After deciding in October to in Northville, Suffolk County and Riverhead Town leaders closed on a contract the day before Thanksgiving with the owners of the North Fork preserve, marking the last step in obtaining what one legislator called "one of Suffolk County's last great parks."
The final purchase price will come in just over $18 million, with Riverhead Town contributing $500,000 in a partnership with the county.
Speculation had swirled before the final vote as some legislators considered the preserve as a possible alternative location for the county's trap and skeet range. Supervisor Sean Walter said , and Suffolk County Steve Levy joined 14 legislators in pushing through the purchase of the North Fork Preserve.
County Legislator Ed Romaine, R-Center Moriches, said previously that it could be up to a decade before the county finds the funding to improve the park from its current condition to what the Parks Department foresees. In September parks officials which included an RV park, 18 cabins, kayak rentals, and other uses. Roughly 125 of the preserved acres would be reserved for passive recreation — trails for hiking, bird watching, and other passive activities.
Lisa Keyes, legislative aide for Romaine, said on Tuesday that the county is looking into purchasing an abutting 40-acre horse farm, also owned by the individuals who owned the North Fork Preserve.