Smithtown Shows Interest in Acquiring Psych Center Land for Rec Use

Town eyes 55 acres for recreational sports use.


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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Retired January 10, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Yet..they won't take the Marion Carll Farm property? Makes no sense... looks like the Town of Smithtown is as stupid as the Commack School Board.
Friend of the Farm January 10, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Although I agree with you, the MCF is in the town of Huntington and they are the ones who won't save it. Smithtown is a much better township for its residents from snowplowing to parks.
chefcristo January 10, 2013 at 11:40 AM
..........if the land is acquired by smithtown, its use should be free or of minimal cost to smithtown residents, unlike the high-priced sunken meadow state park. i appreciate that our beautiful kings park bluff (one of the most gorgeous spots on long island) is free to smithtown residents.
Donald Tucker January 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Yes, I went to Marion Carll elementary school and it is a shame that the 3 ball fields there have just overgrown over the last 30 years and are not put to good use. I remember when they were going to turn it into tennis courts and then when the skate boarding faze was here it was going to be turned into a skate boarding park. Anyhow, do something with this public land in the way of a park. Let's go ! Where is our taxpayer $ going other than exorbitant teacher's and administators salaries ?
Erik Carlson January 10, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Finally a step in the right direction! The growth of our town versus the playing fields has changed over the past decades. The space is genuinely needed! Sports has grown so large that there is a drastic need for these new fields. This may actually have an impact on future generations of children and them not making bad choices. There is a direct correlation between children playing sports, good coaching, their time being filled positively and them not making a poor choice. All the articles we have seen with drug problems in our small town, this could help several children stay on or get on the right path. It is worth the extra few $ in taxes. Great move and thank you Councilman Ed Wehrheim and Councilman Bob Creighton.
Frank January 10, 2013 at 03:20 PM
One or two more hockey rinks like the one at Brady Park on Maple Avenue would be welcome. It is almost impossible to hold a practice on that rink cause it is constantly filled!
TINGO January 10, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Smithtown has no monies. T.O.S just took from their rainy reserve fund. Is this cost effective?
Only In America January 10, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Maggie Spinelli January 10, 2013 at 05:07 PM
That's the last thing we need, another ice rink. Not everyone ice skates or enjoys hockey
John K Massaro January 10, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Not if that's the only thing they're going to put there. If it's part of an entire town-run rec center-type thing with baseball, football & soccer fields, etc. That would be pretty nice. 55 acres could make a really sweet rec center complex.
Stevo January 10, 2013 at 05:17 PM
A lot of kids and adults like to ice skate and play hockey. Just because you don't doesn't mean the idea shoild be dimissed.
John K Massaro January 10, 2013 at 05:21 PM
True. Keep in mind also, you have to pay to get into Superior. This rink would be free to use for all town residents, I'm assuming? That would be nice...
Erik Carlson January 10, 2013 at 05:27 PM
I played ice hockey hockey, loved it. However that is a major expense. Maybe have a section allocated for that specifically at a time when it is affordable. I am not saying that baseball, basketball etc are cheap. Just that they are cheaper to run on a day to day basis. Hopefully this will lead to more jobs for the area as well. This is a very good thing.
Erik Carlson January 10, 2013 at 05:30 PM
This should be similar to the Rinx in Hauppauge..... Ice rink, ball fields etc... It is not free, but it is like 1/2 the cost that privately owned rinks charge to skate for a couple hours or to have teams play on.... Probably need to research that instead of guessing.
Frank January 10, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Strange comment Maggie! I didn't suggest another ice hockey rink. Superior is great! The suggestion was for a hockey rink. A place where the kids could play deck or roller hockey instead of playing in the streets or stealing space from tennis courts. Not all kids play football, soccer or baseball either but you seem to be ok with those.
The Crab Child January 10, 2013 at 07:44 PM
I've written about this before but Smithtown needs a skate park!! I've been driving my son for about two years over to Veteran's Skate Park in Northport and it's wonderful. Enclosed by fencing, helmets mandatory, always a staff member there, closes at dusk and closed in bad weather. They have had drug awareness days with food & fun for the skaters and it doesn't draw a bad crowd. I've never seen or heard of trouble or fighting there. The kids are there for hours on end enjoying the fresh air and getting exercise. It draws a wide age group. It's a lovely park. It was built by California Skate Parks and it's really beautiful. They get $10 to come in and skate for the day or $50 gets you a year pass. Sadly, my money has gone to the Town of Huntington so my son can enjoy this great park. SITE Design Group, Inc. worked with the Town of Huntington and California Skateparks on the design and build of an 18,700 square foot skate park. Multiple community meetings were held and the design consensus were features such an amoeba shaped bowl, a flow course and a street plaza park. Check it out! http://town.huntington.ny.us I've lived in Smithtown since I'm 4 and I'll be 47 this year. C'mon Smithtown...you need to evolve with the times!!!!
Mitch Kerr January 11, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Never happen. they want to acquire the parcel then exchange it for the land for uplands...(notice the similarity in acreage) take their piece... and that’s it. Unfortunately the state will not do this, if they did a lawsuit would immediately be filed. Subterfuge that's all
Nic January 11, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Donald, What is so exorbitant about a teacher's salary? In addition to needing a Master's degree and constant education which they need to pay for, they are basically required to raise children nowadays. They teach content, character education, and are legally responsible for more and more of physical, social and emotional health of today's youth. You should look at how many administrators are running a school; that is where money could be cut.
Rebecca Sobotkin January 11, 2013 at 01:40 AM
I think this is a wonderful idea. They should put up a cellphone tower there so residents of Kings Park who currently don't have cell service will finally have it. It is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity
Argile January 11, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Sounds like a great idea! Back in the 80's we built a half pipe in a friends backyard. Best thing we ever did. The only negative drawback is you have parents that will sue if their kids got hurt. It's not like the 70's anymore when we all used to jump ramps live Evil Kneivel on our banana seat bikes with no helmets. By today's standards Long Islanders have grown into whiney pussies.
Mitch Kerr January 11, 2013 at 08:54 PM
or maybe they want to acquire the 55 acre parcel so as to remove any future competition to their buddies at Uplands. Smithtown does not need another park in that area anyway.
John K Massaro January 11, 2013 at 09:14 PM
OR maybe they want to aquire the 55 acre parcel for recreation and sports field use, like the story says, despite your silly little conspiracy theory...
Mitch Kerr January 11, 2013 at 09:33 PM
@John Massaro The state can not nor will they transfer any portion of the property to Smithtown the reasons are many but primarily due to the fact it would trigger litigation for the disposition of the entire site(365 acres) i am saying no more. I suggest if your looking for recreation join a local Gym or fitness club
John K Massaro January 11, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Guess we'll see...
Chris January 13, 2013 at 02:28 AM
If everybody would stop responding to JOHN K MASSARO posts then hopefully he will go away and the Patch would become a better place. We all know his story he does not live in KP but he is moving back. For a person who has so many negative comments about our town and schools why does he want to come back? Step away from the keyboard John and attend a board meeting and speak your opinions. John please don't try fishing another comment from me because I am not biting.
John K Massaro January 13, 2013 at 03:36 AM
Doing the cut-and-paste thing I see? Oh you'll bite..
John K Massaro January 13, 2013 at 03:41 AM
I'll second that! 55 acres can make a pretty nice sports complex. Skating, hockey rink, possibly an outdoor ice rink in the winter months, baseball fields, soccer, perhaps some tennis & basketball courts, a consession stand maybe. It would be nice for KPY to have a home field they could be proud of. Perhaps even PAL might be interested in expanding their league into KP?
A Taxpayer January 13, 2013 at 11:35 PM
When will Smithtown residents see through these two self-serving councilman and vote them out of office?
mary wellbourne January 14, 2013 at 01:32 AM
I totally agree with the comment below mine---We the people of Smithtown elected a town board of five and we want them to work that way. These two conncilmen are two wildcards trying to posion themselves for a run at supervisor. They are both double dippers with our money---getting paid for pensions as well as town board. Enough is a enough. Please don't compare Vecchios paltry pension to these guys $100000 plus pensions. Please stop trying to posion yourselves and serve as a board member not as an independent
mary wellbourne January 14, 2013 at 01:35 AM
sorry the word is position---and I agree with the comment above---tough when you in your 70's


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