• Letter to Congressman Tim Bishop
• LI Talks (News 12)
• October 4th Tour of KPPC
• Meeting With Commisioner Ash & Newsday Coverage
• Photos with Commisioner Ash
• Letter to the Governor and Parks Commisioner

Letter to Congressman Tim Bishop

Congressman Tim Bishop
137 Hampton Road
Southampton, NY 11968

Re: Nissequogue River State Park

January 8, 2009

Dear Congressman Bishop,

I would like to thank you for your past support of the Nissequogue River State Park. As you are undoubtedly aware, remediation and redevelopment of this property has yet to begin. The State is in the process of moving forward with an engineering study of 368-acres of this property, that portion formerly known as the Kings Park Psychiatric Center.

Please note, the 29 million dollars that Senator John Flanagan worked to secure for cleanup of this property has again been re appropriated in the 2009-10 Recommended Executive Budge.

We are reaching out to you at this time because the incoming President-Elect, Barack Obama, has stated that his number one goal of his economic plan is to create three million new jobs. As it has been described, this is a bold, yet vitally important measure to help our country move out of our present economic crisis.

Keeping all of the above in mind, we believe that it is well worth discussing and considering a collaborative project between the Federal Government and New York State on the remediation and redevelopment of this parkland. Such a project, wherein a substantial amount of funding already exists, would not only create jobs, stimulate the economy, but also preserve land and create a beautiful park that all of New York State residents can enjoy.

Again thank you for your support of the property and we look forward to discussing the above matter with you at your convenience.


Linda Henninger, Esq.
Kings Park Neighbors’ Association, President

CC: Senator John J. Flanagan
260 Middle Country Road, Suite 203
Smithtown, New York 11787

Commissioner Carol Ash
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 1
Albany NY, 12238

KPNA on News 12 LI Talks discussing the New Nissequogue River State Park.

October 4th Tour of KPPC

State parks commissioner tours Kings Park site


10:11 PM EDT, October 4, 2007

After a week of controversy, state Parks Commissioner Carol Ash made her first visit to the shuttered Kings Park Psychiatric Center Thursday. She left sobered by the enormity of the task of cleaning up the contaminated property and buildings.

"It's very clear that the walls, ceilings and floors have numerous amounts of lead paint and asbestos," said Ash, wearing a hard hat and emerging from an 11-story former residence hall.

Inside, she said, vandals and thieves are spreading hazardous material -- possibly endangering their health -- and destroying state property. "Keeping people out of the buildings is a real challenge, particularly because they were built with so many windows."

What to do with the property has been a contentious issue since the hospital closed in 1996. And Ash's first visit had started out to be contentious as well. Community groups complained when she originally intended to visit the site with members of the business group the Long Island Association and Newsday editorial board.

So on Monday, Ash invited community members and local elected officials. Then the LIA and editorial board bowed out because, they said, the tour had become too political.

That left the media and those interested in preserving the open space and at least some of the original buildings.

"This has become -- which I think is a good thing -- a meeting for all of us to be able to jointly see the property and talk," Ash said.

She entered two buildings with her staff and spent 90 minutes touring the rest of the grounds on a bus with about 30 members of the media and civic and environmental groups.

Ash said she wanted to gain first-hand impressions while her agency evaluates whether to keep all 323 acres, which was turned over to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in December, and add it to Nissequogue River State Park, or sell or lease some or all of it for redevelopment.

"These are huge buildings," said Ash, who became commissioner in January. "These are huge issues. We have been here eight months; this is a problem years and years and years in the making."

Ash said vandalism and the environmental problems, including ground pollutants, was about what she expected, but dealing with them all together would be a major funding challenge.

Those on the tour said they appreciated the opportunity to offer her their views. "No one can fault anyone for taking time to figure out what is best for the property, although it gives the perception to the community that it's on the back burner," said Smithtown Councilwoman Patricia Biancaniello, the only elected official who attended.

"It should be for anyone that wants to enjoy it. With a little vision, this could be a premium park for the state," said Linda Henninger, head of the Kings Park Neighbors' Association.

Meeting With Commisioner Ash & Newsday Coverage

April 12th, 2007 . . . KPNA President, Linda Henninger and KPNA Director, Robert Trotta, met with NY State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash to discuss the KPPC and outlined for her the many important reasons that this property must remain state parkland and stressed the importance of immediately starting to utilize the 25 million earmarked for cleanup of the property.


Future of Kings Park Psychiatric Center still unknown


April 16, 2007

What was supposed to be a 15-minute face-to-face meeting between the acting state parks commissioner and the president of the local civic association became an hourlong discussion on the fate of the Kings Park Psychiatric Center, but without any real outcome.

Carol Ash, the acting commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, met with Linda Henninger, president of the Kings Park Neighbors Association, on Thursday in New York City. The meeting, Henninger said, showed Ash's commitment to parkland in general, but offered no specifics on whether she plans to keep the psychiatric center in the state parks system.

Ash did autograph Henninger's rally sign that read, "Dear Governor Spitzer: Protect Our Park, It's Our Future."

The psychiatric center was transferred from the Empire State Development Corp. to the parks department in the last days of the Pataki regime, but the new administration has shown signs it might be questioning the move. Estimates for cleaning up the site have run as high as $60 million. State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) has already secured $25 million of that. The civic association is adamant about keeping the property as parkland.

"I think it's about the dollar sign," Henninger said after leaving the meeting. "We told her the history of it and impressed upon her that it was the best thing for the community and the island as a whole."

Henninger said she also impressed upon Ash that the property could have other uses besides wide-open space, with ideas from a recreation center to water parks to a swimming pool.

Parks spokeswoman Eileen Larrabee said the meeting was positive, and Ash is compiling facts and doing "due diligence."

"She is talking to parties, and wants to have a complete understanding of the complexities of the issue," Larrabee said.

Ash, acting state commissioner since Jan. 1, has not visited Long Island, and many say it's because of the Kings Park controversy, although Larrabee denies there is any intention to stay away. Flanagan has threatened to derail the confirmation of her appointment in the Senate if Ash does not keep the property under the parks umbrella.

Flanagan said he takes it as a positive sign that Ash met with community members, but said despite his insistence through phone calls and a letter that she give clear direction on the matter, he has not heard from her and is not surprised by her vague answers to Henninger.

"If the administration has a different plan in mind, then they should talk to us," he said. "If they have some novel idea or concept, I'll listen to anything and I think the community will listen to anything."

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

Photos with Commisioner Ash

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Letter to the Governor and Parks Commisioner

Governor Eliot Spitzer
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Commissioner Ash
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 1
Albany NY, 12238

January 20. 2007

Dear Governor Spitzer and Commissioner Ash,

Kings Park Neighbors' Association is a local grassroots civic group representing families in the Kings Park, San Remo and Fort Salonga area, Long Island. I am writing this letter requesting your speedy clarification as to your position on the Nissequogue River State Park. As you are keenly aware, on December 31, 2006, 365 acres of the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center was designated parkland.

This decision was based on several factors. The first and foremost factor was that it is in the best interest of the people of Kings Park, Long Island and New York State. I am sure you are aware of the dilemma that has faced this community for so many years. The State of New York polluted this property and then attempted to divest itself of the responsibility of clean up by pushing private development of the property. This has led to nothing but the demand for disastrous overdevelopment of this property in order to ensure a profit. It is well known that one of the State's basic tenets is that the polluter pays. The State is the polluter and finally the State, under the last administration, decided to do the right thing. That decision was to keep the property as parkland and pay for the clean up of their mess.

This property, with its beautiful mature woods and views, is adjacent to two State Parks and borders the Long Island Sound. Creating parkland here is the only legitimate and sensible decision. Furthermore, to do otherwise would be against the public's best interest.

This community is united in its desire to see that this parkland is not abandoned. The thought that anyone in this administration would consider any other action shocks the senses, considering Ms. Ash's spotless history of working to preserve land and Governor Spitzer's long time commitment to parkland.

I saw a quote somewhere recently that said, "A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation." We request that this administration conduct the people's business and work on making the New Nissequogue River State Park the Jewel of New York State.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Linda Henninger
Kings Park Neighbors' Association

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