A hidden park in the corner of Port Jefferson could soon expand, as village officials line up paperwork on a few small properties they were supposed to take ownership of 45 years ago.
Roosevelt Park, tucked away at the end of a grassy path beyond Roosevelt Avenue in the village’s southwestern corner, is as big as the ball field it contains — but it was meant to be larger. A corporation that built houses in the village in the 1970s, as a condition of project approval, was supposed to give three parcels on the western side of Roosevelt Avenue, opposite the ball field, to the village for recreational use. It was also supposed to contribute $5,000 to the village so it could acquire a fourth piece of land, which is pinned between the existing park, the three adjacent parcels and the Long Island Rail Road track that borders the park’s southern end.
But the deed transaction was never completed, although no taxes have been paid on the group of three parcels since the 1970s, according to Port Jefferson Village Attorney Brian Egan.
The village board of trustees, in a legal action at a board meeting on Monday night, called the discrepancy a “scrivener error.”
It is not clear what happened to the $5,000; the village does not own the fourth piece of land either.
At the meeting, the trustees gave Mayor Margot Garant authorization to record three quitclaim deeds, which would transfer the titles of the properties to the village.
Egan said he has spoken to the family of the construction corporation’s owner, who has since died, and “they don’t want to have anything to do with this property.”
The fourth piece of land might be a little trickier — property taxes have been paid on that lot, and Egan said the village might have to acquire the sliver through eminent domain, an action in which a municipality claims private property for a public benefit and compensates the owner.
When combined with the existing Roosevelt Park, the land could make a spot larger than 2 acres, Garant said at a previous meeting. She has also said that she would like to see the expanded spot become a “dedicated space for peewee programs,” because older players sometimes dominate the Caroline Avenue ball field up the road.
While the mayor had said she doesn’t want to impact the surrounding residences, in the village neighborhood off Old Post Road known as the “presidential section,” she had suggested adding some parking at Roosevelt Park.