A bill authored by Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) to transfer more than 81 acres of Pilgrim State Hospital land to the Oak Brush Plain State Preserve has passed the Assembly Tourism, Arts and Sports Development committee and is now in the committee on Ways and Means (A.6156). The bill establishes a Dec. 1 deadline for the transfer.
“With development aggressively encroaching on the area, it’s vital that we step forward and protect one of our community’s most treasured natural assets,” Ramos said. “This bill would not only preserve this land for future generations, it would follow through on a 22-year-old promise to the community.”
The 1987 law that established the Oak Brush Plain State Preserve sought the inclusion of unused lands from the adjacent Pilgrim State Hospital, a transfer that never took place (Ch. 635 of 1987). Ramos’ bill would make good on the law’s original aim, requiring the annex by year’s end. The bill has the support of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, the Friends of the Edgewood Preserve and the Sierra Club of Long Island.
Ramos reintroduced the legislation after it was vetoed by the governor last year, calling it a necessary step in bucking a disturbing trend.
“For to long our community has been a magnet for unwanted projects,” Ramos said. “Unwelcome additions like the proposed Long Island Truck-Rail Intermodal Facility are more than an eyesore – they drive down property values and increase congestion in an area already plagued with hapless clutter. With this bill we’re taking a stand for our environment and our quality of life, and we’re doing it together. By expanding the preserve we protect valuable open space and offer families more opportunities to enjoy all the wonders of nature. I will continue fighting to make this a reality.”