Friday, May 20, 2011

Former Howard Robinson Store in South Haven May Be Nature Center

Picture: Marty Van Lith, 2005

Nature center eyed at vacant town building

Originally published: Long Island Newsday, May 19, 2011 7:39 PM
Updated: May 19, 2011 8:28 PM
A Brookhaven Town-owned building that has sat vacant onMontauk Highway for about three years could be the site of a new nature center.
The town is planning a June public hearing on whether to allow a Brookhaven Hamlet man to use the facility at 2979 Montauk Hwy. in the hamlet as an environmental education center and kayak rental business. The center would provide access to the Carmans River.
Brad DeSantis would pay the town $26,100 per year to use the facility, according to documents filed at Town Hall. DeSantis also would make about $70,000 in improvements to what town officials describe as a rundown facility in need of repairs.
"The dock there has been deteriorating. It's great that we are getting someone in there," said Councilwoman Connie Kepert, who represents the area.
"It's difficult to be able to get into the Carmans down there." The town board is scheduled to vote Tuesday to set a public hearing on the contract with DeSantis. The hearing will likely be June 14, Kepert said.
The contract would allow DeSantis to manage the facility for five years with a two-year option to renew when it expires, at the town's discretion, town documents state.
The property was the site of a Glacier Bay Sports facility. The building is about the size of a medium-sized single-family home, said Parks Commissioner Ed Morris.
"They are going to offer educational-type tours of the river," he said. "It's going to offer recreational opportunities at that location and it's also going to bring revenue to the town."
The property was purchased by the town for $490,000 in June 2008. It is near the junction of the Carmans River and Great South Bay.
The Carmans River is the subject of the Carmans River Watershed Protection and Management Plan, which would attempt to preserve the river by steering new development outside of its watershed. The town is attempting to shepherd the proposal into law.

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