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DEC to unveil plans for new division headquarters on Long Island

Nissequogue River State Park’s metamorphosis from a dilapidated psychiatric hospital to a welcoming North Shore destination for hikers, bikers and boaters will advance next Thursday when new plans are unveiled.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said it will hold afternoon and evening “informational” meetings in Kings Park on its proposal for a new 25,000-square-foot headquarters for its Division of Marine Resources.

And the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will present its plans for demolishing more ruined buildings — returning the existing structures to wetlands — and for developing a marina, the DEC said. The parks department is already bulldozing many of the abandoned buildings on the 521-acre site of the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center.

The DEC said its Division of Marine Resources, now located in East Setauket, manages, regulates and protects all manner of marine life throughout Long Island, New York City, Westchester’s coastal areas, and the tidal sections of the Hudson River, as far north as the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The division leases its current space. A new headquarters at Nissequogue River State Park “will dramatically improve efficiencies, including water access, while providing benefits to the park and local community,” the DEC said.

The proposed headquarters also will house its marine enforcement officers and an FDA-certified shellfish laboratory, the DEC said.

This is a multiyear, multistage project for the park, prized for its stunning vistas of the Long Island Sound.

The parks department’s plans include improving safety and access and completely replacing all water lines and fire hydrants, the DEC said.

The hospital, which once cared for more than 9,000 patients, fell into disrepair after it closed in 1996.

The parks department began taking over the site in 2000; copper thieves, damage from the wind and rain, and the presence of toxic building materials, including asbestos, give officials little choice but to send in bulldozers instead of repair crews.

The public meetings will be held at the Kings Park Fire Department Headquarters from 2 to 4 p.m., and then from 7 to 9 p.m., the DEC said in a notice.

The DEC will accept comments on the Marine Resources Headquarters until November 30, 2017.

Comments can be emailed to FW.Marine@dec.ny.gov or sent by mail to Stephanie Rekemeyer, NYSDEC, 205 Belle Mead Road, Suite #1, East Setauket, New York 11733.

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