Kevin VeseyApr 26, 2017, 11:16 pmApr 27, 2017, 6:59 am

Residents give plan to turn old Pilgrim State hospital into downtown area mixed reviews

Town board hears comments on massive Heartland Town Square project which aims to transform site

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A plan that's been talked about for years is receiving some pushback from Islip residents who have concerns about the redevelopment of the old Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital in Brentwood.

The Heartland Town Square Project aims to create an entire downtown area from scratch with $9,000 apartments as well as three million square feet of office space and one million square feet of shops and restaurants on the 450-acre site.

Long-time Brentwood resident Elton George has thrown his support behind the project, which is 15 years in the making.

“This is what we need this is what our community needs. I've been living in the community for over 30 years and I think this is something that's going to be awesome for our community,” George said.

He was one of hundreds who attended the Islip Town Board meeting to give their opinions on the proposal.

Nancy Gamby who lives in Commack said she isn’t quite on board. She's concerned about how thousands of extra residents would affect roads in the area.

“It's heartbreaking. There are so many problems with this. It's so high density. It's just not right for our community,” Gamby said.

But builders say the development is just what this part of Suffolk County needs

With its location near the Deer Park Train Station, Eric Alexander from Vision Long Island said the project will attract young people who might otherwise leave Long Island.

“It is going to provide affordable housing. It's going to provide office space and jobs. It's going to provide retail space,” Alexander said.

The Islip Town Board is expected to vote on the project at its next meeting on May 15.

If it's approved, developers hope to get shovels in the ground by next spring.

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