For the better part of a decade after the turn of the millennium, East Hampton Town’s Fort Pond House in Montauk was a magical oasis for nature lovers, poets and school kids looking to get dirty and learn about science.
The community nature center, which was closed, condemned and slated for sale to pay off the town’s debts when former Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson took office in 2010, is officially reopening to the public this Sunday, after the town renovated the building after taking it off the market in 2013.
The nature center’s 3.9-acre property at 128 Second House Road has since been named the Carol Morrison Park in honor of Montauk environmentalist Carol Morrison, who died in 2010.
The building, a former cottage constructed in 1926, was purchased during former Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s administration in 2003 for $890,000.
The public is invited to tour the renovated nature center this Sunday, June 5 at 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
The $350,000 renovation, which took place over the past 18 months, included adding handicapped accessible bathrooms, shoring up the building’s foundation, re-siding, carpet and linoleum removal and updating systems.
The park, which is one of two public kayak access points to Fort Pond Bay, will be open to the public from dawn to dusk, while the building will be available for community use by contacting the town’s recreation department.
In the past, the building had been used for diverse functions ranging from nature programs run by the nonprofit Third House Nature Center to Boy Scout meetings, school groups from nearby Montauk School, poetry workshops, music lessons and Shakespeare rehearsals.