Great news, MICAns!

The Suffolk County Legislature approved Legislator Sarah Anker’s Resolution 1757 tonight, which authorizes the appraisal of the 21 acre southwestern portion of the old Kmart parcel on Middle Country Road in Middle Island.  This means that a professional real estate appraiser will be hired by the County to determine the parcel’s fair market value, prior to Suffolk County making an offer to property owners Fred Colin and Wilbur Breslin.  The vote was 17-0 in favor with Leg Lindsay an excused absentee.

Many thanks to the dozens of supporters who were able to attend the meeting’s Public Comment portion this afternoon in Riverhead.  We had great representation from MICA, LYSA, MIFD, Birchwood at Spring Lake, City on a Hill Church, Longwood Central School District and more. And thanks, too, to  those who were unable to attend but emailed their comments of support previously.

In addition to remarks by LYSA President Tom Bove and me, MICA Treasurer Margaret Malloy gave an impassioned speech, which was a big hit with the Presiding Officer Dwayne Gregory as well as the cheering audience.  Here it is for you to enjoy:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak.  I have been a resident of Middle Island for 31 years.  When I first moved into my house, there was a horse farm where the King Kullen strip mall now exists.  I used to cross-country ski down the north end of Wading River Hollow Road where there are now houses. I recall fox hunts on the south end of Wading River Hollow Road on Sunday mornings.

Although I realize that progress is necessary and welcome improvements to the area, over the years I have become increasingly dismayed at the lack of services and the sprawl in the surrounding area.  We have seen many boarded up buildings along Route 25 running from Coram through Ridge.  The Renaissance plan that was put together many years ago never came into full fruition.  We have suffered with a boarded up gas station for over 10 years at the center of our town. A former restaurant (Island Squire) was an eyesore for 20 years and still shows signs of a depressed area although we are grateful that the main building was finally demolished.   It was with great celebration we witnessed the demolition of the K Mart building after 10 years of driving past that eyesore and we thank Supervisor Romaine.  Legislator Anker, Board Member Mike Loguercio, and Gail Bailey (President of MICA) for all of their efforts in making this happen.  However, there are many vacant stores in the surrounding strip malls and you would be very hard pressed to find many upscale restaurants or a ball field where our local youth teams can play.

We watched as Heritage Park took off to the north of us and Wertheim Preserve blossomed with a new science center to the south.  Shoreham is moving forward with a bike trail and the Tesla museum.  Patchogue is becoming revitalized. It just appears that the “Middle of the Island” is left behind.  Because we are not on the shores and do not have a strong lobby group, we are left without restaurants, walkable roads, family centered parks.  The recent preserve in Ridge was a wonderful surprise and I’m sure will be an asset to the community. Fairfield taking over the old Tudor Oaks revitalized an area that someone driving through would have thought he/she was in a third-world country.

We need a place where young and old can congregate to see a ball game, grab a decent, healthy meal, go for a walk, or watch children and grandchildren frolic in a playground.  We, in Middle Island and the surrounding towns, have endured so much blight and frustration over the past few years while we try to improve services and draw people to our town .  I implore you to move forward with our “field of dreams” and help us to continue with the work we have done with a Community Garden, a veteran’s park, a walking trail, and business improvements.  This is our chance to make the entrance to the Pine Barrens a place where people will want to shop, eat, and play.

Thank you, Margaret, and everyone for your continued support. We have taken that first important step in establishing our Field of Dreams Park!