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Barra Mulling Over Reported $1.2 Million Offer for Park Road Parcel

Parcel on corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue currently has strip mall proposal, though many locals would like to see a hamlet park.

Developer Kenn Barra is reportedly mulling over a $1.277 million offer from Suffolk County to purchase a 4.1-acre parcel on the corner of Park Avenue where Barra has proposed a 27,000-square foot strip mall.

Barra, who received the county's offer in May, received a 90-day extension last week to consider the county's offer, and has until Nov. 22 to make a decision.

The parcel is of significant importance to the Reeves Park community, many of whom attended a when the Legislature unanimously approved planning steps to appraise the property.

Several sources who have been following the development closely confirmed the $1.277 million price tag, though neither Barra's lawyer, Pete Danowski, nor Pam Greene, the director of the county department in charge of making and negotiating the offer, would confirm it.

While those interested in preserving the parcel would eventually like to see it turned into a hamlet park — a memorial for Thomas Kelly, a former Riverhead resident and New York City firefighter who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, sits on the corner of the property — several interviewed said they believe Barra is biding his time.

"Nothing in these negotiations gets done until the 13th hour," said Eric Biegler, president of Sound Park Heights Civic Association, which encompasses Reeves Park, the neighborhood down Park Road leading to Reeves Beach and the Long Island Sound.

"[Barra] is doing his homework, dotting his 'I's' and doing his due diligence to how the offer is," Biegler said. "He'll get a private appraisal of the property, which will obviously be higher than what the county appraised for. And then he'll go back and ask for more money."

But whether or not he'll accept is another story.

Barra has stated in the past that if he were reimbursed by the county for the cost of the land and all his expenses, which he estimated at $1.6 million, he would sell outright. Danowski said that Barra's "costs keep rising," indicating that the $1.6 million price tag has since risen.

Danowski added that his client understands the concerns of Reeves Park residents, though "you do need a tax base in town."

"We appreciate preserving land, but at the end of the day, if it's worth it to preserve the land, the county should pay fair market value for it," he said.

Along with Biegler, Dominique Mendez, co-founder of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, called a potential park on the corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue a "win-win situation."

"It would benefit the town, the residents, and Mr. Barra," she said. "It would benefit everyone who drives by and the downtown economy. There are plenty of places in Riverhead for retail, and he would get a very nice chunk of change for it. It's a damn good deal for him."

Bob Kelly September 06, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Just a quick note on the proposed park. My desire and that of my friends and family would be to have a 9/11 memorial park/garden in honor of the almost 3,000 lives that were lost that day, and the folks who worked down there and have passed along as a result of there efforts .And again you have to wonder why Mr. Barra does not see the importance of keeping that peaceful place, a tribute too all.. its a little discouraging that Barra would not accept the counties very generous offer by the 10th anniversary, but so it goes... thanks.. BKELLY
Pamela September 07, 2011 at 12:47 AM
You all need to get a life already! Very generous offer, that property is worth about $500,000 more than the very generous offer!
Eva Salzman November 24, 2011 at 01:24 PM
We prefer a shopping center to a 9/11 memorial park/garden as suits the life of a firefighter who is from there? We don't have enough of these already on Route 58? How many people who'd support this development would consider patriotism an important enough virtue that even sometimes trumps the importance of the great dollar?! Perhaps Mr. Barra needs the money badly and deserves more in this current market. Perhaps he's been ruined and needs to get reimbursed for his losses so I shouldn't speak out of turn but I'm sure someone of his standing in this town can't be without pride for it which includes the alternative plan for this parcel of land which surely is right considering the location and everything else, no?

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