Huntington Town Board OKs farm buy

The Town of Huntington is buying the farm -- literally -- after Suffolk County backed out of a deal to chip in half of a $2.7 million price tag for a park site in Greenlawn.

The plan called for the municipalities to split the cost of Carpenter Farm at 55 Old Field Rd. and use it as a passive park. Legis. Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) sponsored a resolution this year for the county to pay half. But the county had an issue with closing the sale this year.

"The town wanted the county to close by a certain date and the county couldn't comply due to our legislative schedule," said county spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter. Despite that, the town board last week voted 4-1 to approve purchasing the 12.5-acre parcel and use it as planned.

The money for the purchase will come from the town Open Space Land and Park Improvements Reserve Fund.

Mark Cuthbertson, co-sponsor of the resolution, said town officials were disappointed by the county decision because it seemed like it was more of a "bureaucratic" issue than, say, a money concern.

"It's not that we just wanted to get it done," Cuthbertson said. "We were going to lose the deal. We were going to lose the ability to purchase the property. The sellers were walking away."

The lot is environmentally sensitive, Cuthbertson said, home to several species of birds and plants. After the land is purchased, the town park and general service departments will come up with ideas for trails and amenities with community input, Cuthbertson said.

Town Board member Gene Cook, who voted against the resolution, said the timing of the purchase is just not right, and that he is concerned about the property being taken off the tax rolls while fees to maintain it are being incurred.

"We have to be careful how we are spending taxpayer money," Cook said. "When you look into the details of this, I really think this is a poor time to be doing this."

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