Jul 28, 2014

Commerdinger Group Tapped To Lead Park Restoration Project

W.S. Commerdinger Jr. Preservation Society will be the lead group as Suffolk County transitions to ownership of Bavarian Inn site.

Commerdinger Group Tapped To Lead Park Restoration Project

As the boarded-up and blighted Bavarian Inn falls back into the hands of the Suffolk County government, Legislator John Kennedy Jr. is seeking to place the organization that operates W. S. Commerdinger Jr. Park in charge of restoring the site to its natural state.

In an email to Patch, Leg. Kennedy Jr. confirmed he would be filing a resolution with the legislature that would modify the County Parks Department's current operating agreement with the W.S. Commerdinger Jr. Preservation Society (Commerdinger Group) to include the Bavarian Inn property.

The owners of the Bavarian Inn are $300,000 in arrears on taxes owed and missed its February 12 deadline to make arrangements for payment. The lapsed deadline enables Suffolk County to seize ownership of the land, which it is currently in the process of executing with county attorneys. Once the land becomes county property, Leg. Kennedy Jr. said it is the legislature's intention to turn it over to the Parks Department for restoration, which it will do in partnership with the Commerdinger Group.

“Because of our experience and our history and familiarity with the process and the Parks Department they all felt we would be the best ones to begin it," said Mike Fallacara, director of the Commerdinger Group. "I don’t know if it’ll continue under Commerdinger, but we did want to get it going, and if we branch off, we branch off.”

The organization is responsible for restoring and maintaining the once-private home of W.S. Commerdinger Jr., whose family donated the property to Suffolk County Parks.

As for the Bavarian Inn property, the group has already begun some preliminary plans for the lot. In addition, Fallacara said the group will be given the honor of naming the new park once it opens. Last month the Nesconset-Sachem Civic Association and the Commerdinger Group presented some possibilities for the land, and opened up suggestions to those in attendance. Fallacara said his group is interested in restoring the property back to natural park-like conditions.

“Ultimately we want to share it for public use," Fallacara said. "We want the public to be able to enjoy something like that.”

Neither Fallacara nor Leg. Kennedy Jr. were able to provide a timeline for when construction would begin, which would include the demolition of the Bavarian Inn.  

"That’s where we’re hoping our experience comes in," Fallacara said. "Where we can do some fundraising specifically for the razing of that building and clearing the area and getting it ready.”

He added that his organization will welcome collaboration from other civic groups and volunteers.

"I think it’s going to be a cooperative effort and as we’ve learned with Commerdinger, it takes a lot of people," he said. "When it comes to volunteers, you need as many people on board as possible.”

Leg. Kennedy Jr. said there would be more updates as the process of seizing and transferring jurisdiction of the land moves forward. Patch will provide those updates when they become public. Meanwhile, as plans move forward with the Commerdinger Group, Fallacara said he's looking forward to the end result and restoring the banks of Lake Ronkonkoma to greener pastures.

“I’m very thrilled," he said. "I’ve been around a long time. I used to go to the lake; I used to go to the Bavarian Inn. And now to try to help guide it into better hands and better conditions, I’m extremely excited about that. From what I see the community will gain from it and that’s a good feeling.”

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