Steve Bellone set to OK purchase of land in Selden for park


Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is expected to sign a bill today completing the purchase of 16 acres of land in Selden for a long-awaited county park.

Bellone is scheduled to sign the bill during a ceremony at Brookhaven Town Hall. The county has agreed to buy the parcel for $1.2 million from the Middle Country School District.

The new park, which does not yet have a name, will be combined with an adjacent town park to form a 24-acre complex of ballfields and playgrounds. The park, which will be managed by the town, will also be used for events and holiday celebrations, Town Councilman Kevin LaValle said.
"We don't have much open space. It's a densely populated area," said LaValle, who represents Selden. "This is something I think the community will really take to."
The town is expected to spend about $8 million to build four baseball and softball fields, a multipurpose field, a walking track, a playground and a picnic area, said Legis. Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma), a key backer of the purchase. Construction is expected to take five to eight years.

"It's going to be phenomenal," he said. "In the big picture, this is going to pay dividends for everybody in the community."
The county legislature voted 17-1 last month to buy the land, adjacent to Hawkins Path Elementary School. Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) cast the dissenting vote. She could not be reached for comment.

County lawmakers spent years trying to complete the land purchase, voting in 2011 to override then-County Executive Steve Levy's veto of a bill authorizing negotiations to buy the property.

Middle Country School Superintendent Roberta Gerold said district officials decided to sell the wooded parcel because they had no plans for it. Funds from the sale will go to the district's general fund, she said.
"It's a perfect opportunity for our community to enjoy its own land," she said.