Friday, June 20, 2008

Vision of the Future for West Islip

We remember in 1978 that the Town of Islip commissioned a study for the development of
the hamlets within the Town. West Islip was part of that study. La Grange Inn was considered an anchor of the community that added historical significance and a shared sense of elegance to the community.

As the La Grange property, the Babylon Ford property and the realtor and Ukrainian Church properties come up for sale, an new and visionary future could emerge wherein the owners of these properties could unite to creat a village green with shops, apartments, and gathering places for the community centered around the preservation of one of the oldest Inns on Long Island.

As members of the Task Force to preserve the character and purpose of La Grange and as residents who hope to see a brilliant future for West Islip, we invite other concerned citizens who are opposed to a Walgreen Store at La Grange corner to step forward and offer the owners of these properties better ideas for the development of West Islip.

Perhaps, a Marriott or Hilton hotel or a major restaurant operator could partner with the owners to create West Islip's La Grange Square, a place for multiple uses that would compliment our fine library and attract many new residents who wish to share a beautiful community life style.

Please share your ideas with the La Grange Task Force and contribute to the future of West Islip.

bob and kay

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kelly's Lake and the Historic LaGrange Inn


By Suffolk County Legislator Tom Barraga

Many years ago, as some of the elders of Bay Shore will tell you, there existed a beautiful small lake on the north side of main street called Kelly's Lake. It was a small lake in which hundreds of residents enjoyed what it had to offer in the summer and the winter. The beauty of the lake in the summer and its use for ice skating and winter sports in the winter. Then one day the residents of Bay Shore were shocked to see that Kelly's Lake was completely filled in. Their beloved lake was gone forever and all they were left with were their memories and a Ford dealership built where the lake once stood. Kelly's Lake was part of the core, the essence of Bay Shore and it was lost. As with most things of beauty when they are destroyed it is because of the greed and narrow mindedness of the selfish few. The historic La Grange Inn is part of the soul of West Islip and must not be lost to greed and an unwanted and unneeded Walgreen Pharmacy at the site.

The historic La Grange Inn is to the residents of West Islip, what Argyle Lake is to the residents of Babylon, or the Concourse is to the residents of Brightwaters, or the Smithtown Bull is to the residents of Smithtown. What would the citizens of those towns do if they were made aware that a portion of Argyle Lake in Babylon would be filled in to make room for a Walgreen Pharmacy; that the Concourse in Brightwaters would be reduced in size to make room for a Walgreen Pharmacy; that right next to the Smithtown Bull there would be constructed a Walgreen Pharmacy, open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. If these examples are just unimaginable then why would there be any credibility to an equally preposterous scenario calling for the construction of a Walgreen Pharmacy right next to the historic La Grange Inn.

Unlike the other communities I have mentioned, West Islip does not have a central downtown main street area. Our community has always been split from a retail perspective, with stores on Higbie Lane, Union Boulevard and Montauk Highway. The one central edifice the entire hamlet of West Islip has is the historic La Grange Inn. It is our unifying identity and the site must not be downgraded to a shell of its former self standing in the gray shadows of a huge unsightly, unnecessary Walgreen Pharmacy built by the selfish and greedy few at the expense of the many.

The 30,000 residents of West Islip overwhelmingly do not want or need a Walgreen Pharmacy on the grounds of the historic La Grange Inn. We will not allow the La Grange Inn to suffer the same fate as Kelly's Lake.

These images illustrate the changes

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Task Force Looks for Alternative Plans

News Release:


A special Task Force has been formed to research, develop and recommend alternative plans for the future of the site where historic LaGrange Inn is currently located.
The Task Force whose Chairperson is Joseph De Carlo and two Vice Chairpersons Lynn Luttenberger and Maria Figalora, will consist of seventeen members whose single task will be to recommend proposals for development of the site that will be in harmony with the needs of the West Islip community and will also be in the best interests of the current owners.
The community totally rejects the current proposal to put a Walgreen Pharmacy on the LaGrange Inn site, consequently the Task Force will only deal with the alternative proposals. In the weeks ahead the Task Force will hold weekly meetings, reach out to a host of businesses and professional leaders, discuss multiple possible uses for the property and issue a report to the people of West Islip detailing it’s findings and recommendations.
“ The future development of the LaGrange Inn is the symbol of the West Islip community and we, on the Task Force, are absolutely determined to find a use that is appropriate from a historical perspective and is in keeping with the wishes of our 30,000 West Islip residents,” said De Carlo.
“ The Task Force in addition to reaching out to a large number of individuals and groups for input on possible development welcomes all those who would like to address us on any ideas they may have for the LaGrange site,” said Luttenberger.
“ West Islip is our home and the LaGrange Inn site has always been the historical focal point that identifies our community. Our hamlet doesn’t have a central downtown like other communities but what we do have that brings us together and gives us a unifying identity is the historical LaGrange Inn, and this Task Force will develop proposals that are in the best interest of the people of West Islip,” said Figalora.