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Community rallying to support beloved Mattituck pediatrician in land sale vote

Dr. Mercier and his wife Barbara have raised three children on the North Fork.

Dr. Thomas Mercier is a beloved Mattituck pediatrician who’s been practicing in the same location off Route 48 for 30 years.

And now, the generations of families who’ve taken their little ones to see Dr. Mercier for care are rallying behind him in his quest to purchase a small piece of property belonging to the Mattituck Park District; the parcel is part of his parking lot.

The vote is for all residents of the Mattituck Park District.

“Dr. Mercier was our pediatric physician since the 1980s until my last son was 18,” Mattituck resident Rory MacNish  wrote on Facebook this week. “He has practiced in the same location in Mattituck on Rt. 48 at the end of the Mattituck inlet for a long time. He needs our support.”

This week, he said he was compelled to help a bastion of the community. “Dr. Mercier has helped so many people in so many ways, when I heard he needed some support, I had to do something.”

His Facebook plea for support has yielded a flood of responses from those who have spoken out in favor of lending a hand to Dr. Mercier.

Last month, Dr. Mercier and his wife wrote a letter to Mattituck Park District residents, asking for their help.

The purpose of the vote, Dr. Mercier said, is “to approve the park district selling us the small strip of land which comprises the north half of our parking lot, along the cinder block wall.”

The parcel, he said, measures 33’ x 115’ and is 0.087 acre. The land is appraised at $7,000. “We will be paying the Park District $10,500, which will cover the value of the land and all fees which the Park District will incur in the sale.  The Park District will maintain a legal ‘right-of-way’  over the land,” he said. “The Park District has not used this land in over 40 years, however it is crucial for our practice. Additionally, the sale would provide the Park District with funds to use toward its other facilities and properties. The Park District has agreed to sell us the land, however it must be approved by a vote of local residents.”

The couple added, in their letter, “Please vote to approve the sale of the property to us.”

Dr. Mercier said he would feel more comfortable owning the small piece of land outright, because without it, he would not have ample parking and could not keep his practice at the spot.

The parcel is located on the northwest corner of Love Lane and the North Road, with the entrance off the Love Lane extension, he said.

Dr. Mercier said he and his wife have been touched by the outpouring of support from loyal patients and local families on Facebook. “People have been very nice.”

In a solo practice for years with his wife, a nurse, by his side, Dr. Mercier said, “People here are just wonderful, and they have been wonderful to us.”

The couple has raised three children of their own on the North Fork and say that they have memories of the many children who’ve been patients over the years.

“Those kids have grown up and gotten married and come back with their kids,” Dr. Mercier said.

The best part of his practice over the years, both Dr. Mercier and his wife said, has been the people.

“It has been such a pleasure to be a doctor out here,” Dr. Mercier said. “The parents are so pleasant to deal with. It’s an educated group of parents, who takes good care of their kids. They get it — they’re very easy to communicate with. It’s just been so rewarding.”

His wife, Dr. Mercier said, is a sixth generation summer person in Mattituck, and he began his practice in New York City. “I’ve always been so happy that we came here,” he said.

Mike Ryan, commissioner of the Mattituck Park District, said the property in question is an unbuildable lot and Dr. Mercier had approached the park district some years back about a potential sale but had the idea voted down.

“We wanted to re-approach it again with the voters, to sell it,” Ryan said, adding that he had presented the idea to his fellow two commissioners.

“I am very much in favor of the sale, simply because the park district has no use for it; it’s an unbuildable lot,” Ryan said. “It’s in the best interest of the park district if someone is willing to pay us money for it, funds that we can use  best interest of the taxpayers for improvements on properties that we can use.”

A vote on the matter will take place Tuesday, March 10, at the Mattituck Park District office at Veterans Park from 6 to 8 p.m.