The transformation of the woods at Lowndes and New York avenues in to a community garden in Huntington Station has begun.
At the Huntington Town Board meeting April 12, a public hearing was set for May 17 on the proposal to use eminent domain to obtain the two remaining privately-owned parcels for what is scheduled to become Gateway Park in Huntington Station. Those parcels, lots 70 and 17, are owned by Charles Doxey and John Marcinka. Sources say that the two property owners thought their land was worth more than the amount for which it was appraised and were unwilling to sell for the amount the town was offering resulting in the eminent domain procedure.
The Town Board also approved using up to $125,000 from its Environmental Open Space and Park Improvement Fund to pay for the clearing of the Town and State-owned parcels.
At the board's February meeting, it approved a resolution to authorize a license agreement with the Long Island Community Agriculture Network Project of Starflower Experiences, Inc. (LI-CAN) in connection with a pilot community garden at the so-called Gateway Park.
"Pending more formal development plans, the Town-owned parcels are scheduled to be used as a community garden," read a press release from Town Public Information Officer AJ Carter.
The town has forged an agreement with the Long Island Community Agricultural Network to develop plans for the garden with the Town Planning Department as well as offer classes for residents once the garden is developed.
"We provide the gardening space and make it available through outreach," said Lawrence Foglia of LICAN, which also helps the town with the Robert M. Kubecka Memorial Organic Garden.
Foglia said preliminary plans include raised beds and new soil. "So we know there is no contamination," he said. "The raised beds make it easier for older and younger folks to work the garden as well."
He said that LI-CAN will soon be passing out and posting flyers and leaflets explaining the program and how residents can apply for a plot and that a meeting will be scheduled soon. Information can also be found at the Huntington Housing Authority located adjacent to the woods.
Councilwoman Susan Berland said she strongly supports this project going forward.
"Clearing the woods will address a security issue in the neighborhood and the public garden will ensure that the public will benefit from this property as plans for Gateway Park are being finalized," said Councilwoman Susan Berland, a co-sponsor of both measures. "We look forward to years of public enjoyment as this property assumes its place as Huntington Station's community garden and as a vital component to Huntington Station's revitalization."