The North Massapequa Community Center is pictured in this undated...

The North Massapequa Community Center is pictured in this undated photo. Credit: Ed Betz

A community center in North Massapequa is to reopen in January, two years after a fire shut it down, Oyster Bay officials said.

The Town Board last week approved an agreement in which the town’s insurer will directly pay its own contractors to do the work. The agreement was made after competitive bids to rebuild the center came in higher than the insurance money would cover.

A roof fire on Jan. 18, 2016, closed the center at 214 N. Albany Ave., which officials said had hosted about 20 different programs including those for seniors and workshops for arts and culture. The programs were moved to other town community centers after the fire.

“Children, senior citizens, the members of great organizations . . . will all have a wonderfully convenient and brand-new beautiful place to call home at no cost to the taxpayers,” Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said at a news conference Monday in front of the center.

Oyster Bay officials had been considering turning the center into office space for some town employees when the town must vacate existing offices, at 150 Miller Place in Syosset.

In August 2013, the town sold the Syosset property to Oyster Bay Realty LLC, a company that includes Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group as one of its partners. The company plans to build Syosset Park, a mixed-use development, on the site. Under the contract, the company agreed to let the town’s buildings, vehicles and equipment remain on the site for five years with an option to rent the property for an additional three years.

In February, Saladino said the town’s relocation plans were on hold, pending a review. In April, Deputy Supervisor Greg Carman said the administration had decided to restore the center to its former use in response to community feedback. On Monday, Saladino said new relocation plans that affect about half the town’s full-time workforce will be announced in the future.

The town’s initial response to the fire — which spokeswoman Marta Kane said in an email included “interior demolition and shoring up the facility,” as well as cleaning, assessing damage and determining what was necessary to make the building structurally sound — cost $255,378. The reconstruction will cost $897,517. Town spokesman Brian Nevin said the entire $1.15 million is covered by insurance.

Public Works Commissioner Richard Lenz last week told the town board that after two competitive bidding processes elicited bids of $1.4 million and $1.2 million for the reconstruction alone and the insurance company said it was prepared to pay $900,000, town officials asked the insurance company for options. Under the agreement approved by the board, insurer Starr Insurance Co. will directly pay Long Island City-based Bar Construction Corp. $800,000 for general reconstruction work.

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