EPCAL zoo too?
Rocky Point woman drop
By Tim Gannon

CALVERTON-Riverhead has an aquarium, so why not a zoo, too?

A Rocky Point woman is trying to make the latter a reality, although she’s got a long way to go.

Sue Hansen of Rocky Point is proposing a Calverton Zoo and Animal Sanctuary on 300 acres of the nearly 3,000-acre site at the Calverton Enterprise Park (EPCAL). So far, she doesn’t have the money to begin the project and she hasn’t formally proposed the idea to the town.

But she hopes to make a presentation to the Greater Calverton Civic Association soon, and she does have the whole thing spelled out on her website, www.calvertonzoo.com.

And she’s looking for help. She said she’s hoping to convince anyone who’ll listen, most notably the Town of Riverhead, to use 300 acres at EPCAL for an animal sanctuary.

On the “About Us” section of her website, Ms. Hansen writes, “Actually, at this point, it’s not exactly about ‘us,’ it’s just ‘me’ … but hopefully that will change.” She’s trying to rally community support for the idea, which she feels would be “something the vast majority of the community would enjoy.”

Her proposal would create a zoo similar in size and scope to the Bronx Zoo, which is 265 acres, owned by the city and run by a nonprofit conservation society.

“The facility, as I envision it, would provide sanctuary to animals that have been abandoned, exploited, confiscated, retired from circuses, rescued, etc.,” Ms. Hansen said on her website. “Wild animals, unfortunately, find themselves displaced from their natural environment by man and when their usefulness has passed, there is nowhere for them to go.”

The zoo and sanctuary, she said, would deliver the message “Respect Life.”

Unfortunately, for Ms. Hansen, it appears that in order to get the town’s attention, she’ll need to produce some money.

“I had received a letter in regard to the proposal for a zoo at Calverton,” Riverhead Supervisor Phil Cardinale said. “It’s one of the more entertaining uses suggested for the site, but it’s not associated with a purchase price offer. I’d invite her and all others to make a purchase proposal. What she’s offering is more of a concept than a proposal, and we dealt with the concept stage in the reuse plan for EPCAL.”

The town recently has sought to attract hotel and conference centers and golf resorts to the EPCAL site, and also is considering rezoning some of the land there to allow for more industrial and office uses.

The Greater Calverton Civic Association has a link to Ms. Hansen’s proposal on its website, which started only recently, and the association also is asking people for feedback on Ms. Hansen’s plan.

“I think everyone has a right to present their ideas,” said Rex Farr, president of the civic association. “Over the last year, a lot of people have come to the civic association asking to present their ideas.”

Mr. Farr said the link to Ms. Hansen’s website has only been up about a week and that he was unaware what type of feedback it had received.

He said he hoped to have Ms. Hansen make a presentation at a civic association meeting soon. (The News-Review, August 26, 2004)