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Oct 17, 2016 5:35 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Good Ground Park Closes After Successful Community Day; Facility Is Expected To Reopen Next Summer

Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays. ERIN MCKINLEY
Oct 18, 2016 2:27 PM

Some attending Saturday’s Community Day Celebration at Good Ground Park, which afforded them their first opportunity to walk around the $4 million recreational facility, were surprised to learn that the park would remain off-limits until its official opening sometime next summer.

Deputy Town Supervisor Frank Zappone explained that the park was opened to the public on Saturday to show community members the progress that has been made at the facility, which is anchored by an amphitheater that is capable of accommodating up to 800 guests. He quickly added that additional work on the 36-acre park, including the installation of walking paths, playground equipment and a row of retail shops, must be completed before next year’s official opening.

“The park needs to return to construction mode,” Mr. Zappone said. “There are a number of elements that are not yet installed.”

On Saturday afternoon, visitors were able to check out the first phase of work, which included the installation of the amphitheater and a two-lane road that runs through the park. Attendees also enjoyed an assortment of activities, including live music and face painting, while vendors sold food from trucks.

On Friday afternoon, local officials and students from Hampton Bays High School gathered to dedicate the park.

“It was so wonderful to see the community—people, family, children, parents, grandparents—coming to the park,” said Susan von Freddi, president of the Hampton Bays Beautification Association. “Many people have not been inside the property. It was just wonderful.”

Ms. von Freddi, who was asking visitors to purchase plaques that will eventually be installed on benches and near trees, said some people were unaware that Good Ground Park would be off-limits for the next several months during the second phase of construction.

“A few people questioned that,” Ms. von Freddi said of the park closing. “But people weren’t surprised because it wasn’t finished. It wasn’t a grand opening. I think people called it a ‘soft opening.’”

She added that a lot of people were asking her when the small retail shops lining the main entranceway would be built, while others did not know that the town plans to install a walkway that runs from West Montauk Highway, almost directly across from the Hampton Bays Firehouse, to the park.

Janice Landis, president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association who spent most of Saturday near a tent set up by her group, also noted that some visitors were unaware that the park would only be open to the public for one day. “I think a lot of them didn’t realize that,” Ms. Landis said. “I was explaining it to them at the civic tent.”

As was the case with Ms. von Freddi, Ms. Landis said most understood why the park had to be closed again, pointing to the lack of amenities. Ms. Landis said the worst complaint she heard all day was the fact that organizers ran out of pumpkins for kids to paint.

“It exceeded what people thought it would look like,” Ms. Landis said of the park.

She also noted that she was able to slip away from the tent for a few minutes so she could listen to one of the bands perform at the amphitheater. She said she enjoyed sitting on the stone seating that surrounds the venue and watching the children enjoy the live entertainment.

“I was sitting there and someone turned to me and said it was like a Norman Rockwell painting,” Ms. Landis said on Monday.

As of earlier this week, Good Ground Park is once again an active construction site. The next phase of work includes the installation of public bathrooms—dubbed “comfort stations” by town officials—and two children’s playgrounds, Mr. Zappone explained. One of the playgrounds will be geared toward toddlers and the other will appeal to children between ages 5 and 11. The designs for the playgrounds have not been finalized yet.

To help cover the costs of the next phase of work, the town has applied for a $950,000 state grant, according to Mr. Zappone. He added that he expects the town to find out the result of its application in November.

“This is our first opportunity to safely bring people into the park to see what has been going on there for the first year and a half instead of making them wait another eight or nine months,” Mr. Zappone said.

He added that he expects the park to open for good at the beginning of next summer.

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If it closed, then why were kids using the new amphitheater as a skateboard park on Sunday?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 18, 16 9:49 AM
2 members liked this comment
Nice!!!!
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Oct 18, 16 10:15 AM
I still don't get it.
We can't fill the store fronts we have.
And the ones that do It's either a western union/Colombian push up jeans store or a nail salon.
What's the purpose?
By jams (129), hampton bays on Oct 19, 16 12:24 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Oct 19, 16 12:24 PM
I do not see the need for retail stores with this park. How does the town expect to rent this space, will the shop owners have to bid on the use of the store fronts like they do for the beach pavilion space? The town should not be in the landlord business at this park. Build a park, not a shopping mall. Also give the residents a full understanding of when this will be completed and a cost.
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Oct 20, 16 9:16 AM
The information about this Park has been as clear as mud. Purposeful on the part of the Town or misunderstanding on the part of the Press - either way - not cool. By the time they are through between CPF funds and Town funds to purchase the property, construction of the Park.. maybe $8-10 million with a couple of million in grants from state tax$$$. How much $$$ to maintain??? From what I understand, there no Town owned stores.....at least that is the story for today - who really knows.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 20, 16 2:48 PM
The Town government is an absolute joke. Everything they do is a boondoggle. They just love to throw taxpayers' money around like a drunken sailor. Next on the agenda: finding ways to blow some dough on the ponquogue beach pavilion.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Oct 20, 16 8:52 PM