The sky’s the limit, says Suffolk County Legis. William Spencer when it comes to future plans for Coindre Hall in Huntington.
The property could serve as a drone landing site for a sky bridge between Long Island and Stamford, Connecticut, or as a west end anchor to a boardwalk connecting to a town park, or maybe a county run dog park. Those are just some of the ideas he thinks should be at least considered to revitalize the county-owned property.
Spencer (D-Centerport) has established a Coindre Hall Advisory Board made up of local stakeholders charged with coming up with a community plan for the property, which contains a 40-room mansion and boathouse. The estate was built in 1912 on 34 acres overlooking Huntington Bay.
“The property has so much potential on a lot of different levels,” Spencer said. “What we’re trying to do as we rebuild it and look at private public partnerships, we thought it would be smart to have an advisory committee from the local community that could give us input.”
The county acquired the property on Browns Road in 1972, and since that time it has been used to host both public and private events and weddings.
Over time, the mansion and boathouse have both encountered structural issues, and numerous elements of the property need attention and repair.
The advisory board will have eight members including: the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Parks, or his or her designee; the county executive, or his or her designee; the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, or his or her designee; two representatives to be appointed by Spencer and one representative to be selected by the Huntington Town supervisor; one representative from the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs; and one representative from the North Shore Baymen’s Association.
The chair of the board will be selected by a majority of the membership and five members will constitute a quorum. The entire board will serve without compensation.
Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said he thinks the advisory board is a step in the right direction to refresh the historic property.
“Also it’s a very good idea using local input because they understand the community’s needs,” Lupinacci said. “Especially as we begin to address issues at the property.”
He said some ideas to consider would be a fishing pier or stationing response agencies at the boathouse.
The county is already on its way to improving the boathouse.
Spencer says specifications of a project for the stabilization, repair and restoration of the boathouse, sea wall and the pier are near completion. The Department of Public Works has begun coordinating with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers for the necessary permits to begin the restoration work.
The boathouse project is part of County Executive Steve Bellone’s adopted 2020-2022 capital program, which has earmarked $2 million for its restoration. The capital budget also includes an additional $200,000 for construction work in subsequent years on the exterior and interior of Coindre Hall.
Spencer said he hopes the advisory board will be set up in time to meet in April.
Coindre Hall Park
- The property sits on 34 acres and includes an 80,000-square-foot mansion overlooking Huntington Harbor. It was built for pharmaceutical magnate George McKesson Brown.
- The mansion is an example of French medieval chateau architecture and has sweeping views of the harbor.
- It was listed in 1989 on the National Register of Historic Places and dedicated to the Suffolk County Historic Trust.