It’s been more than a decade since the Town of Southampton purchased the 36-acre site known as Good Ground Park behind a pocket park on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.
On March 25, the town hired landscape architects MKW+Associates of Rutherford, NJ to design a revitalization and expansion of the park, including an amphitheater and playground for kids on the site, which is next door to and behind Squiretown Restaurant.
MKW+Associates was one of ten firms that applied to work on the project, said town planner Kyle Collins at a work session March 20 at which MKW landscape architect John Williams gave an overview of his firm’s work.
Mr. Collins said a committee working on designing the park overwhelmingly supported hiring MKW, which has designed major parks in the New York Metro area for half a century.
“We had some very active involvement from citizens in the community involved in the committee,” said deputy town supervisor Frank Zappone. “The community involvement continues.”
Mr. Williams said his firm works almost exclusively on public parks, and will do a great deal of outreach with the community, but plans to “avoid the elephant that is design-by-committee” in coming up with their final plan.
He added that his firm works to help provide areas for kids to play in nature.
“We’ve found that kids are afraid of nature” he said. “They think trees are like street light [poles].”
Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the community has already given a great deal of input into the project, with ideas ranging from dog parks to running trails. She said athletic facilities would likely not be needed in the heavily wooded park, since there are several athletic fields at Red Creek Park nearby.
The town has received a $128,500 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the project, and will need to provide matching funds that bring the total cost of the project up to $196,000.
“We tend to have very active citizen participation in these things. I’m confidant that will continue,” said Ms. Throne-Holst. “This is really exciting to a lot of us.”
Also at Southampton’s March 25 board meeting:
• Southampton issued a request for proposals Tuesday for a pedestrian bridge crossing the Peconic River in Riverside. Bid specs will be available online here beginning April 3. An informational meeting will be held April 23.
• The Church of St. Mary at 165 Ponquogue Avenue in Hampton Bays will be holding a farmers market and craft fair on Saturdays, May 24 through Aug. 30, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Southampton Town Board agreed on Tuesday to ban parking on the west side of Ponquogue Avenue from Shinnecock Road to Bay Avenue, across the street from the church, during the market.
• The board also agreed to build an eight-plot community garden at the David W. Crohan Community Center in Flanders and to install a rain barrel and rain garden at the Big Duck Ranch as part of the Peconic Estuary Program’s rain garden initiative in the Reeve’s Bay watershed.
• The board also agreed to pay up to $15,000 in Suffolk County’s overtime costs for their dredging of Fosters Creek in Hampton Bays, through the Town Trustees budget.