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Zoning changes OKd for Central Islip sports complex plan

An artist rendering shows plans for the Ultimate

An artist rendering shows plans for the Ultimate Sports Complex in Central Islip.

The proposal for a $20-million sports complex in Central Islip cleared a major hurdle last night, when the Islip Town Board unanimously approved zoning changes for the project's site.

The Town Board already had agreed to lease 36 acres of town-owned land on Carleton Avenue to developer Andy Borgia for the 205,000-square-foot Ultimate Game Sports Complex, which would include private indoor and outdoor fields for baseball, soccer, lacrosse and football.

Local civic groups have praised the proposal, saying such a facility is long overdue in Central Islip.

Borgia says the complex would boost the local economy and create between 75 and 100 full-time jobs, for which preference would be given to local residents.

Town officials have expedited the review process to help the developer meet a Dec. 31 application deadline for $19 million in tax-exempt bonds offered through the federal stimulus program.

Borgia must obtain approval for his site plan by the end of the year to qualify for the bonds. If he doesn't meet the deadline, he will use conventional financing for the project, said his attorney, Tim Shea, of Hauppauge.

The Town Board last night also approved zoning changes for new playing fields for the Central Islip Little League, which would be displaced by the sports complex.

Borgia has agreed to build a new home for the Little League on nearby Eastview Drive.

Because the new fields would not be ready for the Little League's 2011 season, the town and developer are working with the Central Islip school district on a plan to have Borgia refurbish six of the district's ballfields and make them available to the Little League next year, town and school district officials have said.

Richard DaVolio, a Patchogue attorney who represents the Little League, declined Tuesday to comment on those discussions.

In other actions Tuesday, the Town Board voted to create an Employee Sick Leave Bank - to which town employees can donate sick days for colleagues who experience a catastrophic illness - and an Emergency Employee Assistance Fund, for which workers could have contributions deducted from their paychecks.

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