A small, ramshackle building on Station Road in Bellport that had long announced the future home of a Shinnecock-Sewanaka Society cultural center was demolished last week.
Brookhaven Town had determined the house at 304 Station Road to be unsafe, town Councilman Michael Loguercio said in a statement. Because of this, the building’s owner paid to raze the building last Wednesday, Dec 13, Loguercio said.
The house, owned by the Shinnecock Sewanaka Society Inc., had sat on a .1-acre property on the west side of Station Road, south of the railroad tracks. For years a poster on the house indicated that it, or the property, was to be Future Home of the Shinnecock-Sewanaka Society.
In an article published in September 2013, the group’s its executive director, Janine Tinsley Roe, told The Long Island Advance that after the building was demolished, a small, landscaped park would be set up, with a photo depicting a future center.
In a message sent to greaterpatchogue.com Monday, Tinsley Roe said those plans will be moving forward this spring.
“We do have plans for the now vacant lot and have always had plans to create a Native American heritage center to honor the Natives and their contributions to this community,” Tinsley Roe said. “This spring we will create a Native garden and community park for events in our area, until we can raise the $500,000 we will need to build it.”
According to The Advance article, the group received more than $135,000 in Caithness Community Benefit Fund grants to demolish the building and to purchase an adjacent property, among other things. That fund was put in place through an agreement with LIPA and Brookhaven Town in relation to the construction of Caithness power plant in neighboring Yaphank, according to press reports out of Town Hall.
The group’s website indicates the Shinnecock-Sewanaka people are “descendants of Shinnecock priest Paul Cuffee and the Poospatuck leaders that advised the founding fathers of the U.S. Constitution, William Floyd, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson to name a few.”
The 501c3 nonprofit group’s goal, according to the site, is preserving Native American history on Long Island. It is described as a grassroots organization.
Top photo: 304 Station Road as it appeared Monday. (Credit: Michael White)
Smaller photo: The building before it was demolished. (Courtesy: Brookhaven Town)