Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) issued a letter to New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation calling for a meeting.
The written call for a meeting follows Commissioner Carol Ash's recent visit to the park which was originally intended as a private tour for the Long Island Association and Newsday. It was only after public pressure was put forth that the meeting was opened to civic leaders and elected officials and Senator Flanagan is troubled by that fact.
The letter, which was also sent to Commissioner Pete Grannis of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), outlines Senator Flanagan's feelings that the new administration has yet to adequately fulfill their obligation to the Kings Park community.
"The new administration has, since January, allowed the residents of Kings Park to wonder if they are committed to the new parkland and I find that unacceptable," stated Senator Flanagan. "As the steward of our park system, I expect Commissioner Ash to think preservation first and I want to provide her an opportunity to display that understanding. The time has come for a real meeting to start mapping out the future of this beautiful piece of property and to work together for the good of this community."
SENATOR FLANAGAN WILL BE APPEARING THIS WEEK ON THE CUTTING EDGE ON WLNY TV 55 TO DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER STATE PARK WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE LONG ISLAND ASSOCIATION.
THE CUTTING EDGE AIRS THIS SATURDAY AT 5:00 P.M. AND SUNDAY AT 1:00 P.M.
October 4, 2007
Ms. Carol Ash
Office of the Commissioner
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Empire State Plaza, Agency Building #1
Albany, New York 12238
Dear Commissioner Ash:
While we are ten months into the new Administration, the Kings Park community and I have no clearer understanding of your, or Governor Spitzer’s, plans for the future of the newly designated portion of Nissequogue River State Park.
Despite repeated calls and correspondence with your office -- most of which have been initiated by me -- you have yet to publicly announce your intentions for maintaining all of this property as state parkland. In addition, other than an environmental engineering report conducted on the original 153 acres of Nissequogue River State Park, I have no knowledge or information from your department of what you are working on with respect to the additional 370 acres at this location.
It seems that at every step of this process and every question presented to you on this issue, your office has either delayed in responding or given incomplete or carefully worded answers that require constant vigilance on my part to seek status reports or further clarification.
Knowing that I have been extensively involved in this issue and that I have a keen interest in the outcome, it would seem reasonable as Commissioner to have your department provide periodic updates to my office on the progress, or lack thereof, on all actions being taken at Nissequogue River State Park.
Instead, you have allowed a strained relationship to develop for no apparent reason, other than the likely possibility that you and Governor Spitzer never had intentions of maintaining this property as parkland from the beginning. As the State Senator representing the Kings Park community’s interest, however, I have an obligation and responsibility to provide factual information to my constituents on matters of importance to them.
That is why, I am asking to personally meet with you and Commissioner Pete Grannis from the Department of Environmental Conservation to discuss this issue in greater detail. You have represented to me on a number of occasions that your departments are working together on the contamination and remediation issues surrounding the 370 additional acres of parkland at Nissequogue. It is my hope that such a meeting will shed light on all the work that has been completed so far, as well as the work that remains ongoing into the future. I will be in Albany on October 22, 2007 to attend a special session of the Senate, and would appreciate knowing your availability on that day.
If a meeting is unable to be agreed to or arranged in the near future, I will explore the possibility of requesting that a joint hearing be held through the Senate Committees on Environmental Conservation and Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development to collect the information I am seeking.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. I look forward to your reply.
John J. Flanagan
cc: Commissioner Pete Grannis, NYSDEC