At the end of the 2019 legislative session, New York State officials in both the Senate and Assembly passed a bill looking to fully adopt the Kings Park Psychiatric Center as part of the Nissequogue River parkland.
“I am thrilled this legislation has passed both houses of the legislature so that this important property is protected for future generations,” said New York State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport).
Originally in 2001, only 155 acres of the former psychiatric center were designated as state parkland to create the Nissequogue River State Park. In 2006, Flanagan led the effort to have the remaining 365 acres of land administratively transferred to the jurisdiction of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to be protected as parkland in perpetuity.
The latest legislation, sponsored by Flanagan and New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), would effectively fully protect the additional 365-acre parcel into the future by codifying it into statute and officially designating it as part of Nissequogue River State Park.
Under the new legislation, state parks officials would develop, adopt and implement a master plan for the full 520 acres in cooperation with Nissequogue River State Park Foundation and other interested parties with input from the general public. The plan will consider a series of preferred alternatives for the future development and use of the Nissequogue River State Park, but only after conducting public meetings to gather useful information and input. Factors such as the historic, natural and recreational resources of the park will be considered.
“I look forward to Governor Cuomo’s ultimate approval of this bill so we can ensure a bright future for this wonderful local resource and preserve some of the limited open spaces we have left on Long Island,” the state senator said.
Flanagan’s office said he has secured more than $31 million for the demolition of buildings, remediation and redevelopment of the tract of open space. The state senator has been working to have the additional land protected since he stopped in 2006 the sale of the land to developers.
Flanagan announced that the legislation that passed would require state Office of Parks officials to prepare a master plan for the Nissequogue River State Park.
The legislation will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for final approval.