Two Long Island politicians are proposing a compromise for the use of Kings Point Park, two years after New York’s top court blocked the Village of Kings Point from expanding a public works facility.
A bill introduced by state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) and Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) would allow the village to use the park for public works services — but on a much smaller scale.
Under the measure, 1.1 acres would be set aside for local-government use. The village, for decades, used about 3 acres of the park but sparked opposition in 2008 when it proposed to expand its footprint to 5.5 acres. That would’ve involved cutting down trees, paving a section and constructing a new public works building.
Neighbors sued and won after a six-year court battle. In 2014, the state Court of Appeals said the land is clearly “dedicated parkland” and cannot be used for other purposes unless “authorized by the State Legislature.” The village had been using a 3-acre section of the park for vehicle storage and other purposes for about 70 years.
The Martins-Schimel bill would authorize village use of the land, but limit it.
“In my view, it’s a question of using the facilities and land in a way they’ve been doing for 70 years without expanding into park land,” Martins said. “This bill does that.”
Schimel said the proposal “strikes a balance for the community.” Kings Point Mayor Michael Kalnick said the proposal would allow the village to continue to “provide critical services” to residents.
But Daniel Capruso, one of the neighbors who filed the lawsuit, called it “an awful deal for the people and the environment.”
“Half of the 1.1 acres is a 100-year-old forest that will be destroyed,” Capruso said, vowing to fight it.