Exchange Ambulance to change buildings
EAST ISLIP—Exchange Ambulance of the Islips is getting a new home. It’s an existing structure that’s located just down the road from its current facility, which will accommodate emergency assistance vehicles since the number of service calls have increased.
Islip Town Board members voted in June to approve a $3.2 million bond to finance the purchase of the 2.4-acre property at 100 Carleton Avenue, which will serve as the ambulance service’s new headquarters. The move, according to reports, also comes as a result of the facility outgrowing its limited space for five ambulances and two first responder vehicles.
Exchange Ambulance, which is currently located at 190 Carleton Avenue, is made up of about 150 volunteers and additional staff members, providing emergency medical services to East Islip, Islip, Islip Terrace and Great River. The number of emergency calls to Exchange Ambulance has more than doubled in the last 30 years, according to reports. The number of calls has also risen to 3,600 so far in 2018, up from 3,000 in 2016.
Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter has reportedly said it would be cheaper to relocate the facility rather than renovate the current building. Carpenter added that councilmembers have been requesting the approval of the funds for this move for quite some time.
The Town of Islip previously owned the property where the new EMS building will be relocated. It was used as a town-owned auto repair garage before Bohlsen Restaurant Group purchased the property for $3.2 million, the same price for which Islip Town is buying it back.
The Bohlsen purchase in 2014 caused a minor stir at the time. Numerous local residents expressed their belief that both the owner and the town, which was under a largely different leadership at the time, hadn’t made clear how that property would be used.
At the time, BRG said the purchase would be a win for all parties involved, including the community and the town. However, the property has remained vacant since the purchase over four years ago.
This publication also reported on ethical questions that former planning board member Joe D’Vincent raised in regards to the property transfer, as well as complications leading up to the property’s rezoning in the article “Planning board paves the way for Carleton Avenue land sale,” published on Dec. 12, 2013.
At the time, BRG had submitted two separate drafts for the property’s rezoning. The first allowed for rezoning, but set restrictions regarding future subdivisions of the site. The second allowed both rezoning and future subdivision. It was the second draft that ultimately passed.
D’Vincent, who voted in favor of the first draft, said there had never before been two drafts offered regarding an application for rezoning property. “The planning board is set up by the state to adhere to the law,” he said, noting that none of their decisions should be dictated by an applicant.
“It was my feeling that draft one was from the planning board and draft two was demanded by the town board,” D’Vincent said, nearly five years ago.
Exchange Ambulance provides 24/7 EMS coverage to 45,000 residents across approximately 20 square miles, including four fire districts, two school districts, Heckscher State Park and portions of Connetquot State Park. It also provides EMS assistance to the residents of Fire Island via the SCPD’s Marine Bureau.
Islip Town’s Public Works Department will also be allowed to use the new property to house several vehicles for special events or in preparation for disaster response, according to reports, which also state that proceeds from the sale of the existing facility will go towards whatever repairs the new facility might need.
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