On Tuesday, Jan. 30, the Town of Brookhaven demolished the blighted former gas station at the corner of Kennedy Avenue on Montauk Highway in Blue Point.
The building of a nature-interest spot has begun and will continue throughout the winter with a proposed opening date to be determined in later 2024.
With the building demolished, the concrete will be removed, the area near Purgatory Creek will be daylighted, and native plants will adorn the renovated space.
On June 7, 2023, councilman Neil Foley publicly announced that the Town of Brookhaven would be purchasing the long-abandoned property.
“It was a 10-year process,” said Foley.
A previous owner had originally put the 1.04-acre lot for sale in October 2013 for $175,000. The Town of Brookhaven purchased the site in October 2023 from previous owners who took over in 2017 for around $400,000 with the Joseph Macchia Environmental Preservation Capital Reserve Fund, which operates under New York State general municipal law §6, to provide funds to pay costs associated with the acquisition of environmentally sensitive, undeveloped lands within the Town of Brookhaven.
The fund allows the Town of Brookhaven to acquire environmentally sensitive lands that have the following attributes: stream and river corridors, the Central Pine Barrens as defined pursuant to Article 57 of the NYS ECL, special groundwater protection areas as defined pursuant to Article 55 of the NYS ECL., freshwater and saltwater wetlands, properties that contain functional wildlife habitat or provide habitat or New York Natural Heritage Program elements or species on the New York State Endangered, Threatened, or Species of Special Concern list, farmland or properties used to grow agricultural products as that term is defined pursuant to the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law, properties containing passive recreational value or serving as a linkage to adjacent lands possessing such value, those geographic areas identified and described in the most current iteration of the NYS Open Space Plan and other environmentally sensitive lands, such as open space, which may be identified by the town board.
“Current New York State and Department of Environmental Conservation regulations would have made it impossible to develop privately,” said Foley, noting the property is currently zoned J-2 commercial.
Blue Point Civic Association president Jason Borowski said that the property had been on the group’s radar for a long time. Citing the work done in the Blue Point Area Creek Defenders program, for Save the Great South Bay, Borowski noted that the site is the headwaters for Purgatory Creek, which ultimately turns into Corey Creek and opens up into the Great South Bay.
“We have held multiple cleanups along the banks of the creek over the years,” said Borowski. “Early on, we had discussed with the town possible invasive removal and ecological restoration of the area, until we all realized that it was privately owned property. Since that point, we have worked closely with the Town of Brookhaven and councilman Foley, in particular, to try to keep our fingers on the pulse of that status of the property.”
Social media in the local community groups had multiple posts of the demolition crew tearing down the structure.