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Mar 28, 2017 2:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Good Ground Park Will Open On June 1; Certain Amenities Will Not Be Finished Until Summer 2018

Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays. ERIN MCKINLEY
Mar 30, 2017 4:38 PM

Those eager to know when they can begin enjoying Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays now have a concrete date.

Southampton Town announced this week that the 36-acre park, which has been in the works for well more than a decade and is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $4 million, will officially open to the public tentatively on Thursday, June 1—though work on certain amenities is expected to continue well into next year, and the town still needs to secure an estimated $960,000 in funding to finish the recreational facility.

Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone estimated this week that about 75 percent of the work is now complete, noting that the facility’s main attraction—an amphitheater capable of accommodating up to 800 guests—is already finished, and the road leading from the main entrance off Squiretown Road already has been paved.

At the Town Board’s March 23 work session, Mr. Zappone said crews are now installing a surveillance system at the park that will feed directly to the Southampton Town Police Department. Officials are also waiting on the shipment of some equipment for a playground that will be located near the highest section of the amphitheater and feature items for children age 5 and younger. That playground is expected to be finished by the park’s June opening; a second playground for older children won’t be installed until a later undetermined date.

Mr. Zappone warned that other additional work will have to be completed after the grand opening on June 1. The deputy supervisor explained that the park’s public bathrooms, which he described as a “comfort station,” will not be available when the park opens its doors; instead, the town will have a temporary portable bathroom set up inside the park. The park’s water fountains also won’t be operational by opening day either, he added.

He noted that other features—including the second playground, a pedestrian access off Montauk Highway, as well as all of the park’s walking trails—will not likely be installed until next year due to a lack of funding. Other features that could eventually be added, according to the deputy supervisor, include a shade covering for the amphitheater’s stage, a permanent sound system and storage facility for parks department equipment.

Community members were allowed to tour the unfinished park in October and, since that time, crews have installed the main gate off Squiretown Road along with benches, signs, trash receptacles and additional landscaping. Roads and sidewalks within the park have also been finished.

As of now, there are no plans to construct new shops along the park’s main entrance, according to Mr. Zappone, who clarified this week that the buildings would have to be constructed by private developers who own the land abutting the park entranceway.

“The town is not incorporating shops,” he said. “These would be privately owned pieces of property. Until one or more property owners comes forward with a plan, we are not going to have a timetable.”

According to town officials, they have spent approximately $3.1 million on the park thus far, though they plan on investing another $900,000 in the other amenities when all is said and done. Of the money spent so far, about half of that amount, or $1.47 million, was secured by the town through state reimbursement grants, according to Mr. Zappone. The remainder of the costs have been picked up by the town’s parks department budget, which was increased this year to accommodate the project.

Late last year, the town was denied a $960,000 state grant that would have helped cover the cost of the next phase of work, which includes the creation of a second pedestrian entrance off Montauk Highway, and the installation of public bathrooms and a wastewater treatment plant to service the bathrooms. Earlier this year, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman had suggested that officials consider adding a second vehicle entrance on Montauk Highway, though that idea is not part of the current plans.

Due to the funding issues, Mr. Zappone is now estimating that the park will not be completed until the summer of 2018. He added that the town intends to reapply for the same grant this summer.

Town Parks Director Kristen Doulos, who attended last week’s work session, added that an opening day celebration is being planned for Saturday, June 10. Activities planned for that day tentatively include musical performances, children’s dance and exercise classes, and face painting. Additionally, several other events are already scheduled, including a Hampton Bays Public Library movie night on July 13, starting at 8:30 p.m., and a Southampton Youth Bureau summer concert on July 21, starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We do feel prepared for the park to open this summer,” Ms. Doulos told Town Board members at last week’s work session. “We’re excited about it.”

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Wow ,face painting!how "exciting"!Not a very original ideea.There is nothing else really?
By dany (33), Water Mill on Mar 30, 17 3:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
The whole thing is fake - $4 million and rising fake, no comfort stations fake. One day open - 364 days closed fake. If those involved in this boondoggle are the Town Boar's "trusted advisers" - it is time the Town Board finds new ones since these folks can't be trusted.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 30, 17 4:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yet another example of taxpayer dollars going to waste in Hampton Bays... Disgrace. Hampton Bays legal residents request a new town board member to represent.
By T818 (11), Hampton Bays on Mar 30, 17 9:57 PM
Hope this park is maintained as well as the East Quogue Park, after all, it is Hampton Bays and you know the care this hamlet gets.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Mar 31, 17 5:16 PM
Waaay too much asphalt with curbing and painted lines everywhere. Biggest parking lot in town is a disgraceful way to build a "park"
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Apr 1, 17 4:40 PM
"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot"
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Apr 1, 17 5:04 PM
3 members liked this comment