Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) announced today that through a cooperative effort of a variety of state offices, the Kings Park Psychiatric Center Property has been officially transferred to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYS OPRHP). The 365 plus acres of property will now be placed into the Nissequogue River State Park and remain under the control of the NYS OPRHP.
The transfer exempts a 2.68 acre piece of property that will be used by the Kings Park Fire District and a 36 acre parcel that will remain with the Office of Mental Health. The remaining acreage, estimated at 368 acres, are now part of the park system.
This transfer, which was officially agreed to today, will protect over 365 acres of open space in Kings Park and transform this property into a natural beauty that all Long Islanders can enjoy. The final official agreement to the transfer the land, which has been under the jurisdiction of the Office of Mental Health, was provided by the Office of General Services at the request of NYS OPRHP Commissioner Bernadette Castro.
For the residents of the community, this move will help relieve some of the concern regarding the future development on this site. The shift further protects the residents by requiring the state to continue payments to the local school district.
"The residents of Kings Park have had to deal with the threat of overdevelopment for too long. Today's announcement will remove that possibility and allow the residents to enjoy the open space of this beautiful property for years to come," stated Senator Flanagan. "The fact that this change will also protect the state's payments to the school district makes this is a win-win for everyone."
Senator Flanagan worked with Commissioner Castro to transfer the entire property following a recent court decision dismissing a developer's lawsuit. The suit was filed by developer Cherokee Arker after Senator Flanagan's successful fight to cancel a proposed sale in January of this year and sought to force New York State to sell a ninety acre piece of the land for construction. The lawsuit was dismissed earlier this month and that decision spurred Senator Flanagan's efforts to transfer the property into the state park system.
Senator Flanagan has been actively working with the community on this issue. These joint efforts have included the cancellation of the sale in January and his securing of $25 million in state funding for the cleanup of the site.
In an effort to explore all options regarding this site, Senator Flanagan has continually met with civic leaders, State, County and Town officials, planning directors, environmental advocates and residents. While those plans had focused on placing a portion of the acreage in the Nissequogue River State Park and transferring the remainder of the land to the Town of Smithtown, the recent dismissal led Senator Flanagan to work to protect the entire property.
"This was an opportunity that will protect this land for generations to come and one that we had to take advantage of. Acquiring this vast amount of open space would normally cost taxpayers millions but this transfer accomplishes the same goal with minimal cost to the taxpayers. I congratulate all of the community members who worked to preserve their way of life and Commissioner Castro for her vision and commitment to our environment," stated Senator Flanagan.
JANUARY 14, 2006 - SENATOR FLANAGAN ANNOUNCES CANCELLATION OF KPPC SALE
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