Babylon officials are using $154,000 of the town’s $27.77 million...

Babylon officials are using $154,000 of the town’s $27.77 million federal American Rescue Plan money for a feasibility study on repurposing a former Nike missile site in North Amityville into a community building space and athletic fields. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Babylon Town officials may turn the use of a North Amityville property from missile silos to soccer balls.

The town is considering repurposing a former Cold War-era U.S. Army Nike missile base into athletic fields and a community building. The nearly 6-acre site is split between grass and cracked, weed-infused asphalt that lays over the empty silos that once held nuclear warhead missiles.

The town has hired Savik & Murray of Holbrook to determine whether a multipurpose building can be constructed on the site — it was transferred to the town in 2015 — without having to remove the silos, which are packed in reinforced concrete.

“Developing is extremely complicated, so we need to weigh the pros and cons of it,” said Brian Zitani, the town’s waterways management supervisor. “If we were going to remove everything, that would be a massively expensive project.”

Credit: Gustavo Pavon

The town is using $154,000 of its $27.77 million federal American Rescue Plan money for the feasibility study. Babylon Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez said a building and fields are needed, as much of the town’s community space is in North Babylon.

“It’s not serving folks on the west side of town, so we need to create something for them as well,” he said.

The building may hold a gym, meeting rooms or other flexible space. Next to it would be an athletic field — either softball, baseball or a multipurpose space for soccer, football and lacrosse.

“There’s a very, very large need for field space,” Martinez said. “The one thing the parks department spends a lot of time on is juggling the schedules of all these groups.”

Martinez said the town wants to “create synergy” with the other buildings and fields nearby, which include youth and senior centers, as well as football and softball fields and a pool.  

The North Amityville base was one of five Nike missile sites on Long Island, according to Newsday articles from the 1950s. The other sites, which were designed to defend Manhattan from nuclear attack during the Cold War-era that lasted from about 1947 to 1991, were in Brookville, Lido Beach, Lloyd Harbor and Rocky Point. As the missiles became obsolete, the sites were decommissioned in the 1970s.

A local civic association was opposed to the base at the time, with one Newsday article in 1955 saying residents felt it would “shatter the community’s tranquility.”

Ed Wynn, who is on the town’s planning board and moved to a neighborhood near the site in 1968, said he remembers the frequent sirens from the military base as soldiers would run drills and open up the silo hatches. He said he once saw the actual missiles.

“It really shocked us,” Wynn said. “I don’t think we realized there were warheads there. It was a little scary when we first saw it.”

Any development of the site is still years away, Martinez said.

“Right now, we’re at the early stages of this just to see what is possible on this site, and then at the end we’re going to have to just take the scalpel and see what we can afford,” he said.

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