Town Completes Purchase to Expand Gateway Park

Filed under: Huntington Union Free School District,Investigations,News |

Editor’s note and opinion: As with all parcels purchased by the Town, this property will no longer generate tax revenue.  In this case the Huntington school district will lose $4773.20 annually.  If you consider town of Huntington property purchases and the Suffolk County IDA program, every few weeks the Huntington School district loses additional annual revenue that will need to be made up by either cutting programs or increasing taxes.  It is unclear if the assembled parcels in this case will remain as open space or if they are being assembled for future high density development.  The plans of both the TOD (Transit Oriented Development) and the Current Brownfield study encourage assembling of parcels for the purpose of building high density housing.  In the next print issue of the Huntingtonian, we discuss an example of the town of Huntington acquiring property that had the potential of generating more than $200,000 annually for the Huntington School District.

(Town Hall Press Release by AJ Carter)

Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone announces that the Town has completed purchase of a one-acre parcel 12 Academy Place, Huntington Station, as the latest acquisition in assembling the property to develop Gateway Park.

The purchase, which doubles the size of Gateway Park, includes a circa-1900 farmhouse that the Town plans to renovate (funded by a $370,000 state Heritage grant) and develop as a center for educational programs, perhaps on the history of Huntington Station. The house could also provide restrooms for the park, which currently is the site of a popular community garden.

“This is a key acquisition in assembling the necessary parcels to develop Gateway Park, and I look forward to utilizing the state grant to make the necessary repairs to the farmhouse so we can begin considering the kinds of educational programs the Town could offer there,” Supervisor Petrone said.

 The property is contiguous to the previously acquired parcels that have formed the 1.3 acres of Gateway Park.

 The farmhouse was once the center of a working dairy farm known as the Hillside Dairy. Unopened preserves and milk bottles dated as early as the 1930s line the farmhouse wine cellar, the milk shed where milk was pasteurized and bottled adjoins the house off its northeast corner and the concrete footings of the former dairy barn can still be found on the southwest corner of the property. The farmhouse property has been in the hands of the Merksamer/Teich family for nearly a century and is ten of yards away from the site of the first synagogue in Huntington, where the Teich family attended.

 Last year, the family let the Town know they were interested in selling the property to the Town, at a price less than they could have received from a developer, in the hopes that their heritage and the heritage of the Huntington Station community would be preserved and celebrated through an historic parkland effort such as has been suggested for Gateway Park. The purchase price was $270,000, with the funding coming from the Town Environmental Open Space and Park Improvement Fund. The closing on the property occurred on June 21.

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