The Town of Smithtown would like to see additional space for recreation for local sports groups and is approaching the state to inquire about using land at the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center to fill the need.
Councilman Ed Wehrheim said that he and councilman Bob Creighton have been having informal discussions with park officials on the possibility of using 55 acres at the former hospital for recreation and sports field use.
“We are still in need of parkland in town,” said Creighton at Tuesday’s town board meeting. “We have valuable property in Kings Park Psychiatric Center and there is space that could be used for a recreational facility. What I would like to consider, or have us consider or have the attorney contact the state of New York if they are willing to consider, transfer of those 55 acres to Town of Smithtown for recreational facilities.”
Groups such as Kings Park Youth said playing field space is tough to come by and have also approached the state about the possibility of using the abandoned space for sports fields.
“We are always looking for additional space for recreation,” said Wehrheim, who said he has been approached by organizations in Nesconset, St. James and Kings Park. “We need to add some fields because of the amount of usage.”
Wehrheim said that they are looking to use about 55 acres on the southern tip of the psychiatric center border, closer to 25A, across from the parks building and grounds building.
“There is nothing on it. It is fairly flat,” he said.
To get the process started, Wehrheim said a letter was being sent to state Sen. John Flanagan to ask if he could help begin a dialogue with the state about the possibility of acquiring the land.
“We can talk about how we want to develop it. It could be a public private partnership,” said Wehrheim, who added that there is always a possibility of discussing development with private entities.
“I have spoken in the past to private organizations to build something like that,” he said. “We could lease to them and they would run their operation. There are a number of different options, but there is no point going to that step if the state isn’t will to do it."
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