ROCKY POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Do you want your taxpayer money to go toward buying a big rock?
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, that is what is on the table in Suffolk County. And the rock in question is not just any old rock – it is one of the largest on Long Island.
The rock is a towering testament to the muscle of Mother Nature. It is a colossal prehistoric boulder that dwarfs surrounding homes.
“In the town, it’s ‘the rock,’” said Denise LaRosa of Rocky Point. “The kids know it. Everybody knows it.”
Legend has it that the rock is how the hamlet where it located got its name — Rocky Point. The rock is 50 feet long and 35 feet high.
It is a relic of the Ice Age — deposited by melting glaciers. And it sits on private property alongside a boarded up eyesore.
That has prompted Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker to suggest the county buy the property to make the geological wonder a protected public landmark.
“You look at the Grand Canyon, you look at Niagara Falls, you look at some of these historical landmarks – you know, Rocky Point has a historical landmark right there in their backyard,” said Anker (D-Mount Sinai). “This is nature’s treasure, and we’re trying to provide that access.”
But critics say the rock doesn’t need preserving. It has been there for 20,000 years and it is not going anywhere. And critics said spending taxpayer money for a rock puts the county in a hard place.
“It’s preposterous,” said county Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Smithtown). “I mean, why are we buying a rock? It’s embarrassing. This is why people hate government for this sort of thing.”
Now, the rock has neighbors split.
“It is amazing. It’s historical,” said Betsy Molloy. “I would like to see something done, but I don’t want to see people gouged either.”
Lorraine Brown fashions herself keeper of the rock, as part of it sits on her property.
“It’s been maintained by the people who own the property, me included, and it doesn’t need public assistance,” Brown said.
But Anker points to past government investment in open space and blighted land. She is also seeking private funds to preserve the gigantic chunk of Long Island natural history.
Anker said the owner of the property is willing to sell. It was last bought at auction for $107,000.