The people behind a $35-$40 million sports resort that was being pitched for a Bellport park near Sunrise Highway are now shifting their focus to other locations.
LifeSports USA LLC issued a statement to greaterpatchogue.com on Tuesday (see below) after learning in recent weeks that Town Hall leaders were growing uncomfortable with the idea of turning over the town’s Martha Avenue Recreation Park for private use.
“We’ll be looking at both public and private lands in other towns,” said Cary Chevat, the CEO of LifeSports USA LLC. “We’ve already gotten a lot of interest from other communities” on Long Island.
Chevat didn’t rule out finding another site in Brookhaven Town, but he indicated the Bellport deal appears to be finished.
The plan had called for four indoor fields, 12 outdoor fields, a 65,000-square-foot clubhouse with dining, retail and entertainment options, and an athletes’ village with team cabanas, lounges and meeting rooms, among other amenities.
It was proposed for over 90 acres of land at the current location of the town’s Martha Avenue Recreation Park. The LifeSports principals were hoping to lease the property from the town for regional sports tournaments, while upgrading the existing amenities at the property for public use.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said it was his hope the Delaware-based group would shift its focus to private properties within the town.
“The Town Board is looking at all the hurdles,” Romaine said. “We think it’s a worthwhile project; it can benefit the community. But the fact that they’re involving public lands creates several barriers that would be difficult and might be time consuming to overcome.”
Romaine said Brookhaven Town would need to issue an RFP (request for proposals) to give other possible private investors an opportunity to pitch a plan for the property, and get the property appraised to ensure it’s getting fair market value for it.
But before that even happened, the town would need to get legislation passed in Albany to alienate the parkland for private use, while finding new properties within the town to replace the lost acreage, Romaine added.
“This might be the best thing since sliced bread, but there are rules that are in place and we’re going to follow them,” he said.
“It would be more appropriate for LifeSports to purchase privately held land for their proposal,” Romaine later said.
Below is a statement from LifeSports in its entirety:
The Town Council and Brookhaven officials had always been very supportive of the Lifesports project. Almost a year ago, they had introduced us to the Martha Avenue Park location and recommended pursuing the alienation process with New York State. So it’s unfortunate that these new concerns are now being raised. We are hoping that we will be able to address these and other issues with the town.
We deeply appreciated all the support from the residents, sports groups and community leaders of the Bellport area. They shared our excitement about the positive economic impact for Bellport and the larger Brookhaven community with the potential of millions of dollars of incremental tax revenues, hundreds of full and part time jobs and new customers for area retailers, merchants and business owners including tens of thousands of incremental hotel nights.
Initial coverage: ‘Game changer’ sports resort being pitched for Bellport