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What Do You Want To See Here? [Empty in Kings Park]

Closed for fifteen years, the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center grounds needs a plan. What do you envision here?

While there are plenty of businesses thriving in the Kings Park area, there are more than a handful of empty or boarded up storefronts in the community, a testament to the hard times the area, and the country faces.

And if last week’s story on the few is any indication, it's a subject that has people talking.

Over the next few months, Kings Park Patch is going to spotlight these vacant businesses to foster discussion in the community on what can, should and could be done to rehab these abandoned places.

Today, we start at the top with the former Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital grounds.

The property now houses the Nissequogue River State Park. Ideas for the area include a theater, nature center and hotel.

The property is not without its challenges. Clean up of the property includes demolishing unkempt buildings and asbestos removal, all at a hefty price tag. The reward? One of the last unspoiled tracts of land on the north shore providing those who visit it spectacular water views.

What would you like to see here?

KpNibbler October 21, 2011 at 06:08 AM
You are a wise man Mr. McKnight and since you are a successful realtor, we should trust you understand these things better then the average Joe... With the Baby Boom tsunami upon us, I couldn't agree more...people don't get the fact that lower income housing will not generate the same tax revenue...If that area was filled with low income housing the school system would need to be drastically increased...Imagine 100 low income houses or units, each one with a few kids...even if it was just 2 per house that's an additional 200 kids in the district...with KPSD expenditures around $16k per student, unless these new houses will be willing to pay $32k in just school taxes, everyone's taxes would be through the roof, more than they already are and the former KPPC site would become a slum...This may sound a bit bigoted, but I don't think cheap housing should be built on prime property..Smart development could be a gold mine for this town...The use of that land built and maintained this town for over a century...why not continue that spirit and not destroy what we all have here in KP......A couple of nice 55+ and assisted living communities would be nice...demand for them will continue to increase in the next few decades...
David October 21, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Not considering affordable housing for young professionals as PART of the plan is short sighted. LI is aging in large part to the flight of young talent elsewhere to more affordable housing (yes, taxes are part of the problem). I'd rather see some leadership to fix the broken tax system (e.g.., how many water boards and superintendants and $100K+ salaries does LI need to manage one aquifer? But that's another story.....), and build for the future of the region. Equating "affordable" with "slum" is prejudiced and the vision short sighted. KP is a multi-generational town, but that is threatened because of the lack of affordable housing for the grown children of those who grew up here. 55+ housing is a very good idea to add to the plan, but it shouldn't be the only type of housing considered. A well-conceived master plan should contain residential as well as commercial development in a manner that benefits the physical setting, along with amenities I mentioned above that benefit the residents of KP in the long term.
Bern October 21, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Thanks Linda, great info. on your site. So let's see if I've got this RIGHT... it would be appx. $7.5M to fix up and open YORK HALL for CULTURAL concerts, theatre, jobs, meeting conferences, career training etc. OR $14M to tear down 15 HISTORICAL buildings to create more open space. Does anyone want IMAC back? Live Nation paid $3M to restore/create Paramont Theatre and now charge over $112.00 ticket. Thanks again Linda for all that you do along with the Foundation & civic association folks. I'm done, my brain is killing me.
Frank Mercuri October 21, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Bernadette, there is nothing historical abut decaying and callapsed dwellings or a smokestack. The marina buildings are rotting; Nothing historical for bldg 23. The pool is decaying and non repairable. York Hall was found salavable and can eventually result into a viable site. What has to be done is to look at the picture of what remains and then have a master plan to see what these remaining buildings can be used for. Many have comment on what they will like there. Many did have a say at various meedting with parks , suggestions were written but rest assured will never come to fruition. We just have to be on our toes and make sure the park remains what it is, a park
David October 21, 2011 at 06:24 PM
The Paramount is exactly what LI needs - an accessible cultural forum for local and NYC music out on LI. I just saw a show there for $40/tix and met the artists. Great venue. KP would be a great locale for that type of influx of venture capital in a well planned downtown. Or, we can all go to Dave & Busters and have a perfectly bland pre-fab American experience in someone else's town. I'm for open land, but between the buried buildings, miles of asbestos pipe, landfills, dilapidated aboveground structures, I doubt the area will ever be wholly suitable for parkland. Powers that be must be put to task to strike a balance between open land and mixed development that benefits KP and the surrounding area now and for the future.
Frank Mercuri October 21, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Airmid Theater was performing all summer at the park free of charge and had little support from those looking for "culture" There was a music festival introduced in KP for free on mainstreet, attendence OK. There is interest in placing a cultural center on the park, York Hall possiblly but needs millions to get it in shape. Nothing can be done until a Master Plan. The powers to be are looking at mixture. There have been many ideas thrown about with state involvement as to what can be done. At this point nothing can be done untill the cleanup is finsished and the master plan developed. Then can the juggling take place as to what would and would not be appropriate for the area. Keep in mind it is a state park and there has to be enough to lure upsatate and down state. This will alll take time and money. If there is anyone out there that has millions to invest in a cultrual center then please contact the state parks they would be glad to here from you as would the Nissequoque River State Park Foundation. Money talks, all else, well you know the rest of the phrase.
Doris L October 21, 2011 at 10:43 PM
http://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/facilities/pgpc/facility.htm .. there are no listing for any facilities in Kings Park. What are these buildings open and functioning as? Under what State jurisdiction?
Linda Henninger October 22, 2011 at 01:53 AM
They are under the jurisdiction of New York State Office of Mental Health. Residential Care Center for Adults (RCCA) Pilgrim Psychiatric Center Kings Park, NY 11754 RCCA is a 24 hour staffed residential facility targeted for adults who are not yet ready for a less structured environment. State Operated Community Residences (SOCR) Pilgrim Psychiatric Center Kings Park, NY 11754 SOCR is a 24 hour, 7 day a week staffed program for individuals with a greater need for structure and supervision.
lisa costello October 22, 2011 at 04:48 AM
fyi,the rcca bldg will be closing very soon within the next 2-3 months. socrs will remain as outpt. housing.
Frank Mercuri October 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Still Part of OMH
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) October 23, 2011 at 01:23 AM
As a cyclist i would love to see one of the buildings converted to a massage parlor with various types of deep tissue services, should be free as i am not using fossil fuels doin' the "green thing". Would love a huge fountain near the entrance so i can dive in to get the coins people throw in...
eric October 27, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Listen people....i'm 23 born nd raised here. I can tell u whole- heartedly that none of these ideas will ever come true. We are talking about a town that refuses to let a fast food chain anywhere near it. You think that all of a sudden KP is going to morph all that land into a sprawling downtown with theater, more lame restaurants and a hotel?!? Give me a break we all know its goin to turn into assisted living boring and dull like the rest of this god forsaken place. No one wants to visit here, no one wants to stay here because of the derilect junkies consuming dope like its going out of style due to sheee boredom. The psych center is the one cool thing KP has sadly. Once that is replaced by senior living and some stupid "dog agility Park" all hope is lost. Let charles wang build his dream stadium extend SM pkway and build a bridge to CT or ferry port. Otherwise make room for the walkers ans wheel chairs people. Yey!
Frank Mercuri October 27, 2011 at 03:40 AM
Eric as a young man you have only witnessed a small part of what has been going on in KP. Surely it was a Hamlet built around a hospital to help those less fortunate than many of us. I moved here 45 years ago, it was and still is a growing community. People leave for many reasons and many have returned. I agree that some of the ideas stated here will never come to fruition nor will an assisting living facility. It was tried a few years back but never came to be based on a number of reasons. The no. 1 reason was that it would be a non-profit which does not pay taxes. that is all history. Kings Park is unique regardless of the black picture you paint. I have children who left not because of Kings Park who gave them a great education but because Long Island does not have the jobs . Their companies moved out of NY. Two have returened to KP because they love it. two are stlll away because that is where their work is, but when they visit they go to the bluff and seek friends and fond memories. What you claim about drugs is rampant no matter where one goes and it is unfortunate. Places get better if you get involved in making it better and not sit by and do nothing. This is your town and it is up to you to make it better. Many of us although aging still get involved to make sure that KP is the place to be. Have faith in your town.You and your peers can do it.
eric October 27, 2011 at 09:12 PM
No offense Frank, but if your the one making sure KP is the place to be. I will be tge first to suggest a rapid mutiny. KP is the place NOT to be unless you want to do nothing but stare across the sound in envy of CT with all their bright lights and who else knows what glorious wonders are taking place on the cool side of tge sound. Im young but i would love to see kp with its own nightlife scene. The only real problem is there is nowhere to eat after 10 pm in kp. Go figure.
Frank Mercuri October 27, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Eric, no problem you are entitled to a point of view,Unfortunately you see life though a small hole. Nightlife and cool places to eat do not make a village or a town. What you look for is what we all looked for at your age. My kids have been where you are, however they still enjoy KP when they get here and look to places to go in kp for refreshments. If not they go elsewhere t. I do not know where you have been but I and my family visited many of the states in this union I and I and the Mrs traveled to every state I could drive to except the four in the North west. I like Burger King but one in KP could not survive. These fast food places go where the traffic is. If I want a burger king I do not mind going to commack to get one. In time you as all of us as we age will look back in time and when push comes to shove you will praise the place where you live. Looking at connecticut is not a crime. Many go to the bluff to relax and take the break from daily routine. If you don't know this place is one where visiters who came here from other places and out of state say they wish they had something like this back home. People make the place to live not the nightlife or cool places.
David October 27, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Agree we need to maintain the tax base and not overcrowd our schools. But like it or not life on LI is changing and not for the better. Young professional people, single parents, and retirees are just examples of a signifcant portion of the demographic who struggle to make ends meet here, regardless of race or creed, and many generally leave LI. And practically no one moves here from out of state for any period of time due to the lack of affordable housing. I've been in the work force for 20+ years and see it all the time. Believe it or not there is a middle ground between gov't housing and $500K+ condos. I work plenty hard and want my kids to have the same opportunity to live and enjoy LI as my generation and those before have. Cultural venues should be part of the vision as well. Perhaps a portion of the property could be used similar to places that are supported by Friends of the Arts such as Planting Fields (a State Park in cooperation with a NFP organization, have music, outdoor activities, etc.) strike a balance between open space coupled with a destination. Plus beneficial use of prime waterfront property that's already partly developed needs to be considered for improvement. No question it's a tough decision. Just my two cents.
Joy C November 10, 2011 at 03:50 AM
What I'd like to see depends on where it's put. I've been collecting data on the wildlife in the Park for the past 8 years. Some sections of the park would be great to re-build, other parts would be better left alone. I'd love to see..not fast food, not more bars, but perhaps a hotel or resort and a couple of restaurants. An equestrian center, a butterfly house or avian center, a spa, a theater, a town pool, and especially, a nature center,trails, and gardens. I would like to see most traffic on the northwest side of the upper park, since most of the wildlife is on the northeast side. Across St. Johnland's on Kings Park Boulevard, I'd love to see the west side of the road developed and the east side converted back to grassland. I'd like to see lots of outdoor activities to get people back in touch with the world out there and fill their time with something other than their game systems, tvs, i-stuff, and electronic gizmos that seem to take up so much of their time. Tech is a wonderful thing..in moderation. And, since NRSP is one of the last large pieces of open space left in Western Suffolk County, we need care with how we develop it. Businesses are great; we can definitely use the tax base, but once an ecosystem is gone, that's it. I will, however, miss bldg 93. Too bad it can't be re-built. It would make a wonderful nursing home or hotel/conference center. I'll also miss the powerplant stack...that's where the 2 eagles and the turkey vultures tend to hang out....
Joy C November 10, 2011 at 05:11 AM
Up which road? It would make the most sense to go straight up Indian Head and Pulaski to keep the town businesses continuing down to the Dock and the roads would need to be widened to keep traffic flowing reasonably well, but what about pedestrian traffic? Or Parking? Who owns the land? Going down Kings Park Boulevard is not good because the town stops at the fire station. And how will the homeowners feel about the increased traffic? The towns named above are walking towns..People will not walk all the way down to the bluff from town. I also find that Port Jeff is very loud at night...not something that is particularly good near parkland...or residences. We might end up like Commack..lots of stores, plenty of tax base but no real town. I like my town. It feels very homey, peaceful, and American - like Apple Pie and old-time baseball. Do we really want to be like Huntington? Not only that, but our businesses keep closing. I don't think most of us actually spend money in our own town. Some of those business ideas seemed viable, yet they closed anyway. Why? And are we sure we really want to be someone else's destination? It sounds good in theory, but it will have to be VERY well thought out before it can be executed. I'm fortunate; my home is away from the areas in question, but I wouldn't want to live near downtown Port Jeff.
Donna D December 01, 2011 at 12:53 PM
A place for teenagers to go like a recreation center with pool tables, ping pong, etc. There are no places for young teenagers to go anymore. Also, a Wilson Tech type of school would be wonderful.
Bern December 13, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Hi Eric, Just remember, at any time U could be one of those "walkers ans wheel chairs people". You could be hit by a car and have permanent brain damage, you could be a veteran from the war, you could have a stroke (yes, at 23), you could get brain cancer and on and on. Lucky for U we have one of the best nursing homes on LI - St. Johnland. Please go visit and see YOUR future. Oh if you think NOT, then please imagine for 2 minutes and 17 seconds that your mother, father, brother or sister is diagnosed with Alzheimer's tomorrow and YOU are the only one that can take care of them. What ya gona do now? Know how to give someone a bath do ya? do you know how to change an adults diaper? Oh by the way, St. Johnland doesn't have cell phone service so your time there will be electronic free, nothing to distract you from the sounds of the people screaming to go home or just making noises. No internet either. There are a few Newsdays laying around, but you will have to snag them away from the ole folks who are dreaming of death. Obvioulsy, all us stupid ole geezers don't know nothing about what our "youts" want, so I guess we better start thinking about ourselves because you sure don't care about the largest population in the US- the Baby Boomers. Typical for your generation. And yes, thanks for telling me your age, that explains it all.
Bern December 13, 2011 at 12:56 AM
Hi Joy, Love your comments. You are sensitive and respectful of the environment, wildlife, horses and horticultural. All these things are jobs and careers if carefully planned out. Thanks, I'm proud to be your neighbor. PS Please go to the Cold Spring Harbor Labs website and find their conference center (Banbury Conference Center) - That's the kind of place I am thinking of. Would appreciate your thoughts.
Bern December 13, 2011 at 01:01 AM
did someone want a pool table or other- http://www.hurricanebilliards.com/Welcome.html
Kario January 02, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I just visited the Port Jefferson Center. There was an ice skating rink, and the building holds various exercise classes. There are events there during the summer. Why not have something like this on the property? Also, York Hall could be a catering facility. If I'm not mistaken KP proms used to be held there.
KP Johnny April 18, 2012 at 04:44 PM
what a friggin loser outlook and comment from someone who has put no time yet into the adult work and family life. Widen your narrow view bro.
KP Johnny April 18, 2012 at 05:21 PM
it is sickening that we are now approaching the drop dead date of the demolition to begin. Something we have been fighting off for years way before i even moved here. There are so many reason to not want them to commence with a full demolition of that place. Aside form the nasty thoughts of air quality, dangers with the water system and the rodent problem that already screws up some of the area from just reconstructing the old Walbaums, the real worry is that NOONE has ever come up with a true decent plan as to what will happen with the land. I could go on and on about how we dont want to see certain things and i have seen some very intelligent comments on here already regarding the influx of so called "lower income" housing and the kids that would bombard the schools and the thought of what that would do to the taxes is ridiculous. Most have a similar outlook of parks and fields and a few condos. Any more living facilities than that would greatly effect everything from sewage to traffic to overcrowding of schools. Considering our involvement in sports and the need for more and BETTER facilities i would think we would be more interested in building those for use of KPY and local sports along with all sorts of paid adult sports such as softball and soccer instead of all of that money going to another town for use of Flynn field and others.
KP Johnny April 18, 2012 at 05:21 PM
continued.. Well i could go on and on but this debate honestly disgusts me and lke with most things when left up to local government and the greedy business slime this will most likely not turn out positive and the way that most KP residents would like.
Frank Mercuri April 18, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I do not recall anyone wanting to stop the demolition. In all the years I have been involved in community affairs the cleanup was a priority and funding was allocated for it. The demolition company is in complete control with the state monitoring the project, regarding air pollution and rodents. there are controls in place to assure that there is no contamination and rodent infestation. There were a number of meetings concerning the cleanup with the state and the community, as a matter of fact I just left a meeting getting an update on the new start time,
Jamie Spaulding April 19, 2012 at 01:07 PM
I've lived in Kings Park my whole life (33 years) and despite what has happened to the town with drugs and illegal immigrants taking over, I would like to stay ( and invest in where I grew up) but there is no affordable housing for a single person trying to buy a home/townhouse. The Townhouses are more than some houses and the taxes are unbearable for what you receive. Maybe some affordable house for those not in the 55+ age group should be considered, if you want to keep people in this town.
Frank Mercuri April 19, 2012 at 07:07 PM
jamie i can sympathize with you but one must face reality and that reality is the need for industry to come to KP and from which taxes can be obtained. We pay 90% of schoolt axes, we being the property owners. When I moved to KP my house cost 20K and is now valued at 400k. The school budget then was appoximately 2million today it is at 80 million, Does this all make sence I wonder for we are told there is little infolation and I say how come when the cost for things are high. 25-35K for a car? how then can a builder develope "affordable housing" when there is in really no place to build for one has to say what is affordable? I know of a number of reiends who moved out to so called "lower costs" only to find that cost were not really that low. I have toured these United States and if one wants to live in a desert envoirnment then a small place can probably be build at a reasonable cost. The answers are hard to the question There are no easy solutions. All I can say is to save and hope you will have enough to buy your dream and to support it. Given that I paid 19 cents for a gallon of home heating oil, back then and today at $3.89 a gallon take a look at where the dollars are going and what it can by, not to far and very little. Good luck on your search I hope all will eventually go well for KP is the place to be. Drugs are another issue rampant in many places not just KP as is illigal immigration.
Bern April 19, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Hi Jamie, Just and FYI. St. Johnland Nursing Center has just sent out information and photos of their new facilty (soon to be built) that will include Independent, Assisted, and Nursing accomodations. "It will be like high end resort living". I have no idea of cost, but there will be a place built shortly.

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