hauppauge voters approved the current 2012-13 budget, what impact the tax cap may have in the second year in a struggling economy remains to be seen.
3. Increasing Development: Despite an arguable struggling economy, there is a push for increased development in Hauppauge and the surrounding areas. A new 7-Eleven is preparing to open on Route 347 and Terry Road while Chase Bank is being built across the street. Town of Smithtown officials have approved plans to build Bahama Breeze and P. F. Chang's restauraunt to enter Smith Haven Mall, while rejecting proposed plans for a Sonic. Who will search to build in the Hauppauge or Smith Haven Mall area next?
4. Recovery from Superstorm Sandy: Superstorm Sandy hit Long Islanders hard this October, slaming the region and forcing many local businesses to close for days on end. Restaurants suffered tremendous loss of business will be fighting for months to recover. Smithtown officials warn the storm cleanup may cost up to $5.3 milion, how much will taxpayers have to cover and pay for it yet to be determined.
5. Pace of Business in Hauppauge: In 2012, Hauppauge residents saw some long-time businesses struggle while facing Route 347 construction and a long-time business Sears Hardware leave the area. This has left gaping holes in local shopping centers while the former Pizza Hut and the one-time Blockbuster remain empty. What will happen in 2013? What new stores will rise to take their place?
What issues would you like to read more about on Hauppauge Patch in 2013? Tell us in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.