A $6.4 million contract has been awarded to a Bloomington, Indiana company for the demolition of 15 abandoned buildings on the former Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital property.
The work, scheduled to begin mid-May, will be done by National Salvage and Service Corp., which presented the lowest bid on the project. The project is expected to be completed Nov. 2013.
A total of 20 bids were received on the project.
The project is expected to create around 65 jobs, including jobs for local subcontractors in areas such as rodent control, trucking and concrete restoration.
“I’m pleased that this spring will bring visible improvements in the safety and security risks at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center site,” said New York State Park Commissioner, Rose Harvey, in a statement. “Once we get this important first step underway, State Parks looks forward to continuing to work with our partners on the state level and in the community to further revitalize this site,” she said.
The bid comes in well below the $15 million allocated to undertake the demolition project. Funding for the project comes from a $25 million state budget appropriation initiated in 2006 by State Sen. John Flanagan.
"The fact that the accepted bid was significantly lower than originally anticipated is an encouraging sign and I look forward to working with State Parks to use the remaining funds in the most effective and efficient way possible," said Flanagan.
"I am also eager to work with the parks administration and the contractor to make sure that the community's way of life is protected during the upcoming process and that every attempt to hire workers from the immediate area will be made," said Flanagan.
At a Nov. 2011 meeting, held by state parks officials, residents raised questions concerning air and water quality during the demolition. Officials at the meeting called the plan well thought out and safe.
Four of the buildings slated for demolition are located within the 153-acre Nissequogue River State Park, which was established in 2000. The other 11 buildings that will be removed are located on an additional 35 acres of the property that were transferred to the agency in 2006. Some of the structures slated for removal include the smokestack and other structures adjacent to the abandoned power plant.
Advocate for Nissequogue River State Park, Linda Henninger said the announcement was great news.
“I am excited that a responsible bid came in that low. It shows that their initial remediation estimates were out of whack,” she said.
In a study commissioned by the state back in 2010, the price of demolishing all 57 abandoned buildings and returning 368 acres to open space was $215 million.
Proponents of the park have long advocated for a master plan for the property, such as the one being developed for neighboring . According to state parks spokesperson, Peter Brancato, the focus for now is on safety.
"Right now we are not focusing on a master plan.We are just focusing on bringing down the buildings as safely as possible. Then we will determine what the next phases will be as far as demolition and renovation.
According to Brancato, there won't be a master plan until Nov. 2013 or later when the second phase of demolition has been completed.
"We need to get to a certain condition first, then we can determine next steps," he said.
“I am disappointed with the 2013 date for a master plan. We still have to move forward. There is still a lot more work ahead to make this a thriving park," said Henninger. "The State’s position on the timetable for the master plan is unacceptable and must be revisited."