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Sep 5, 2012 9:28 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Monument Needs A Face-lift; Village Remains Far Short Of Funding Goal

Sep 5, 2012 11:19 AM

Standing tall and proud since 1923, the World War I memorial in Agawam Park is in need of major restoration.

For the past three years, Southampton Village officials have been looking for ways to bring back the former glory of the limestone and granite monument, accented by clear engravings and stately arches. Efforts have included a fundraising campaign to pay the cost of a restoration.

Last month, the Village Board reviewed bids for a restoration project and found that the A. Ottavino Corp. of Queens proposed the lowest cost—$284,000. According to Village Administrator Stephen Funsch, the conservation group could finish the job in just a few months.

Unfortunately, the village has raised less than 10 percent of what is needed to get the process under way and will be forced to wait. Since 2010, only $26,267.50 has been raised through individual donations, according to Mr. Funsch.

Village Mayor Mark Epley said the village may be able to tap into its park fund, which is a trust account for improvements to parks, park buildings and equipment, but now is the time to raise the funds from private donors to help defray that expense.

“It’s part of our heritage and a focal point of the Village of Southampton,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to pay for this, because it looks bad.”

Due to the salty air, the humidity, leaks and inadequate drainage, and deferred maintenance, the monument has taken a beating.

Although Mayor Epley said the memorial is structurally sound, its timeworn steps are spotted with grass and lined with cracks. Numerous clefts and holes interrupt its once-smooth limestone and granite, and the floor of the memorial slopes down, trapping puddles of water when it rains.

The last upgrade to the monument was in 1993, but because the construction company replaced the original limestone floor with granite—a change the state OK’d at the time—any possibility of obtaining state grant money to renovate the structure was lost. According to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, a restoration project must retain the original historic material.

Despite that, the mayor said he is hoping to sit down and talk with somebody on the federal level about the village’s options for funding.

Donations to the restoration of the monument may be made via check payable to the Village of Southampton, c/o WWI Memorial Restoration Project, 23 Main Street, Southampton, NY 11968.

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You would go to a company from Queens to repair the Monument The WWI War Memorial? I know there are masons in the East End perfectly capeable of doing the work. Honest men looking for work. Somehow the work force has been screwed with the "newcomers" desire to have the job done cheapest.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Sep 5, 12 10:27 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By itsamazing (224), Southampton on Sep 5, 12 9:14 PM
@summertime- its a free market, no? The town should have the power and the right to seek out the best company for the job, weighing in cost, quality, and reputation of the company. They are under no obligation to stay 'local'!
By irishlad (3), Southampton on Sep 6, 12 12:51 AM
I understand what you are saying but it would be nice to keep the money local though,no?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Sep 7, 12 10:00 PM
What's wrong with this picture???
It's not an exageration to say that some of the richest people in the country own homes within a 1 or 2 mile radius of the monument.
Very strange that in Southampton, of all places, money should ever be an issue for this kind of thing.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Sep 8, 12 10:46 AM
The money is in the CPF fund for this project so wake up, make a request, and fix the memorial. If the money isn't for over paid cops or a 5 million dollar over the top fire house they have no money.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 8, 12 6:01 PM
That's not what CPF is for
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 8, 12 6:16 PM
2 members liked this comment
The park sure would've looked nice with those flowering trees the garden club offered to plant. Would've enhanced that monument.
By btdt (449), water mill on Sep 9, 12 2:31 PM