FAA tours Calverton acreage for complex

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The FAA toured property off Route 25 in Calverton Thursday for a potential new air traffic control complex.

The Federal Aviation Administration toured a 50-acre section of the Enterprise Park at Calverton Thursday afternoon to consider whether it could become a site of a Next-Gen Integrated Air Traffic Control Complex, which would consolidate the function of two existing FAA regional facilities on Long Island and would employ more than 800 people.

Town officials were pretty much tight-lipped about the meeting, however.

“It’s obvious there was a meeting and it was a good meeting, and that’s about all I can say,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio initiated the move on the Town Board to try to lure the FAA to EPCAL, a former Grumman Corporation F-14 testing facility. Then, in February, Ms. Giglio issued a press statement announcing that the FAA had agreed to a site visit at EPCAL, though Mr. Dunleavy said the FAA wants to keep things quiet as they tour sites.

“The FAA said they don’t want any publicity on this,” Councilman John Dunleavy said Thursday.

Reached Friday, Ms. Giglio said only, “It was a productive meeting. I really think they see the gem that EPCAL is.”

The proposed Next-Gen Integrated Air Traffic Control Complex would consolidate the functions of the FAA’s Air Route Traffic Control Center at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip Town and the Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Westbury, according to federal officials.

The Next-Gen facility would track planes by incorporating state-of-the-art satellite air traffic equipment, replacing older, radar-based equipment now used at the Islip and Westbury facilities, officials have said.

The FAA issued a request for information to landowners saying they intended to locate the new facility on between 34 and 49 acres within 150 miles of New York City, and in New York State, and that they are planning to build a total of 250,000 square feet of buildings, towers and employee parking.

The issue became the subject of debate among Town Board members last month, as Mr. Walter said he felt the town should back Islip/McArthur Airport as the site of the new facility, because it would be bad for all of Long Island if that airport, which has struggled financially of late, were to close.

Ms. Giglio and a majority of Town Board members said they believed the town should try to lure the facility to EPCAL.

Councilman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) also encouraged the move.

The facility at Islip now, and the one being proposed, is not an air traffic control tower for any specific airport, and would handle air traffic from the Northeast region.

Officials have said it does not need to be located at an active airport.

The 50 acres being offered is owned by Riverhead Town and located near the Stony Brook Business Incubator at EPCAL off Route 25.

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