The benefits of a zoo

To the Editor:

Thank you for the article about the zoo/animal sanctuary at Calverton Enterprise Park that I have proposed ("EPCAL zoo too?" Aug 26).

As the article underscored … I have my work cut out.

I was encouraged that Phil Cardinale considers it a possibility, but disappointed with his suggestion to submit a purchase proposal.

Purchase proposals are for developers with a lot of money, whose sole interest is to make more. I recognize that Riverhead wants to take advantage of real estate prices, build the tax base etc. and that’s ok. But the facility I am proposing would belong to the town, in the same way the Bronx Zoo belongs to the City of New York.

If we follow what other towns and cities have done, a partnership would be established between the town and a non-profit organization. This organization would raise the funds necessary to build the facility. In many cases, there is a matching dollar agreement: for every dollar raised, the town contributes one dollar. Phases of development are established and implemented when monetary goals have been reached. I know there are people on Long Island who would contribute to this effort, some quite substantially, but the town would have to acknowledge its support. Community and official town support are paramount. The rest will follow.

So, before the 2900+ acres is completely sliced and diced, before we “pave paradise and put up a parking lot”, I would like Riverhead to hold fast to one piece of land and do something special, something for future generations, a legacy … the Calverton Zoo & Animal Sanctuary.

I would encourage everyone to visit, and let Mr. Cardinale know you support the idea.

-Sue Hansen