As the revitalization of Huntington Station revs up, there is still an eye toward preserving remnants of what was a thriving hub before the upheaval of urban renewal in the late 1960s.
Town officials are in the process of renovating a farmhouse at 12 Academy Place on the parcel of land where Gateway Park and its community garden sit in the heart of Huntington Station.
Once completed, the restored farmhouse will house public amenities, including a handicapped accessible restroom for park goers and gardeners. The kitchen will be renovated to allow community gardeners to share their knowledge with the public and other gardeners on the preparation of produce grown on site.
“As Huntington Station remains in the midst of a well-publicized revitalization that will be bearing fruit with new buildings in the near term, we also wish to preserve what we can of the area’s original fabric, history and culture of Huntington Station,” said Joan Cergol, Director Huntington Community Development Agency.
The house, circa 1900, and property was acquired by the Town with Open Space park funds in 2013 for $270,000, doubling the size of Gateway Park.
Cergol said the town also plans to offer interpretive programming and will showcase revolving exhibits at the farmhouse that speak to the early agricultural use and general history of Huntington Station.
Town officials purchased the home from the Teich family. Samuel Teich was a beloved Huntington Station physician and obstetrician who delivered and cared for generations of locals during his career, which spanned from 1935 to 1985. He grew up in the house.
Howard Teich, Samuel’s son, said his family is pleased with the plans the town has for the house because its an integral part of Huntington Station’s past.
“It will also serve as a learning experience for kids and others,” he said. “That’s important because you can only know the future by knowing the past.”
In March, the town board approved allowing the Huntington Community Development Agency to administer a $370,000 New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation grant to renovate the farmhouse and surrounding property. Overall the town has paid $1.3 million for the six parcels that make up Gateway Park.
The park, at New York and Lowndes avenues, has been in the making since 2003. It includes former state, county and town parcels as well as private parcels.
In recent weeks, Plainview based-Renaissance Downtowns, the master developer for the hamlet, has made applications before the town zoning of appeals for variances for two projects it hopes will begin construction this year.
“In the wake of the loss of the original Huntington Station during 1960s Urban Renewal, the revival of this charming old structure takes on special significance,” Cergol said. “It shows that in addition to ushering in the new, revitalization also means polishing a few old gems to make them sparkle again.”