Report: County to seize former Dowling campus in Oakdale

Suffolk County plans to seize the unkept Oakdale property that served as the main campus of Dowling College, according to a report.

The picturesque former campus along the Connetquot River – including the grand Idle Hour estate — has been largely neglected since its 2017 sale to Mercury International LLC for $26.1 million. Mercury has also ignored its tax bill, failing to pay $4 million in taxes on the 25-acre property over the last three years, according to the Newsday report.

County Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr. told the newspaper his office could take the deed to the property by January, and then sell it.

“We should move quickly and get it back out to the market and put it out for sale,” he told Newsday.

A press conference had been scheduled for Oct. 20 by Suffolk County Legislator Anthony Piccirillo, who intended to call attention to “the shameful condition of the college,” according to an Oakdale Historical Society Facebook post. But the event was postponed due to foul weather, and rescheduled for after Election Day.

Preservation Long Island was also expected to participate at the press conference. The nonprofit organization in 2017 listed Idle Hour as an Endangered Historic Place.

Dowling closed in 2016 after filing for bankruptcy.

Photo above: The mansion on the Idle Hour estate in Oakdale, taken in August (Facebook / Oakdale Historical Society).