Lloyd Harbor, NY: On November 21st, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-18th LD) joined with members of the Environment, Parks & Agriculture Committee (EPA) – Legislator Robert Trotta (R-13th LD), Legislator Kara Hahn (D-5th LD), Legislator Jason Richberg (D-15th LD) and Legislator Steven Flotteron (R-11th LD) – for an in-depth tour of the scenic open space currently owned by the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception. Suffolk County Historian, Richard Martin, a representative of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, various other County employees and Seminary staff also joined the tour to share expertise and opinions.
Back in June of this year, Bontempi and her colleagues unanimously passed a resolution that put the wheels in motion necessary for an acquisition of this magnitude to occur. Although the process is still in an early phase, Bontempi is working tirelessly to keep the momentum going in the right direction. Inviting the EPA Committee to the site was the obvious next step deemed necessary to both maintain interest and spread the excitement throughout the County.
“Preserving open space is a priority that almost all Suffolk County residents share,” said Bontempi. “Properties like these are getting rarer and rarer, especially in western Suffolk County. We have to seize this opportunity and ensure that all Suffolk County residents present and future have unfettered access to this jewel.”
The 200+ acre piece of property is notably diverse in what it can offer to the public if and when it becomes preserved as parkland. From its walking trails, to the abundant wildlife, to its historic elements such as the spacious amphitheater designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., there are simply no perceivable cons to its acquisition.
“As of right now, there are three partners in the acquisition – the State of New York, the Town of Huntington and Suffolk County,” added Bontempi. “It is possible that other entities will become a partner moving forward, however, the goal would be the same – preserving the land for the public.”
While the majority of the Seminary’s current property would be included in the acquisition, the Seminary will maintain a portion containing its main building and surrounding land to continue its programs.