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Brookhaven Seeks to Buy Blue Point Property for Open Space Use

Town purchase will permit 'passive' park elements and not 'active' use such as a skateboard park.

Blue Point could soon be home to one of the largest open areas in Brookhaven Town as a councilman is advocating a town purchase of 17 acres along Maple Street, once known as the Kurt Weiss Greenhouse/Scro property.

But while most residents favor a park effort, not all are in agreement to the exact type of park should be created. The Blue Point Civic Association is holding an informational meeting on November 13 at the James Wilson Young Middle School, beginning at 7 p.m., to discuss why the site should be an ‘active’ park rather than a ‘passive’ park.

Initially the land was going to be bought from the current owner by both Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town with potential use as an ‘active’ park, which could include a skateboard park, playing fields, a community garden area, a concert gazebo, memorial garden, walking and biking paths and even a community center.

But then Brookhaven Town Councilman Tim Mazzei spearheaded a town-only effort for Brookhaven to buy the land using open space funds. Such use will only allow a ‘passive’ park which could feature walking trails and possibly a gazebo and benches.

“The residents told me they don’t want skateboard parks and favor a passive park,” Mazzei told Patch in a phone interview, adding he hopes to have signed contracts within two months and have the park open by next Spring.

“I was also concerned about whether the county would have the funds to do the park purchase and create and maintain the park,” he added.

Suffolk Legislator Rob Calarco, who was heading up the county’s role in the initial park partnership, commended Mazzei’s action.

“I applaud him for doing this,” Caralco told Patch in a phone interview.

But not everyone is happy with Mazzei’s decision. Blue Point Civic Association President Ed Silsbie said his group has very supportive of the ‘active’ parkland partnership effort and has been involved for years working toward ‘good outcome’.

Mazzei's resolution move caught the group off guard, he said, and shut out from the new project effort.

“We learned the town passed a walk-on resolution (an off-the-agenda resolution) to pull the purchase out of the county's hands and buy it as open space. We've asked for information and participation in the process, we have been told to stay out,” he told Patch in an email.  “Looking at the project so far we feel that a real park is better than 17 bulldozed acres with a walking path."

He said the park has the potential to be as successful as the Heritage Center park in Mt. Sinai, which is a two-decade joint effort by the county, town and a property trust organization. The site boasts a community center, playing fields, walking path, a play ground, and ornamental gardens.

“We acknowledge today's economics will not build much. Our government found the money to buy it, they can also find a way to hold the land until we can design/build a park,” he wrote, noting he believes most residents don't want a 'passive' park.

“The BPCCA understands that much of our community would like an active park. Buying it as open space cancels any future ability to meet that desire.”

Jeannine October 16, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Can we not have anytlhing lively around here? Patchogue blows away bayport and Bluepoint. I feel like all bayport has is Drug stores and banks! Why not a skate park? maybe if these kids had somewhere to go then everyone would not be wondering who is selling the kids alcohol and other things. Why not a water park like some other towns and pull in some money? lets start keeping up with Patchogue at least. Patchogue has come a long way. Lets these kids have something thats theirs!
friend October 17, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Wait, they are talking about closing the Holtsville Ecology Center for lack of funds yet now they are buying all this land to build a new park? Yeah, makes perfect sense.
Vito October 17, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Ever been down to the baseball fields in Bayport? I walk through there for exercise and have often encountered young people drinking and always find the area littered with beer cans and bottles. There are also constant issues with vandalism. Despite cries every time an issue like this arises stating that the kids need places to go and things to do, a park is no guarantee that kids won't engage in inappropriate behavior.
Big Al October 17, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Not In My Back Yard! I live next to this property...I would not be happy with a Mt Sinai type park in my backyard. The noise and the lighting would seriously degrade my property value and quality of life. I already have the following to contend with: train noise and ground tremors, highway noise, and ironically- the late night dance club noise coming from our Councilman Mazzei's restaurant-property 'Blue' (formerly Mazzei restaurant; formerly a residence). There are much more suitable locations for an active park of this style. A passive park would meet the needs of everybody equally instead of catering to the sports specific activities of an active park which would serve only a select few. For a change I can say, thanks Tim Mazzei.
Ed Silsbe October 17, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Thanks PATCH for exploring this Community & Civic issue. I'll go to the core of a couple of points. I may chime into the comments to correct a few things. The biggest issue is buying the land as Town Open Space (TOS) vs. as Co./Town as Active Park (CTP). Tim promises it’ll be open spring ‘13, why a rush? Buying it as TOS has huge obstacles to anything future. All you’ll get is a path, benches, gazebo, not even a mowed lawn & your friend from Bayport’s not allowed. But buy it as CTP & we set up a management plan giving the community choices/input. The Co. would accept the trail, bench, gazebo idea w/ a Village Green as an active park. It’s Co. ¼% $’s paying for it & we can plan big buffers, community center, playground or your ideas later. No lights req'd. It all boils down to choice & input. Choice; We spoke to hundreds @ the Expo most had no clue, 99% in favor of a real park. Input; Tim used a walk-on, off agenda, resolution & deals ? for a unanimous vote @ the Town Bd. (Aug. 28) pushing the Co. out of a deal he signed months before, we had no input. Come to our meeting @ JWY Mid. School Nov. 13, 7:00 & bring an open mind. Blue Point/Brookhaven & Bayport/Islip welcome. Ed Silsbe, Pres. BPCCA
Ed Silsbe October 17, 2012 at 11:03 PM
A minor F.Y.I. the UA project is still active, we have negotiated a plan that gives us Town Open Space in the pristine woodlands/wetlands ( 30 + acres ) & holds the development within the footprint already cleared. The purchase price before they got all the approvals was around 20 million, it has likely gone up. We have nearly 10 years in to that one. And kudos to Tim Mazzei for a lot of help in making it happen. Ed Silsbe, Pres, BPCCA
Ed Silsbe October 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM
F.Y.I. The Ecology Center $'s come out of the budget. The $'s Tim plans to use here are borrowed under the Open Space Bond Act. We pay it back later. The County $'s come from the 1/4 sales tax $'s we have been stacking up for years. Be nice to get some spent locally. Ed Silsbe, Pres. BPCCA
Ed Silsbe October 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM
F.Y.I. Members of our Civic manned a table at the Chamber Expo. ( Great event ) and we spoke to perhaps 350 - 400 local residents. The vast majority, all but (2) thought it would be wonderful to have such an asset in our community. The biggest problem seemed to be that many did not even know the opportunity existed. They wanted to know how to get their voices heard. Come to the Nov. 13th meeting at the JWY Middle School @ 7:00 pm Any informational meetings that were being planned by the Town of Brookhaven on the Open Space seem to be a long way off, I'm told next year after the parcel is bought. The County had already started planning meetings which became derailed when Tim Mazzei pushed them out of the deal in late August. Ed Silsbe, Pres. BPCCA
Ed Silsbe October 17, 2012 at 11:38 PM
F.Y.I. Do understand that the Mt. Sinai project is an example of a joint Co./Town/Land Trust deal that has been a valuable asset in that community for years now. They took years to plan out what you see & are still working on it today, also they have no lights on the fields. And sports fields are only one part of what could happen. Want a community garden, Playground, concert lawn, village green, picnic table, etc.? None of that is allowed as Open Space. If we don't rush and buy it as Town Open Space our Community could take all the time needed to plan it right, listening to all the voices. Buying it w/ the County allows us years. Maybe a minor point but there is no such thing as Passive Park in the Town of Brookhaven. There is Town Open Space, run as a nature preserve. There is a real difference in the way it's run. Try anything much more than a walking path and it's not allowed. Trying to step out of land aquired under the Open Space Bond Act to do anything else requires the NYS Legislature's vote/approval. Why lock it up? Ed Silsbe, Pres. BPCCA
Ed Silsbe October 18, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Those w/o an open mind are those who would buy it in secret, allowing no community input. We say come to our open meeting on Nov. 13th. We're organizing the meeting & putting in the effort to host it because we’re trying to engage all community members. Resident reactions to alternatives of Open Space-vs-a Park (of some kind) was very convincing, most want a real park not just a path and benches. Not saying it would be a misrepresentation. You say we’re anti open space, you're very wrong. We've spent nearly 10 years working for a positive development @ the UA site (& other sites around here). It gives us ~30 ac. of land, real Open Space (Forest/Wetlands) @ no cost. The owners are not selling it. The traffic you speak of is calculates to less w/ the park than the 30 homes approved. We were surprised to see that ourselves. **Again there is a big difference in buying it as Town Open Space vs a Co./Town Park. The Open Space locks it in to next to nothing. W/ a real park we can take our time to design what we all want. The Co. says they are o.k. w/ a joint Park deal being nothing like the Mt. Sinai Heritage Center & we'd all get to shape it later.** This bulldozed site w/ 100+ years of industrial greenhouse use has no qualities usually found in Open Space preservation. So far as access; it's simple Town Code/law & the signs @ the access gates say Town Res. only.
Jimmy October 18, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Nothing wrong with a nice area for walking with benches and gazebo but the acreage there can also support a community center where the bayport/blue point youth can go and be resourceful and stay off the streets, the skate park is also a great idea and will keep the kids with the skateboards busy in a park made for them and not skating around the streets endangering themselves...take the time and try and do "whatever it takes" to make the community a better place...giving youth the opportunity to have something for themselves will give them a sense of pride and have a positive effect on the towns and surrounding areas.
Ed Silsbe October 19, 2012 at 09:41 PM
re last reply's: a. The UA site cost 20 mil. before they got approvals & they are not selling. It's 30+ ac's open space is forest/wetlands. They'll build on what's cleared now. b. Buy it as Park & we get to chose what it becomes & the Co. can accept as little as the open space or more, we can sort it out. c. Read about the guy convicted of a brawl @ Grey Horse Tav., brawls @ the H.S., ck the Police blotter on PATCH. Shut dn. the hamlet!! d. We didn't write the article & never said that. e. PATCH is great, but not setting the meeting agenda. f. We were asked to comment on Mazzei's open space deal after he authored the reso in March to buy it as an Active Park w/ the Co. He then axed the Co. w/ backroom negotiations & an off agenda reso' on 8-28. The Co. found out when a reporter called for comment. So no we were not happy. g. So yes we were glad Mazzei wrote reso 2012-203, nominated it on 3-6, voted yes on it, we didn't ask for it. That reso got many in our community started on planning open meetings to start discussing it. Yes I called it a "Real Park", Mazzei's reso called it an ACTIVE PARK (not shouting, a quote), call him a liar. We've called Maz. for updates since April, no call back yet. h. Yes we've been seeking community input on this parcel for years, hosting several big meetings. Mazzei stopped seeking input this year. But our 3.5 mil goes into the Developer's pocket & we got to say "nada" about what happens, great!! i. Open Minded? well yes we are.
Ed Silsbe October 20, 2012 at 12:25 AM
We're not the professionals here, we're concerned citizens who put in some effort. We have to plead for access to our gov't, finding delays @ every turn. The BPCCA is only interested in a discussion we did not start. Mazzei "plopped" that Park down w/ the County in March. We were informed of this and thought it was worthy of exploration. We followed his professional lead and, along w/ others invited to do so, moved forward with plans to present options available to our community. & the traffic values are less than those for the homes already approved. So yes we thanked Mazzei for his foresight in March & wondered what brought on the changes in late August. We tried to open a discussion w/ Mazzei in Sep. & got not a word from his office for weeks, very professional. We still feel it's only fair that if we're borrowing 3.5 million + interest to bail out a developer's losing gamble, that we should have a discussion out in the open. If you and a few others feel that's an unprofessional thing, we'd love to hear how your logic works. Why the rush? If you feel that the way in which Councilman Mazzei's acted on this thing is honest, open & professional please feel free to show us where the listing of events are wrong. We have back-up/research for every word. What bashing? It's a only a sincere chronology . Mr. Mazzei said one thing in his 3-6-'12 reso' and has done another. I guess you'd call that real professional??
BluePointer October 20, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Hopefully this is my last comment - The here and now is open space preservation, which will be a big plus for the community. The legislative process is what it is and resulted in a positive and beneficial outcome for our town. From all that was written, it kinda sounds like the BPCCA feels slighted. Hopefully, their leadership can move on and apply their energy to address some of the blight in our town, such as the abandoned Bell Ave and Kennedy Ave gas stations. The business strip on Main Street near the BP gas station looks like it's ready to go under, too. Finally, I don't buy all the secret government stuff being written about.
Ed Silsbe October 20, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Deflecting to Main St. really?? We can force businesses to thrive? Good trick. We do far more than you know to help. Truly concerned ask your professionals to help also. Slighted no misled, just like the entire community. Still don't know why, kinda know how. Your legislative process is grossly flawed if this is normal, "The ends justify the means" is a horrible & immoral outlook. So your alternative point on the "Gov't stuff" is that I/we are lying. Very nice you can back that up right? We can back up our observations/research. I have not called you a liar, I have tried only to politely addressed your concerns/assertions about us. Tune in Ch. 18 & watch" walk-on" (Off agenda) resolutions 749 & 750 get unanimously accepted w/o discussion & then unanimously approved w/o discussion. When were they discussed? Lesko even said he'd be out to go camping, yep he knew just what he was voting for. I do know NYS's open meeting law & It's not legal for any Town Bd. to discuss a resolution in Executive Session or any other private setting. That's a meeting, legal only in advertised/public settings. So you say we are lying to say that Mazzei did not promote an Active Park in March only to flip flop on Aug 28th. Yep we missed the big meeting to discuss it all? Oh did you hear about the hearing for the acceptance of the Open Space application? No one did. Why? If it's so great why not promote it?
BayBlue1 October 20, 2012 at 09:36 AM
The Heritage park is a great model of how it can be done correctly. I am concerned that if it gets built that it will not be maintained once the initial buzz wears off.
Ed Silsbe October 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Since you said "you don't buy" what I wrote I can only suppose the alternative perspective is that there's a lie in there somewhere. The Town Bd. discusses the heck out of stuff, but 2 unscheduled/undiscussed reso's to borrow 3 1/2 mil. got -0- discussion, so when were they discussed? That discussion by law must be in public, Ex. Ses. or the Dinner it's not legal. Derail what? You can have the park you want w/ the Co./Town deal too. We seek discussion before spending 3 1/2 mil. in borrowed $'s. Tell us all truthfully if Mazzei's March reso' for the Active Park was still in play you'd just sit back & let the wonderful legislative process play out, right? Your target? We have/do plenty to "help" Main St "In your view" more to be done? Come to a meeting & help out!! We meet 1st Tues of the mo. 7:00 in the small conf. rm. @ the Library, a big issue & we'll get you a bigger rm. We always welcome the input. Your target? Businesses on Kennedy & Division were looked @ because of Community concerns, not even members, over some bad activity. We held open meetings @ the Blue Point Bible Church & went out of our way to be fair. We put up over 100 signs in the area to invite the businesses out (They kept taking them down, Residents knew about the mtg' we went to great lengths to get the businesses out.). We got Town officials out to several mtg's answering both sides concerns. Yes all out in the open, professional & the way it should be. It's the way we roll.
Ed Silsbe October 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Far be it from me to bully anyone. If you question the civic's & or my integrity I am up to defending what we've been up to. You don't seem to agree w/ much of what we've ever done, you must know things we don't, please clue us all in. You've made dozens of declarations about us/me I've answered them truthfully & politely. I asked you one direct question and you have not answered it, you deflected it w/ an accusation of assault? Really? It's been interesting. I need to get back to work. Civic Pres. pays less than nothing. Want to get involved? Come to a meeting, join, stay informed, have a voice. Unless you have a real issue or an answer to my only question I'm done w/ this string.

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