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County Has Taken Title to Riverhead’s 300-acre North Fork Preserve

By Judi Desiderio, Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced last week that the county has taken title to Riverhead’s 300-acre North Fork Preserve, which it purchased for $17.8 million.

“This is a crown jewel in the county holdings,” Levy said in a brief ceremony Thursday in front of the entryway’s stone pillars. “This is a parcel that generations in the future will look back fondly on.”

Park officials have preliminary plans for the southern 180 acres that include trailer and tent camping sites, cabins, ballfields and paddle boating. Tennis courts and a clubhouse already exist on the property. There is no timetable for the park’s full development. The northern 126 acres will be limited to passive park uses such as hiking.

Legis. Edward Romaine (R-Center Moriches), who sponsored the acquisition, said the county would begin negotiating to acquire 50 adjoining acres for an equestrian center.

The price for that parcel is expected to be far lower than market value because Suffolk already owns development rights under the county farmland program.