The future of a widely supported multisports complex, rehabilitation and training center in Kings Park hinges on gaining access to the town's sewage disposal system.
Ken Henderson, co-owner of Prospect Sports in Farmingdale, said he and a group of investors have entered into a 99-year lease on the 42.6-acre industrial site at 350 Old Northport Rd. with property owner Anthony Santilli.
The group wants to use 29 acres to construct Prospect Park: five multisports synthetic turf fields -- one for year-round use -- with grandstands, and facilities for lacrosse, soccer, football, baseball and softball, as well as a 65,000-square-foot surgery, rehab and training center. The remaining 13.6 acres are not usable because of the area's steep slopes.
The fields would include 35-foot lights angled downward, buffered from area homes by 60-foot walls and vegetation planted along the perimeter.
"You really can't ask for a better place to put a sports facility," Henderson said at a recent Kings Park Civic Association meeting. "It's a perfect setting to watch people play sports."
The linchpin is whether the group can connect to the Kings Park sewage treatment plant -- an issue critical to future development projects in Smithtown.
"If we have to build a sewage treatment plant, it'll break" the project, said Henderson, adding that investors would then consider locations in California or Texas.
Smithtown town planner Frank DeRubeis said the concept, which has not yet been formally submitted to his office, was "a very good proposal . . . since there are issues with building on the property because it's been sandmined."
Santilli paid New York State a $200,000 fine in 2010 for dumping illegal solid waste there and a $275,000 fine in 2008 for overexcavating. Santilli sought a special-use permit to build ballfields and indoor batting and golf cages in 2012, but the application "languished," DeRubeis said because the department was concerned about whether it was a "legitimate proposal" and the amount of material that might be removed.
Henderson said his company has "full control over the property" for two years and that Santilli "can't take anything out of the land."
DeRubeis said that dealing with sewage is "complicated," and the project's medical office proposal would trigger approvals by the Suffolk County Board of Health, which "doubles the review time."
Pat Houk, a Country Pointe at Kings Park Home Owners Association member who would live near the project, said she was OK with the plans as long as sewage and drainage issues are addressed, noting that the condo community floods.
Supporters are enthusiastic about the various benefits of the proposed project.
"This type of redevelopment certainly creates a lot of jobs, it's great for downtown Kings Park, restaurants, shops and . . . really helps make Kings Park a destination," said Mike Rosato, a Kings Park Civic Association member.
John McQuaid, a trustee on the Kings Park Youth Athletic Association's board, said the group is "very excited" about the project.
"Right now, we field over 1,000 kids a year in baseball and football and cheerleading," he said, adding that athletes often go to training camps in Farmingdale and Yaphank. "For it to be in our backyard is just wonderful. We think it's a huge opportunity."
Plans for the Prospect Park multisports facility include a "bubble" around one of its five fields for year-round use and an emergency road with direct field access
800 parking spaces
415 jobs the facility would generate: 200 full-time, 215 part-time
9-12 estimated months to completion once construction begins