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Possible Closure of Holtsville Ecology Site Angers Town Residents

Group forms Facebook group to protest proposed Brookhaven Town budget cuts, which include a plan to shut down the Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center.

A grassroots movement by residents in protest of Brookhaven Town's possible decision to close the Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center has gone viral with the help of Facebook and an online petition.

Last Friday concerned residents launched the Facebook page entitled: "Save the Holtsville Wildlife & Ecology Center," and began posting news, developments, and links for visitors to contact elected officials on the Town Board.

To date, in three days time, the page has gone from three likes, to 4,367, with residents from all over splashing the page with comments and questions.

"My kids love the place."

"What the heck."

"This is a staple of my childhood-I can't stand the idea of it."

"We need to save this wonderful place I've taken my children there over the years now im taking my grand kids..."

In an email to Patch, Adrienne Meyers Wilber, of Holtsville, wrote: "I enjoy visiting the animals and walking on the exercise path. When my kids were younger we used to visit the playground very often."

In addition to the Facebook page, an online petition has popped up on the aggregation site Change.org, with more than 2,700 signatures. The petition still needs 2,300 to reach the 5,000 signature benchmark.

Meanwhile, the Brookhaven Wildlife Center, Inc., a Town committee that attempts to raise money for feed, medical supplies and housing to non-releasable animals, has planned an emergency board meeting for this Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall on Independence Hill to discuss the matter.

Jack Krieger, a Brookhaven Town spokesperson, said the cuts are in the preliminary budget plan, which has not been adopted yet. He also added that closing the zoo and greenhouse alone would save the town approximately $900,000 per year.

"An analysis of the Holtsville Complex indicated that it was heavily used by non-Town residents, resulting in Town residents subsidizing that use through their tax dollars," a portion of the tenative budget, put together by now former Town Supervisor Mark Lesko, reads. "We recommend immediately planning for the safe transfer of the animals at the zoo and we have budgeted $50,000 for this transfer."

Patch will have more on this story, including the Sept. 20 meeting, as it develops.

Nicole Fritz September 18, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Why use the 50 grand to move the animals instead of using it to fund their care? Seems ass backwards to me. This place was used in teaching kids in the 80s and 90s what good could come out of an old garbage dump. My children now go to the ecology site and live to see the animals and play on the playground. Closing the ecology site would be a shame and takes away a safe family friendly learning place from the next generation. To close it now is a slap in the face to the taxpayer.. We pay taxes should we not have a say in what our money is spent on?
Lorraine Bock September 18, 2012 at 07:38 PM
They took a dump and eyesore and did something good with the land. Now they want to close it! That would be a shame and that's putting it mildly. I brought my children there when they were little and now I take my grandson. I go there myself to enjoy the animals and fitness walk. I've been in Patchogue since 1972 so the Ecology site has been a part of my life for a very long time. There ARE some things that are more important than the almighty dollar. I hope the Site will still be there long after I'm gone.
SoMo September 18, 2012 at 07:55 PM
How about charging $5 to park to raise money? God knows you nickle and dime us for everything else.
Michelle Rose September 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM
That would be such a shame. My kids love going there.
Colleen September 19, 2012 at 07:02 PM
It has been said if they can not find new homes for these beautiful animals ,the animals will be destroyed. This is horrible! They charge for the pool,how about charging for the zoo. It would be an extremely sad thing if Brookhaven closes this place.
Kathy Jezewski September 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM
I took my children to the ecology, and now I am taking my grandchildren. This place is wonderful. It teaches children how we must care and protect animals. Please do not take this away from my grandchildren and hopefully at some point from their children. Charge a small fee and I am sure peolpe will still come to this wonderful place.
Jean Solheim September 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM
If the problem is non-residents using the ecology site why not charge them a fee? Simple - pay if you don't belong to Brookhaven! I took my children there and now take my grandchildren - another thought is to close it in January, February & March when it's used less often and staff could be reduced for those months. Please keep the Ecology Site open
KC - Sayville September 20, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Get ride of 1 government official and there is your funding!

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