HISTORY OF THE CIVIC ASSOCIATION
Let me introduce myself, I am Antoinette (Toni) Carbone, past President of the Miller Place Civic Association and a founding director. I moved here in March 1972; it was rural in the truest sense of the word. Farms all around. A dairy farm in Mt. Sinai, fruit and vegetable farms on Echo Avenue and on Rte. 25A. Sod farms all over the place, and a nursery stock farm. I actually came to the area in June 1971; we liked what we saw and went into contract for a new home to be built in Rustic Acres. The population was barely six thousand. Miller Place and Sound Beach had a sizeable summer community. The population would jump then..
In May or June of 1972, I received in the mail a notice of a meeting for the formation of a civic association. That meeting was held in the North Country Road School Auditorium. It was standing room only as Catherine Blythe told us why it was important to form an association: land use, zoning and problems created by the numerous subdivisions that were granted approvals by Brookhaven Town. Those subdivisions had names: Rustic Acres, Miller Woods, Executive Oaks, New England Village, and Leonard Homes. The recent change of zone for multi-family development known as Sylvan Gardens, also prompted the school board to work with individuals in the community (the same people who became the founding directors of the civic association -George Pittman, Agatha Hagley, Frank Vogelle, and Catherine Blythe to name a few) to seek a stronger voice in the floor plan for Sylvan Gardens to insure that there would be only one bedroom units.
Also in 1970 -1971 period, the Brookhaven Town Council not only was granting change of zones, it rezoned vacant residential land in Mt. Sinai to 3/4 acre and refused to do the same in Miller Place, keeping the zoning at 1/2 acre. This too upset the school board and the small year round community in Miller Place that was seeing its first large subdivisions being built. An organization representing the hamlet, modeled on existing civic associations on the north shore was created in the summer of 1972.
Since this was a small community, the Civic during the first four years held an annual dinner dance at the Elks in Mt. Sinai and the Holiday Inn in Pt. Jeff. Station. It aimed to foster neighborliness and sense of community pride. Besides there wasn't too much to do out here in the early 70's.
Through the years, it worked with other organizations. In 1974 it supported Dr. Ainsworth Smith in his dream of establishing a historic society in Miller Place, which later incorporated Mt. Sinai as well. In 1976, jointly the Civic and the Historical Society planned activities in the newly designated Historic District, including a mini marathon through the community. This event was reestablished under Bill Brown, former athletic director of the MPHS, in the late 1990's.
In the late 1980's when it became obvious in the township that there was no architectural integrity to what was being built, MPCA under the direction of Board Member Brian Mc Caffrey and Toni Carbone, and working with Carole Swick, Commissioner of Planning for the Town, established some guidelines for design elevations. Today, the Town recognizes the importance of knowing what materials are to be used in the construction of any building, the landscaping surrounding the property, the lighting, etc.
Beautification was one of the first endeavors of the Civic Association. With the dues of its membership in the 1970's, a row of red leaf maple trees was planted on Echo Avenue adjacent to the Sylvan Avenue Park. Money was made available to Kelly Harkins for plantings around the Pond. In order to create a sense of place in an area where one hamlet runs into another, money was spent on signs welcoming visitors to our beautiful hamlet. Members of the Civic Association maintain these signs.
When a developer wanted to put houses up to the rear of the Duck Pond, it was the MPCA that worked on getting the town to cluster the homes, leaving three acres to the rear of the pond undeveloped thereby preserving the natural appearance surrounding the Pond. When another developer desired to put up the first condos in Miller Place at the end of Landing Road, it was the MPCA that convinced him otherwise. Instead of 24 homes, there are 6.
Several times we ran special events to raise money for charity - like MS. We have helped students and we offer scholarship to graduates of the MPHS. We work with other organizations in our community and with other civic groups in the township in a supportive role. We try to work with those who want to do business in the hamlet, and we have set up a Merchant of the Month program to highlight the quality of service from the local business community.
We continue to watch the doings of local government, and to communicate with those in office. Our newsletter is our principal means of communication with the membership, and we are proud of our new website: www.millerplacecivic.org.
Our latest endeavor is the sponsorship of Troop 204. Youth activities have always been part of our agenda. We were supporters in the 1980's of Tri-District, predecessor of North Shore Youth Council.
While it is hard to tell you of everything we have done in thirty-one years, we have been able to do it because of the residents who have faithfully supported us through their dues. Thirty-one years and still growing. Thank you Miller Place citizens.