Progress continues for a new Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam-Northeast (BAPS), temple. The Hindu organization held an official groundbreaking Sunday for the temple it is building on Deshon Drive.
Nearly 100 people attended the event which included a solemn ritual and a blessing the project. Taking part where BAPS members and local officials, who took part in the ceremonial placing of shovels into the ground.
The site was made possible by an innovative three-way agreement involving the Town of Huntington, BAPS and a developer looking to construct an affordable senior housing development, officials said. The Town purchased an eight-acre parcel a few miles away from BAPS. That piece of land is designated to become Sweet Hollow Park. The Town transferred the development rights for the five of those acres that will be used as passive parkland to the privately-owned 18-acre site on Deshon Drive and approved a zoning change that allowed clustering of the allowed housing on 13 of the acres. Those acres are the site of the under-construction, 261-unit community, The Club at Melville. The remaining five acres was sold to BAPS for the temple.
In welcoming BAPS to Huntington, Town Supervisor Frank Petrone traced the history of how he and Council Members Mark Cuthbertson and Susan Berland had worked with BAPS to find an appropriate site.
Girish Patel, one of BAPS leaders instrumental in the project, noted that the temple will have facilities that will be open to the entire community, including meeting rooms and a gymnasium.
Last October, BAPS began the construction project with a ceremony laying sacred stones on the site. The stones, which were to be placed in the foundation, had been sanctified and blessed by a swami in India before being sent to Melville. Construction of the temple is expected to last 12 months.