Condos. That’s what was originally envisioned for a 17-acre property — the site of a former nursery — just west of Blue Point Avenuen near the hamlet’s elementary school and historic business district.
Instead, the residents and elected leaders that gathered at the site Saturday were looking out on an expanse of grasslands, puddles, paths, trees and shrubs. There, they celebrated the opening of a community town park, being called Blue Point Nature Preserve. The park’s main entrance is located off Maple Street.
The Brookhaven Town park also feature parking areas, benches and picnic tables, as well as a white pergola.
“Look out; look what you see,” Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine told those assembled, including former councilman Tim Mazzei, who initiated the town’s preservation efforts seven years ago. “You would see all condominiums here and housing development if it was not for the vision of councilman and now county court justice Tim Mazzei.”
“We’re here in the dead of winter but come the spring, you’ll see the plants,” Romaine continued. “Because we’re not finished with this park by a long shot. We will continue with plantings and other things in this park, so people can have a place to walk, to recreate, and enjoy.”
He said the park is being modeled after Heritage Park, also called The Wedge, in Mount Sinai.
Brookhaven Town purchased the property in January 2013 for $3.5 million, according to prior reports.
Work started in August on the $500,000 project overseen by the town’s parks department.
Blue Point Community Civic Association president Edward Silsbe called the shift from “way too many condos” that were planned about a decade ago to a park for passive recreation “a fantastic turn of events”
“We look forward to what the future will bring and a place that we can all enjoy and get closer to our friends and neighbors here,” Silsbe said.
Parks commissioner Edward Morris said the park will evolve moving forward, as requests from the community come in.
Mazzei was also at Saturday’s event.
“I will say one thing,” he said after being urged to speak. “Thank the supervisor and thank Councilman Neil Foley, because this park is much more beautiful than I even envisioned.”
“Without further adieu, the park is yours,” Foley said to the crowd.
Photo: Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, former councilman Tim Mazzei, Councilman Neil Foley, Blue Point Community Civic Association president Edward Silsbe, Bayport Civic Association president Bob Draffin and Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine mark the opening of Blue Point Nature Preserve. (Michael White)