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Suffolk OKs $150G to fund walkway to improve access at Fire Island park

Suffolk County officials acquired a Sandy-damaged house through

Suffolk County officials acquired a Sandy-damaged house through eminent domain to make room for the planned crossover. Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

Suffolk County has appropriated $150,000 to construct a crossover for beachgoers at Davis Park on Fire Island.

The Legislature approved the bond resolution last month. Officials plan to build the walkway at the end of Donella Walk.

It wasn’t immediately known when the project will start.

County officials recently acquired a house, which was damaged in 2012 during superstorm Sandy, through eminent domain to make room for the crossover.

Officials said the homeowners only used the property for seasonal purposes.

Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), who sponsored the bill, said beachgoers have never had public access to Davis Park from where the walkway is being built since it was on private property.

“We want to create the crossover to allow people to the beach,” Calarco said.

Davis Park is a community of about 350 houses that is accessible mainly by private boats and ferries from Patchogue.

The project may coincide with a federal dune replenishment project being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Davis Park.

Federal taxpayers are paying for the dunes, but Suffolk was charged with obtaining hundreds of easements and arranging home buyouts.

Buyout offers were based on appraisals, as required by the federal government.

County officials said it makes better sense for the Army Corps to construct the crossovers, but the federal agency will only replace ones damaged in the storm.

The county plans to transfer the property where the walkway is being built to Brookhaven Town, which will maintain it. Crosswalks, boardwalks and crossovers fall under roads in the town highway department, according to New York State Highway law. 

“I’m anxious for the project to be completed,” said Daniel P. Losquadro, Brookhaven Town highway superintendent. “Obviously, it will be my responsibility to maintain.”

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