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Budget released for psych center razing

One week before state officials formally consider bids to raze abandoned buildings at the former Kings Park psychiatric hospital, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday released a proposed budget that would fund the demolition.

The state announced last year that it would release funds to begin the long-awaited tear-down of 15 buildings at the site of the mothballed hospital. The 500-acre property is state parkland.

The state is expected to unseal bids next Wednesday. The project is expected to cost no more than $15 million.

The executive budget released Tuesday includes $25 million earmarked for the demolition, according to a spokesman for state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport). It is the same amount that has been included in the state budget, but not spent, for the past several years.

“We’re happy to see it happen,” said Sean Lehmann, president of the Kings Park Civic Association. “We’re just looking forward to the demolition to begin.”

Lehmann said he expects state officials to hold community meetings to discuss safety issues related to the demolition. State officials have said crews will take steps to contain asbestos and other potentially dangerous substances believed to be in buildings and steam tunnels at the site.

Demolition work is slated to begin in May and be completed by November 2013. Future uses of the site remain undecided.

“The property holds tremendous potential and the community has been waiting for a long time for the demolition to begin,” Lehmann said.

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