Town of Smithtown

By Raymond Janis

Town of Smithtown officials joined Parks Department staff and local business leaders at Smithtown Landing Tuesday, Oct. 24, announcing the completion of new renovations at the municipal golf and country club.

Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) described the Smithtown Landing renovation project as a $3 million investment into the facilities and amenities throughout the country club.

“This is the Smithtown residents’ country club, and this is what the residents of Smithtown deserve,” the supervisor said. “They deserve a country club that’s akin to any private country club that’s here in Suffolk County.”

Joe Arico, town park maintenance director, outlined the various improvements that were completed at the Landing, noting that the project aimed to bring the facility “up to code and modern-day standards.”

He referred to kitchen spaces that were “totally renovated,” roofs reframed with outdoor solar panels, construction of a new bar and lounge area, a newly-outfitted patio space and HVAC systems, and handicap accessibility upgrades, among other improvements.

“We can have meetings and weddings and events worthy of celebration at the club now that all of these facilities have been brought up to date,” Arico said, adding, “Aesthetically, we worked on this project tirelessly to make sure it looked good for the people of the community.”

New York State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Smithtown) attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Fitzpatrick’s father, former Supervisor Paul J. Fitzpatrick, had acquired the property on behalf of the town during his administration in the 1970s, approved by town voters through a permissive referendum.

The younger Fitzpatrick commented upon the gradual development of the municipal country club since its acquisition, noting its central place as the “crown jewel” of the Smithtown parks system.

“This place is a place for everyone,” the state assemblyman said. “We have the pools, we have the golf course, and, of course, we have the catering operation.”

He added, “I think the vision that my father had — and brought along the Town Board and the people of the Town of Smithtown — it has paid dividends for many, many years and will pay more in the years to come.”

This park renovation is part of a multiphased $11 million renovation effort across the town, with similar renovations at town-owned facilities such as Long Beach Marina and Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve. The initiative will culminate with the completion of one further public amenity.

“We have one more major project that is underway, and that is Callahan’s Beach,” Wehrheim said.

Photo from Town of Smithtown

The Town of Smithtown was joined by local community leaders, the Greater Commack Chamber of Commerce, State and local officials to cut a ribbon on completed renovations at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve located at 200 New Highway in Commack. Upgrades to the grounds included the installation of brand new bocce courts, pavilions, and picnic area. Renovations were also made to the playground, bathrooms, all new surfacing, concrete walkways, drainage, and retaining wall. The makeover compliments the popularity of the grounds where concerts are hosted and large scale events take place, for the community throughout the calendar year.

“There’s been quite a bit of renovations here at our flagship park. This makeover compliments the popularity of Hoyt Farm, where concerts are hosted and large scale events take place, for the community throughout the calendar year… And it really symbolizes what the Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve is all about. Community, collaboration and celebration. It is an oasis for the whole community to enjoy. And that’s why we invested in these wonderful renovations,” said Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

Earlier this year, the Town of Smithtown Planning Department, and the team at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve coordinated with Cosentino Realty Group on the total restoration and installation of the water tower. The project was donated to the Town of Smithtown by Cosentino Realty Group in memory of local resident, Vietnam veteran and builder, John E. Baker.  At the beginning of the Summer, Hoyt family members; Tom and Mitch Stokes drove from Massachusetts towing a utility trailer which contained large fieldstones, embedded with bronze plaques to pay homage to their Mother and Aunt. The team at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve, also upgraded the butterfly garden areas to be deer-proof over the Summer. The project was spearheaded by Dominick Guadio who raised the walls and added an array of native plants which is nicely accented by the flowing waterfall.

A Brief History of the Hoyt Family Farm: The Town of Smithtown purchased the property in 1965 from Maria Hoyt, and the 133 acres of land developed into Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve. Today, the Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve Team, led by Jeff Gumin works to keep the Hoyt Family legacy alive and well with various educational programs, events, concerts, and historic tours of the Hoyt House and grounds. Educational programs range from marine, wildlife and indigenous plant life on Long island, to Native American artifacts, and maple sugaring classes. Additionally, the preserve boasts beautiful nature trails, pollinator gardens, mature oak forests, pastures, ponds, the picnic grounds, playground & pavilion and is home to historic buildings and monuments such as two World War I cannons, formerly located at Town Hall, the Hoyt House and the Water Tower, which was recently restored by the Cosentino Family in honor local Veteran, Smithtown Resident and Builder; John Baker.

This event has been cancelled due to the weather.

The Town of Smithtown Recreation Department will host the annual Ghosts and Goblins Day event on Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. The event will take place at Brady Park, located at Maple Avenue in Smithtown. Ghosts and Goblins Day will feature a variety of fun entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, including pony rides, music, games, prizes, and a balloon artist. Costumes are encouraged. Admission for the festivities is free of charge.

“This is a spectacular event for the whole family. I look forward to bringing my grandkids to Ghosts & Goblins day every year. Our Recreation Department goes above and beyond to put together a fall day of family-oriented Halloween themed activities. I’d highly recommend anyone with younger kids, ages 5-8, mark your calendars to partake in this memorable annual event,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

Families attending the festivities are welcome to dress up in Halloween costumes. In addition to all the activities planned, donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted for the Smithtown Food Pantry. All donors will receive a raffle ticket for the prize raffle (must be present to win).

For more information on Ghosts and Goblins Day, contact the Recreation Department at 631-360-7644.

The Flowerfield Fairgrounds in St. James. File photo by Heidi Sutton
By Samantha Rutt

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently advised the Town of Smithtown of its consideration to acquire Flowerfield Fairgrounds, a St. James community staple. Town Supervisor Edward Wehrheim (R) has stated no objection to NYSDEC acquiring the property.

Community residents strongly feel the importance of protecting this rural area from overdevelopment. The potential state acquisition signifies a breakthrough in the longstanding controversy over a proposal for sprawling commercial development on-site.

“This is a huge step forward in the fight to preserve Flowerfield Fairgrounds for future generations,” Judith Ogden, a Village of Head of the Harbor trustee and spokesperson for the Saint James-Head of the Harbor Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, said in a statement.

NYSDEC proposed using the Environmental Protection Fund to obtain the property. 

“New York State is committed to the conservation and protection of the state’s natural resources and recognizes the significant conservation values of the Gyrodyne property,” a NYSDEC official said. “The Environmental Protection Fund is one of the sources used to acquire lands identified as conservation priorities in the New York State Open Space Plan.” 

The Flowerfield property would then be used for open space preservation and conservation, potentially including active-use recreation amenities such as biking and walking trails.

“I am certainly happy about this development,” said Joe Bollhofer, also a member of the coalition. “We’ve been working on this for almost three years now.”

If not acquired by NYSDEC, the property has been proposed to facilitate a multistory, 125-room hotel, 175,000 square feet of office space, 250 assisted living housing units, a 7-acre sewage treatment plant and parking for more than 2,000 vehicles. 

The development plan was initially proposed by St. James-based Gyrodyne, a real estate investment trust firm that owns, leases and manages commercial properties along the Eastern Seaboard.

The state’s interest in preserving the land comes from discussions between NYSDEC, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and the Peconic Land Trust.

“The state has a tremendous interest in what happens to Stony Brook Harbor,” Englebright said. “The state owns 90% of the bottom” of Stony Brook Harbor.

“The water chemistry of the harbor is pristine right now, or nearly, so it will not be if they build what they have proposed for the Flowerfield property,” Englebright added. “It’s really a matter of protecting the state’s interest and the community’s interest.”

Interactions between the state and town regarding state efforts to preserve the open space portion of the site occurred several months after the Town of Smithtown rejected a controversial proposal to develop a congregate-care facility on nearby Bull Run Farm, citing the desire to protect the area’s rural character.

“Part of comprehensive planning in a community is thinking about how you’re going to develop space so that it works and you protect the integrity of the community,” Ogden said. “So if we look at that area, we don’t need to add more traffic volumes.”

The agreement between the state and town comes as the legal challenge brought upon by the Village of Head of the Harbor and nearby property owners opposing preliminary approval of the controversial plan remains tied up in the state Supreme Court. “Unfortunately, there are other issues involved here — environmental, et cetera,” Bollhofer noted.

Local residents have contributed generously to fund the coalition’s lawsuit to block Gyrodyne’s development plans from moving forward. In a press release in April 2021, Gyrodyne announced that it planned to sell the property and would consider offers for portions of the property or the entire site.

“There’s a lot of water under the bridge here,” Bollhofer said. “And we’re finally having some kind of movement from the state,” adding, “We don’t know if there’ll be other organizations that are going to be involved in helping to manage the property if it is purchased. But there are 48 acres, there’s still open space. … That’s really what we’re concentrating on right now.”

According to a recent statement by a NYSDEC representative, “The DEC has been involved in preliminary discussions with stakeholders regarding the property’s future conservation.”

File photo by Raymond Janis

By Raymond Janis

The Smithtown Town Board was back before the public Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 3, for a brief meeting covering an environmental review and the town’s open burning policy.

The board issued a determination of nonsignificance under the State Environmental Quality Review Act for the application for site plan approval by Cox Industries LLC on Old Northport Road, located 60 feet west of Sunken Meadow Parkway in Kings Park.

During the public comment period, resident Michael Rosado rejected the negative SEQRA declaration, claiming the property has had numerous code violations. “Before site plan approval is given to this gentleman or to anybody, those infractions should be remedied,” he said.

Rosado also claimed that open burning has occurred at multiple sites within the Kings Park industrial area, noting that one nearby landscaper has been collecting debris and burning it. “The Smithtown fire marshal was called numerous times,” Rosado said, adding that “the ashes were landing on the vehicles” stored at a neighboring property.

“The Town Code … strictly says that no kindling is allowed on private property in the Town of Smithtown,” he added. “I just hope that this board will address that issue so the open burning stops in the industrial area.”

Responding to Rosado’s inquiries, town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said, “The town attorney has made notes referencing the site plan, and we are aware of that burning situation and working on it with state [Department of Environmental Conversation].”

The Town Board will reconvene on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. for a public hearing to consider the 2024 preliminary budget and a separate public hearing to consider amendments to the zoning code.

Tender Years Treasury. Photo from Town of Smithtown

The Smithtown Senior Citizens and Recreation Departments are actively seeking crafters to book tables and showcase their offerings at the annual Tender Years Treasury event. The special shopping experience for children to purchase affordable, handcrafted holiday gifts for their families will be held on Saturday, December 2nd from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  at the Eugene Cannataro Senior Citizens Center located at 420 Middle Country Road in Smithtown. Senior crafters can reserve a table at no cost to them through the Smithtown Senior Citizens Department or by calling 631-360-7616.

“This event is always so well received by the community. We have so many incredibly gifted senior residents, all of whom are remarkably talented at making hand-crafted gift items. I had the pleasure of speaking with a few of our center’s quilters last week. The quality in craftsmanship leaves you speechless. I can’t wait to see who participates this year… The Tender Years Treasury gives kids the chance to shop for family and friends using their own allowance money, without ruining the surprise. The lesson in independence, combined with multiple generations of Smithtown community members, all coming together to keep the magic of the holiday season an everlasting tradition, makes this event truly unique and beloved by all,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

The Tender Years Treasury is an award-winning program for children, hosted by the Smithtown Senior Citizens Department and the Recreation Department with support from the Youth Bureau. Senior residents within the Town of Smithtown create handmade items, which are available for purchase, and must be priced at $5 and under. The Youth Bureau’s volunteer students chaperone young gifters through the shopping experience, so they may choose holiday gifts for family and friends, without ruining the surprise. Popular handcrafted gift items may include jewelry, scarves, hats, wreaths, ornaments, pot holders, key chains, etc. There is no charge for crafters tables, and all monies collected belong to the crafter.

To Reserve a Craft Table:

For questions or more information about booking a craft table for the Tender Years Treasury, call Patty or Mae at the Senior Citizens Department at (631)360-7616.

  • ●  Participating crafters must be Smithtown residents and a senior citizen (60 years of age and older.)
  • ●  All proceeds from the sale of goods belong to the seller.
  • ●  All items on the selling floor must be priced at $5 or less.
  • ●  There is no charge for tables.

    The Smithtown Senior Citizens Department located at 420 Middle Country Road, Smithtown

Suffolk County Police Department 4th Precinct Inspector David Regina updates the Smithtown Town Board on local crime trends during a public meeting Thursday, Sept. 21, at Town Hall. Photo by Raymond Janis

By Raymond Janis

The Smithtown Town Board convened Thursday afternoon, Sept. 21, for a public meeting covering public safety, walkability and downtown revitalization.

Public safety

Suffolk County Police Department 4th Precinct Inspector David Regina delivered the department’s public safety report, alerting the community to ongoing crime trends.

Following a stabbing at Millers Pond in Smithtown [see story, “Man stabbed at Millers Pond in Smithtown,” Aug. 26, TBR News Media], Regina said the victim was transported to a local hospital and has survived his injuries.

“This is an assault that is out of the ordinary for that area,” he said. “I do feel confident in saying that I don’t feel that this is a threat to the area of that community.”

Regina referred to 2023 as “a rough year in the 4th Precinct for fatal motor vehicle crashes,” which he said have “run the gamut between pedestrian, standard motor vehicle crashes, motorcycle crashes, bicycle crashes” and accidents involving scooters.

Reporting on a recent fatal accident on Harned Road in Commack involving the death of Ilona Kaydanov, a 22-year-old pedestrian [see story, “Jogger killed in Commack crash, two others injured,” Aug. 31, TBR News Media], Regina said the 4th Squad had investigated the accident, noting, “There does not appear to be any criminality involved.”

The inspector stressed the need for pedestrians to cross roadways at crosswalks, adding that “pedestrians under New York State law are required to walk or jog against the flow of traffic.”

Purse theft — a local crime phenomenon often involving the theft of one’s credit cards at retail spaces — remains pervasive within the 4th Precinct, Regina said. [See story, “Shopping spree: Thieves targeting handbags, wallets at Suffolk County retail stores,” Aug. 24, TBR News Media.]

He reported that this theft crime variety has occurred primarily around the Smith Haven Mall, advising shoppers to “secure your things securely.”

He noted that multiple incidents have included a co-conspirator, with one criminal creating a diversion while another robs an unsuspecting victim’s shopping cart.

SCPD “were able to identify one suspect, and I’m happy to say we cleared three of those cases last week, and we were able to charge that gentleman with several counts of criminal possession of stolen property,” Regina reported.

Sideshows and street races remain an ongoing crime phenomenon countywide. Regina reported a recent sideshow gathering of 250 cars at the Walmart parking lot on Garet Place in Commack.

“These get very raucous,” he said. “They were throwing fireworks in the direction of the police officers who were responding. These are officer safety concerns for us.”

While the department has moderately succeeded in dispersing some of these sideshow events, the inspector suggested the matter is unresolved.

The Hauppauge Fire Department will host a community gathering on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at 855 Wheeler Road to discuss the sideshow issue and its community impacts.

Downtown revitalization

Allyson Murray, principal planner in the Smithtown Planning & Community Department, delivered a presentation on a grant application for New York State downtown revitalization funds through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the NY Forward grant programs.

Murray considered Kings Park an ideal candidate for these funds due to its substantial retail and civic spaces, compact size, centrally located Long Island Rail Road station and recent public and private investment.

“The vision is to attract public and private investment to enhance the character of downtown Kings Park,” Murray said, hoping to create “a vibrant and walkable Main Street business district with diverse mixed-use development.”

The proposal seeks to leverage existing community assets, such as the LIRR station, new sewer infrastructure and proximity to major employment centers, such as the Hauppauge Industrial Park and Stony Brook University.

Murray shared a draft list of projects to be included in the application. She encouraged community members to send ideas for other proposals by email to [email protected].

Harned Road proposal

In the wake of the recent roadway fatality, Commack resident Kevin Feit asked the board to consider several pedestrian safety enhancements on Harned Road between Vanderbilt Motor Parkway and Veterans Memorial Highway.

“Currently, there are sidewalks in some sections of Harned Road, but they abruptly end,” Feit indicated. “Where there is no sidewalk, the shoulder is extremely narrow in some places and can be completely taken up by a sewer grate.”

Given these existing conditions, Feit suggested the current roadway to be “impassable for a wheelchair or stroller.” He added that while the speed limit on Harned is 30 mph, vehicles regularly exceed 40 mph due to long stretches between traffic signals.

“Sidewalks would provide several benefits to the community,” he said, among these being public safety, environmental friendliness and walkability to nearby shopping centers and parks.

The Town Board will reconvene Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 2 p.m.

Each year the Adirondack Glassblowing Studio (ADK) produces thousands of gorgeous hand-blown glass pumpkins to create beautiful outdoor fall decor. ADK Glass partners with numerous non-profits nationwide on weekends throughout the fall season. 

During the weekend of September 29 to October 1, ADK Glass and the Town of Smithtown will host a Glass Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve at 200 New Hwy, Commack from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in support of Nesconset-based Paws of War. 

Attendees at Hoyt Farm will enjoy a walking path lined with straw bales covered with hundreds of colorful glass pumpkins and experience the fall foliage on Hoyt Farm’s Nature Preserve. Twenty percent of proceeds from the weekend event will support Paws of War in furthering their mission of “Helping Both Ends of the Leash.”  

Paws of War is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to train and place service animals and companion dogs to support and provide independence to U.S. military veterans that suffer from the emotional and physical effects of war. 

The organization also provides animal rescue for U.S. troops who have befriended an animal while serving overseas. The organization also serves as a community center where veterans and first responders come together daily to build bonds and support each other. 

For more information about the fundraiser, please visit, For more information about Paws of War, visit  

The Town of Smithtown hosted its Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on Sept. 7. Photo from Town of Smithtown

On Thursday September 7, local officials joined together with Smithtown Central School District, local parent advocate and Solving Kids Cancer partner; Amy Beach, families and friends to kick off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with the annual ‘Go Gold’ Tree lighting ceremony at Town Hall.

The tree at Town Hall is adorned in gold bows, bearing the names of local children who are actively fighting cancer, in remission or have since passed away. The lights and ribbons on the Tree were originally donated to the Town courtesy of Katia Conte, founder of the Daniela Conte foundation in 2021.

Additionally, life size gold awareness ribbons, donated by the Thomas Scully Foundation are on display at the Smithtown Bull Monument, at Town Hall, the Parks Department and at the Highway Department through the month of September. Local mom and advocate of Solving Kids Cancer; Amy Beach distributed gold laces as a part of the “Lace up for Kids” partnership, in honor of her son Dylan. Additionally the Town distributed and donated approximately 200 gold ribbon charms for the School to distribute with the “Lace up for Kids” initiative on September 22nd.

“Many of the families here with us tonight will tell you, cancer doesn’t take a day off. That is why we are all here tonight as one community, one family… to let every parent, or caregiver, with a child diagnosed with cancer know that you are not alone. We are here to fight for you, cry with you, laugh with you, pray with you and hopefully work to discover more humane treatments and an eventual cure. Only then can we truly celebrate with you,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

Each year, the Town of Smithtown raises awareness for Childhood Cancers in the month of September through various activities and events. These efforts are intended to help fund and raise awareness, identify breakthroughs and fill gaps in the treatment landscape, and direct research to the areas with the greatest need.

“The mission of the Thomas Scully Foundation is to bring A Little Bit of Happiness to children with cancer today, while supporting a cure for tomorrow. The foundation delivers care packages to bring comfort and joy to children, while they’re in local NY hospitals. They also support a cure for tomorrow, by providing A Little Bit of Hope grants. These are given to families seeking innovative treatments for their child… The Thomas Scully Foundation would like to thank the Town of Smithtown, for helping to bring awareness to childhood cancer by going gold for the third year in a row. Not only are you helping to bring awareness but you’re also letting everyone know that you support those children and families who have been affected. We thank you for that,” added Debbie Scully, Thomas Scully Foundation (Read by Amy Beach on Behalf of Debbie Scully)

“One in five children diagnosed with Cancer in the United States will not survive. And for the ones that do the battle is never over. The majority of childhood cancer survivors have chronic health problems because of the treatments they had as kids. Childhood cancer research is consistently under funded, with less than 4% of the federal budget for cancer research in the United States of America is dedicated to childhood cancer. Solving Kids Cancer is an organization that finds, funds and advocates for breakthrough treatment options to cure children with the most fatal pediatric cancers. They help accelerate new, next generation treatments, including immunotherapy, cancer vaccines and new drugs, by applying an understanding of the entire childhood cancer landscape to wisely invest in innovative treatments,” said Amy Beach of Solving Kids Cancer Childhood Cancer Research Advocate, and a Smithtown Parent.

“All September long, Smithtown Schools will be swapping out our regular shoe laces for gold ones. The Smithtown Central School District students will receive gold laces at each of their respective school buildings. Fall sports teams will be participating in the lace up for kids campaign. And on Friday September 22nd, we will have a district wide Go Gold day. We invite all of you as well to care, wear and share your gold throughout this month of September… We look forward to many more years of partnership, awareness and advocacy until one day, there is a cure. Be Bold. Go Gold. Because every kid deserves a chance to grow up.”


By Raymond Janis 

The Town of Smithtown in conjunction with the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce conducted the annual 9/11 memorial service Monday afternoon at 4 p.m., Sept. 11, honoring the lives lost and the sacrifices made during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) presided over the service, which was well attended by members of the Town Board, New York State officials, the clergy, U.S. service members, local business leaders and residents.

Wehrheim said the annual ceremony fulfills “a promise made 22 years ago” to honor the victims, keeping their memories alive within the community.

“We pay respects to our friends and neighbors and grieve their loss together,” he said. “But we also reclaim a spirit of unity, faith and resilience that served us as a light of hope through our darkest of hours.”

The service included a name-reading ceremony of the 53 Smithtown residents who were killed during the attacks, ending with attendees placing roses upon the 9/11 memorial fountain.