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Huntington buys $105G property to expand Mill Dam Park

Huntington Town officials have approved the purchase of

Huntington Town officials have approved the purchase of a parcel adjacent to Mill Dam Park, seen on Jan. 20, 2017, and are working toward finalizing two others. Credit: Ed Betz

Mill Dam Park in Huntington is getting bigger.

Town officials have approved the purchase of a parcel adjacent to the park and are working toward finalizing two others.

Town Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said a long-term goal is to expand the park to accommodate some of the town’s four-legged residents.

“We’re thinking about a new animal adoption center on part of it,” Petrone said. “We need to build a new one; the current one needs too much work and repair.”

He stressed at this point the adoption center is just an idea.

“It’s not even on paper; it’s just in the talking stages,” Petrone said. “But it would be state -of-the-art in terms of noise prevention; it will have better outdoor spaces and runs; and the location is just great.”

The town’s current animal shelter is in East Northport. Petrone said the move would also make it a lot more accessible.

The proximity of Mill Dam Park to the sewer plant, harbor master and Town Hall makes it a good location for expansion and the pet adoption center. The park is located between West Shore and Mill Dam roads.

The town board approved the purchase of a 0.7-acre property at 1 Hill Place to use as an addition to the park. The cost of the parcel is $105,000.

Town officials have sought the land since the 1970s, when several other parcels adjacent to Mill Dam Park were acquired. The funding for the new purchase is coming from the Environmental Open Space Land and Park Improvements Reserve Fund, officials said.

Mill Dam Park currently covers about 40 acres. It includes boccie and playground facilities, lighted softball fields and accessible comfort stations. Its location is adjacent to storm relief areas. At the back of the park is a helipad used by Huntington Hospital.

Town officials are in the appraisal process to purchase a Creek Road property that adjoins Mill Dam Park and the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The town is also in the appraisal process to purchase the Creek Road parcel that includes the home of Peter Crippen, a former slave who is believed to be the first African-American in the town.

Town officials have said purchasing all of the parcels is a way of putting together a large piece of land adjacent to a town park and the town’s wastewater treatment plant that could be available for a number of different uses.

“Looking ahead, if we have to expand the sewer plant,” Petrone said. “Also it could be used for park purposes with open space and trails.”

Petrone said the location of the park in the north of town makes it a good idea to continue to expand it when possible.

Jackie Martin, executive officer for the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs, which holds its annual Waterfront Festival and Nautical Market at the park as part of their Huntington Safe Boating Week events, said purchasing parcels with thoughts of eventually expanding the sewage treatment plant is very forward thinking.

“As far as preserving open space and parkland, I’m 100 percent behind that,” Martin said. “Most people who have a good conscience about the water and water quality would totally be in favor of that and to beautify a waterfront area is always a bonus.”

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