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Islip board removes hurdle blocking long-sought soccer complex

Velene Gallagher, executive director of the Central Islip

Velene Gallagher, executive director of the Central Islip Civic Council, at the site of the proposed soccer complex on Carleton Avenue at DPW Drive in Central Islip. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

A long-awaited soccer complex in Central Islip is closer to reality.

The Islip Town Board voted 5-0 at its meeting Tuesday to allow developer Brothers Duo 3 LLC of Hauppauge to convert its payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, to a similar program managed by the town’s Industrial Development Agency.

The company is paying Islip $75,000 annually in a 40-year lease for a 32-acre parcel of town land on Carleton Avenue at DPW Drive in Central Islip. The company also is paying the IDA $50,000 a year as part of its agreement with the town. Both agreements include yearly percentage increases that the IDA will collect for Suffolk County and local school and special districts.

The IDA details were the last step for the developer before work can begin on the new soccer complex. Brothers Duo 3, which also runs indoor soccer facilities in Lindenhurst and Hauppauge, hopes to break ground before the end of the year for its $12 million first phase of building, which will be on 20 acres and include four outdoor soccer fields and a 4,000-square-foot administrative building with locker rooms, office space and other facilities, according to project manager John Forster.

The SUSA soccer academy is to be the tenant at the soccer complex with programming for children and teenagers, Forster said.

“SUSA is very excited to partner with local organizations to help move soccer forward in the community,” he said.

At the board meeting, some community members hailed the project as a boost for Central Islip.

“The current proposal promises great benefits for our children and for our community,” Velene Gallagher, executive director of the Central Islip Civic Council, said at the board meeting. “We strongly believe the IDA agreement is quite fair, especially given the complex issues involved, and considering the property has historically never paid taxes at all. What is most important is that our children will have a superb place to play and will benefit from great mentoring and other services.”

Others questioned the wisdom of a 40-year lease with no taxes paid in a community that needs more public funding. “We need all the help we can get for our schools,” Howard Koenig, superintendent of Central Islip school district, told the town board. “I would seriously ask you to consider the fairness of a 40-year proposal as it has been presented to us, because it is beyond anything I have ever heard of.”

The promised soccer complex is years in the making. In 2010, Yaphank developer Andy Borgia contracted with the town to build a $45 million, 300,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor sports complex at the same site. It was never built, and in February the Brothers Duo company was assigned Borgia’s lease, according to Islip officials.

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