Kings Park Psychiatric Center, New York, US

by Doug Kerr, a view of Kings Park Psychiatric Center, Long Island, New York, USA

The Kings Park Psychiatric Center, known by Kings Park locals simply as ‘The Psych Center’, is a former state-run psychiatric hospital located in Kings Park, New York. It operated from 1885 until 1996, when the State of New York closed the facility down, either releasing its few remaining patients or transferring them to the still-operational Pilgrim Psychiatric Center.

Today, the sprawling area that once housed the Kings Park Psychiatric Center stands as a testament to a forgotten era. In the spring of 2000, the waterfront portion of the former campus was reopened as the Nissequogue River State Park, preventing it from development, while the rest lies mostly abandoned (the rail spur, abandoned in the late 1980s, was converted into part of a hike-bike trail in 2003). Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, which took in the remaining patients from Kings Park, runs three group homes on the non-parkland portion of the campus while everything else is abandoned. Since 1996, several proposals regarding the property have come and gone, and today, a developer is looking into purchasing the non-parkland portions of the grounds from New York State. This development proposal has proven to be highly controversial. The former campus contains numerous obstacles to development, the biggest obstacles are several buildings that were demolished into their basements and buried while the hospital was still open. All of these buildings, which contained asbestos, were never properly abated. Other obstacles include buried ash from the hospital’s power generation facilities, asbestos-lined steam tunnels, and asbestos-laden buildings. These obstacles have created a fear in the surrounding community that the developer will have no choice but to build high-density housing to cover the environmental clean-up costs in order to make a profit. In January 2006, New York State aborted the sale of the property, and the future of the site continues to remain uncertain at the present time, with a suit filed by the developer pending in the courts. With the sale canceled, security has been stepped up at the facility once again as the property has been an attraction for trespassers.
It was also announced in January 2009 that pets are no longer allowed on the former grounds of KPPC. Also, NY State officials had agreed on a new plan for the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center property that they were calling the most significant step in years toward getting the long-stalled redevelopment process under way.
Outgoing parks commissioner Bernadette Castro has persuaded other state officials to transfer most of the hospital property to her agency. The plan calls for 368 acres (1.49 km2) to be added to Nissequogue River State Park, which was created in 1999 from 153 acres (0.62 km2) of adjacent hospital property. This occurred in 2007 and around ninety percent of the campus is now part of the park. As of 2009, there has been a plan to demolish 15 particularly dilapidated buildings, as well as unused access roads. However, this plan has been suspended indefinitely.

Text from Wikipedia, Kings Park Psychiatric Center

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