KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Halloween weekend brings a warning on Long Island for trespassers to stay out of an old abandoned psychiatric center.
Over the years, it has been a magnet for criminal mischief, but as CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday, change is coming.READ MORE: Village Halloween Parade Returns After Year Hiatus Due To COVID-19 With Themes Geared Toward Children
The crumbling buildings still stand, but the era when psychiatric patients were warehoused there is long gone.
Not gone, though, is a Halloween ritual — road closures at the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center grounds to stave off vandals.
“It is a hazard. There are people going in and out of the buildings all the time. When you look at where the spray paint is, the kids are up at the parapet walls. You have to wonder the tragedies that could happen,” Kings Park resident Kathy Cuff said.
“These buildings are old. They are deteriorated. They are hazardous. There is asbestos. There is dangerous chemicals in them,” said George Gorman, Long Island regional director of the New York State Parks Department.
Once a magnet for hundreds of Halloween revelers, this weekend police will step up patrols of the century-old buildings.
But change is coming. The state is devising a master plan for the 550 acres. The waterfront property is now the Nissequogue River State Park, and the Parks Department is gathering public input to create a blueprint for the future.READ MORE: CBS2 Weather Headlines: Upper 50s, Mostly Clear Skies Sunday Evening, Good For Trick-Or-Treating!
“What buildings are worth preserving and can be adaptively reused. What buildings need to be demolished. There have been creative ideas. Vineyards are a suggestion. Athletic fields for youth leagues, catering hall, restaurant,” Gorman said.
The state has already spent $30 million demolishing 30 buildings and 50 more remain.
“This was closed in 1996, so we are sitting 25 years later and there has been very little progress. Hopefully, with the new master plan, things will change,” Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta said.
Trotta said he applauds the progress, but looks forward to a year without the Halloween patrols.
“I’m a realist. It’s going to be probably a decade before these buildings are gone,” Trotta said.
State officials say once the master plan is complete, they will seek funding to transform the place and finally end a Halloween and year-round hazard.MORE NEWS: Preparations Underway For Return Of NYC Village Halloween Parade
The master plan is due by next summer, after the public is given the opportunity to weigh in.