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Blue Point residents reject LIRR efforts to use old station for storage yard

Blue Point residents question LIRR officials about using

Blue Point residents question LIRR officials about using a former train stop as a storage facility during a meeting on Tuesday.  Credit: Newsday / Deon J. Hampton

No matter how many concessions that Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng made to appease them, Blue Point homeowners rebuked the agency for putting a storage facility at the defunct train station in their community.

Eng at a meeting this week promised to build an 8-foot-tall fence as a visual barrier, install security cameras, hire a full-time yard manager and possibly construct sound-proofing to ease residential concerns about the site, which is already in use. He also offered to switch the hours that trucks idle on side of the road near the site to 6 a.m to 8 p.m. during the workweek.

Erecting a visual barrier is something that the LIRR rarely does, Eng said during Tuesday's community meeting at the Blue Point Fire Department.

"I want to make sure to balance the needs of the LIRR and the community," he said. "We're trying to demonstrate everything that we can do."

One resident summed up the mood among residents of the Springhorn condominium community along Blue Point Avenue near Park Street, adjacent to the former train station.

"We have no intentions of believing you," Tom Cavanaugh, 66, said to a round of applause.

Cavanaugh said idling trucks are loud and too big to enter the site from the main entrance, meaning they drive through the neighborhood to find another way in.

The train station went out of use in 1980, officials said. The LIRR has maintained ownership of the property and in February started using it to store rails, concrete and other materials.

Eng said the LIRR plans to use the site for three years for the replacement of railroad ties and a signal-upgrade project.

Many at the meeting said they fear school children will be put at risk.

"The driving of the trucks and safety of the students is a concern," Timothy Hearney, Bayport-Blue Point School District Superintendent, said, estimating that 200 students walk near the site during school.

Brookhaven Town officials said that they don't have authority over the LIRR site or its operations.

"We really, truly want you to look at another site," Town Councilman Neil Foley, who represents Blue Point, told Eng.

The site is located between the Springhorn complex of 70 units for residents age 55 and older on the south side and other neighborhoods on the north.

"Yes, I agreed to move here, but none of us thought we'd live in an industrial yard," Kathleen Young, 75, said, calling the trucks dangerous and smelly. "People can't go and sit outside. Some of us have grandchildren  they can't let go outside."

Others reiterated their lack of faith in the LIRR.

"I just feel like you're going to do what you're going to do regardless," Jesse Conroy, 42, said.

Barring anything unforeseen, Eng said, the LIRR plans to move forward with the project.

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