(MyLITV.com has posted this VIDEO of some press conference highlights)
More than 30 people attended a press conference held on July 22 at the West Islip Library and listened as members of the La Grange Inn Task Force spoke. This 17-member team has met weekly for the last 2 months, gathering information from local politicians, community leaders and local entrepeneurs in an attempt to develop viable suggestions for alternative uses of the La Grange Inn site.
The conference opened with these remarks:
I am Joe DeCarlo resident of West Islip and Chairman of the Special Task Force on the LaGrange Inn.
The LaGrange Task Force consists of seventeen members whose single purpose is to recommend proposals for development of the La Grange Inn site that will be in harmony with the needs of the West Islip community and will be in the best interests of the current owners. I would like to thank the Task Force members very much for their tireless energy and dedication on this very special effort for the residents of our hamlet.
The mission of the Special Task Force is very straightforward - to research, develop and recommend alternative plans for the future of the site where the historic La Grange Inn is currently located.
The Task Force held a series of eight weekly meetings over a period of approximately three months. As part of the process the Task Force invited key individuals both in the public and private sectors to attend and participate in the meetings. We are grateful for the input the Task Force received from Islip Town Supervisor Philip Nolan, Town of Islip Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Eugene Murphy, the Director of Economic Development for the Town of Islip William Mannix, and Town Historian Rob Finnegan. In addition the Task Force wishes to thank the former owner of the La Grange Inn Uwe Paulsen and real estate broker Jamie Winkler for their valuable input. We would also like to thank the extraordinary effort of West Islip’s own - Suffolk County Legislator Tom Barraga who provided us with insight and access to key individuals noted above.
We here in West Islip view the LaGrange Inn as our village centerpiece and want to preserve and protect its history. Too many times in the past, historical landmarks throughout the region have been destroyed in the name of progress. We do not want to see this happen to the LaGrange Inn which can be found on Islip Town maps as early as 1776. Just look a mile or so east of here on Montauk Highway where a local developer restored another West Islip historical site – The Arnold Mansion – and created a beautiful vista for the hamlet.
The Task Force has come up with some alternatives for the site that would preserve its heritage and hopefully will create synergy with the properties that bound the LaGrange Inn. We are prepared to work with the current owners and Islip Town to assist in any way with the alternatives we have come up with as a group.
1) Catering Facility- the highest and best use of the property would be the continuation of the site as a catering facility.
2) Restaurant - a Milleridge Inn type use that utilizes the original La Grange Inn as the center-piece with retail shops along the perimeter of the property.
3) Multi Use Housing Option- multi story units where young people would live above shops with the original La Grange Inn continuing as a restaurant and centerpiece.
4) Mini Village - the merging of all four parcels to form a mini village consisting of a variety of restaurants, retail shops and apartments. The four parcels would consist of the La Grange Inn site, the Babylon Ford site, the small real estate building and the property of the former Ukrainian Catholic Church. The four current owners would have to agree to merge the properties and seek permission from the Town of Islip to form a Planned Development District.
5) Culinary Institute - a facility that would have the ability to attract people from all over Long Island.
6) Hospital Building - the original La Grange Inn coupled with an architectural compatible design would be used to facilitate and enhance the expansion of either Good Samaritan or Southside Hospitals.
7) Professional Office Building- original La Grange Inn with appropriate architectural construction would be used for professional office space which is common along that particular segment of Montauk Highway.
8) Planned Landmark Protection District- the Task Force recommends that Regardless of what is developed on the La Grange Inn site the owner should seek Planned Landmark Development status which would give them greater flexibility in construction and may well afford them the opportunity to receive local and even federal tax advantages.
A PDF version of the report is available here