Miller Place’s popular Sylvan Avenue Park will soon be significantly larger.
Thanks to a land swap agreement between the Town of Brookhaven and Rocky Point developer SMW Property Holdings, the park will gain land in exchange for parkland in Rocky Point. The site, near Rolling Oaks Golf Course in Rocky Point was originally zoned commercial, when a Burger King restaurant was built, though the town purchased it about 10 years ago with the plan to make it a clubhouse for the golf course. The clubhouse never came to fruition.
“We had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to almost double the size of Sylvan Avenue Park in Miller Place, so we jumped on it,” said Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point), who spearheaded the effort to make the deal happen.
The Town of Brookhaven submitted a home rule message to the New York State Legislature to allow for the swap, which put the decision in the state’s hands over Brookhaven’s local jurisdiction. This is a requirement in New York State in any deal involving a land swap.
Also, in New York State, to eliminate parkland in one area, it must be replaced with equal or greater valued parkland somewhere else. The development company offered the area they owned near Sylvan Avenue Park, which is larger than the would-be commercial site they are taking over, to the town for the parkland near Rolling Oaks.
The land swap was approved by the ways and means committee, the rules committee and the State Assembly in Albany last week. Brookhaven’s six board members voted unanimously in favor of the request to the state during a special meeting a week prior.
Miller Place Civic Association President Woody Brown said he appreciates anyone advocating for more park space in Miller Place.
“That’s a heavily used park,” he said. “It’s got a lot of activities on it. Expanding parks in a community is always a good thing.”
Brown offered some thoughts about what he might like to see the additional space at Sylvan Avenue Park eventually used for.
“I always think of central park,” he said. “It’s got your active areas where you can play basketball and baseball and all those kinds of active sports, but then it also has places where one can informally throw a Frisbee or play hacky sack. Then it’s got other areas where one can go and contemplate in nature or fly a kite.”
He said an area dedicated to more relaxing activities as a complement to the existing fields and courts used for sporting activities could improve the park.