Former Middle Island Kmart site remains 'barren wasteland'

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MIDDLE ISLAND -

There's a battle brewing over the future of a Middle Island property that was once the site of a Kmart.

After the now-abandoned Kmart on Middle Country Road was torn down, a rash of robberies and other crimes plagued the location. And in April 2016, a man's body was found in the woods.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says the property has been a blight for "many years." He says the property's developer, Breslin Realty, rejected the county's latest offer to buy part of the Artist Lake Plaza property for about $1.8 million.

Suffolk and Brookhaven town officials, along with some residents, suggest turning the site into fields for children, trails, a playground or possibly a garden.

Gail Lynch-Bailey, of the Middle Island Civic Association, says residents won't give up on a plan for the property, which she calls an "awful, messy, empty, barren wasteland."

Tom Bove, of the Longwood Youth Sports Association, says he's been working to get fields built on the land since his son was 7 years old. The son is now 47.

Breslin Realty did not return News 12's calls for comment on the county's rejected offer. On its website, the Artist Lake Plaza property is being marketed as a leasing opportunity.

Bellone says if an agreement can't be reached on building parks, something else should be built on the site that can be supported by the community.

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