Town wants to grow Centerport park through eminent domain

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The Town of Huntington hopes to expand a Centerport park by taking a parcel next to it by eminent domain.

Huntington will hold a public hearing March 4 regarding the .52-acre parcel it plans to acquire through a "friendly condemnation," officials said. The parcel is next to 11-acre Phragmites Park on the north side of 25A.

The smaller property is owned by the Greenlawn Water District, which stopped using a well on the site in 2004. District officials asked the town to take it.

"We had a well there for years that served us faithfully, but it has since been abandoned," said Bob Santoriello, the water district's superintendent.

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In 2012, the town agreed to purchase the property after holding a public hearing. But Santoriello said when the Scudder family, landowners in Huntington from early colonial days, deeded the property to the water district in 1928, covenants and restrictions required that it remain a pumping station or a single-family home.

He said in the 1950s a similar arrangement -- selling part of the property to help expand the park -- was completed between the town and the water district. But the only way around the covenant and restriction is that it be taken by eminent domain, or in this case, "friendly condemnation," town board member Mark Cuthbertson said. It will cost about $10,000, town officials said.

"It's a fenced-in area that is surrounded on all sides by the park, so it completes the park assemblage and makes it easier to use it for trails and maybe parking," Cuthbertson said.

The hearing will be held during the monthly town board meeting at 2 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 Main St.

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