Downtown Bay Shore will soon see a stretch of Park Avenue near West Main Street torn up and replaced with a pedestrian walking plaza at the foot Village Place apartments.

The plaza will solve a traffic snarl, encourage a more walkable community and bring a festive feel to the center of Main Street, with outdoor music and dining  — and, possibly, special events on the lawn.

For these reasons and more, the pedestrian plaza project was recognized Friday by Vision Long Island — an advocacy group for redevelopment and open space preservation — at the annual Smart Growth Awards Gala at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

“Bay Shore has spent over 10 years redeveloping their downtown with retail, with restaurants, with residential, and some other public uses like the waterfront park,” said Vision Long Island’s director, Eric Alexander. “Bringing a public plaza into the center of it all really connects the waterfront, the Main Street and the overall walkability of the area. It truly creates a sense of place.”

Fourteen awards in all were handed out Friday in Woodbury — both to projects and individuals — in categories that included Mix of Uses, Walkability, Compact Building Design, and others.

The Bay Shore Pedestrian Plaza took the Sense of Place award.

The Village Place developer, Larry Gargano of Greenview Properties, hopes work can start work on the plaza, which was designed by Busch Associates, later this summer and be done in the fall.

He credited Town of Islip officials for pushing to make the plaza a reality, which was no easy task since it involved removing a town road that fed into Route 27A, which is a state road.

The plaza will be a public space, like any sidewalk, though built and maintained by Greenview Properties, Gargano explained.

“What we love about the pedestrian plaza is it’s going to soften the perimeter of Village Place and we fully expect the restaurant will expand out onto the plaza during the warmer months,” he said.

Ryan Flynn, one of the owners of that restaurant, Salt & Barrel, which opened on Friday, March 25 (Good Friday), confirmed those expectations.

“I feel the plaza is going to be the epicenter of Main Street in Bay Shore,” said Flynn. “Essentially we’re bringing a park that design-wise is based on the Highline in the city.”

That means, among other features, a raised lawn, wide-plank stairs, benches, a sculpture and fountains, she said.

“We can open up all our doors and we’ll have 10 tables, 40 seats, and we can do live music,” she said. “We’re going to have a bike rack to promote walking and reducing your carbon footprint. We’re going put dog bowls outside so people can walk over from the ferry, bring their dog, have a cocktail.”

“It’s all about creating community,” she said.

Park Avenue as it appeared Thursday looking south toward West Main Street. (Michael White)

Park Avenue as it appeared Thursday looking south toward West Main Street.