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Feb 25, 2009 10:10 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town drafts wish list for stimulus funds

Feb 25, 2009 10:10 AM

Hoping to capitalize on the $787 billion economic stimulus package signed by President Obama on Tuesday, Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot drafted a letter last week to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer outlining a list of “shovel ready” projects that various town department heads would like to have funded by the federal government.

Perhaps the most important project is an estimated $1 million reconstruction of Dune Road in Hampton Bays and East Quogue. Dune Road is a critically important barrier beach road with significant scenic qualities that are an integral part of the town’s tourism industry and second-home economy, according to Ms. Kabot’s letter. The town estimates it would take a year to complete and would result in the employment of eight to 10 people.

One of the more costly projects is the Jackson Avenue municipal complex, which would house various town departments and would utilize sustainable energy design principles such as wind turbines and photovoltaic panels. The intent behind the state-of-the-art alternative energy sources for the center is to become “an educational model for green technology” with a “net zero carbon footprint.”

At a cost of $20 million, town officials estimate the project would create 18 to 24 jobs for two to four years.

The Southampton Aquatic Recreation Center, or SHARC, is another project the town estimates to run near $20 million that would also employ between 18 and 24 people for two to three years. The SHARC project is an intergenerational facility for seniors and youth, with an indoor pool and fitness center and other recreational amenities. Though located in Westhampton, town officials in the Department of Land Management expect the complex to attract visitors from the entire town, as well as from portions of Brookhaven, Riverhead, and Southold, since there is no indoor pool in that area.

The town has already spent nearly $6 million on SHARC, including $3.4 million to purchase the property, and if funding is provided, the project could enter the design phase by mid-year, with construction beginning in 2010.

Another big ticket item the town is seeking federal aid to complete is townwide drainage improvements at a cost of $9.9 million. The town’s stormwater office has identified 16 high-priority locations in need of drainage enhancements. Work could begin within three months of funding, and it is estimated that the project would create 12 private sector jobs for a period of 18 months to two years.

To address the condition of its roads, the town is seeking $5 million in stimulus money. An important feature of this project, stated in the letter to Sen. Schumer, is the installation of new drainage infrastructure along roads to reduce the impact of runoff on town waterways. This work will employ 12 design and construction personnel for one year, the town’s letter says.

An Emergency Vehicle Preemption System, which utilizes technology to set traffic signals to allow for the safe travel of oncoming emergency vehicles, is estimated to cost around $525,000.

Southampton Town is also seeking $500,000 for the reconstruction of the bridge on Bridge Lane in Bridgehampton, $400,000 for traffic calming improvements on Noyac Road in Noyac, near the intersection of Elm Street, and another $150,000 for the construction of an Inlet Road access road, which would allow residents living off County Road 39 the ability to safely get into the neighborhood without crossing the merge point of County Road 39 and Sunrise Highway.

The town is also looking to replace existing streetlight fixtures and traffic signals with dark-sky compliant and more energy efficient ones at a cost of $1 million. This project would employ a crew of five for one year, town officials say.

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it would be great if the state ran and oversaw the project, because as we all know the current town board would only screw it up, and the money would be lost.our tax money once again, !!!
By typical (63), southampton on Feb 20, 09 10:47 PM
I'm wondering why the letter was sent to Schumer. I hope they copy Paterson and Levy and the new Transportation secretary. Schumer voted for the bill but most of the money will be funneled through the states.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Feb 21, 09 8:13 AM
From this list, it looks like the town could care less about helping local families, and will spend the money on otherwise unaffordable projects that do nothing to stimulate the ecomony. I hope the President keeps an eye on these local governments as he said he will and see exactly what they will do with this money.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Feb 21, 09 11:13 AM
If you add up all the stimulus and bailouts from December 2007 through the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" it adds up to $10.8 trillion (according to CNN calculations). Divide that by the nuber of taxpayers (about 138 million) and you get $92,753. Can I opt out and get my check please?
By TheGoodLife (43), Westhampton Beach on Feb 21, 09 11:22 AM
what is unfortunate about the stimulus spending and the comments above are that the government is creating debt, and the comments seem to overlook that fact. We are the government and as such are responsible for the repayment of all the funny money. This bill absorbs vast amounts of private equity needed by small business and entrepreneurs to stimulate to economy and that is exactly what is needed, not government deficit spending, to recover. What ever happened to the American spirit of accountability ...more
By tom (53), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 09 8:23 PM
The town should add to its wishlist a request for funding to improve all of the unimproved roads in the town. The town used to have a private road policy in 1976 whereby they would improve and take the roads over but somehow stopped. Homeowners living on unimproved roads are paying the same tax rate, yet receiving no services as those living on improved roads. There is no discount for living on an unimproved road!! Many year round residents some elderly lvie on these roads that can best be described ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Feb 22, 09 7:01 AM
And with he deplorable conditions of the roads in some places, the highway superintendent, Mastersen choose not to pave them because it would have cost the paving companies (Major GOP donors) too much money. You are right NS Citizen we need the town to take care of the taxpaying citizens. This "pay to play" in Southampton must stop!
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Feb 22, 09 8:44 AM
Having read over the "wish list" drafted by Linda Cabot regarding application for funds being allocated to the states via the $787 billion stimulus package, one's reason is taxed.

Of the many projects, several of real importance, the Southampton Aquatic Recreational Center, SHARC, stands out in red greedy letters. This is not what one would consider a necessity - but rather a community "want." Our towns are surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Atlantic and its bays. For generations, ...more
By RJH (5), westhampton on Feb 22, 09 5:39 PM
Am I the only one who likes this list? Let's see. $18M for road improvements, much of which improves drainage which is critically important since we live on a sandbar on top of an aquifer. Vehicle preemption system for safety and streetlights that use less energy. Then the two big pricetags: $20M for Jackson Ave complex and another $20M for the rec center. These are precisely the kinds of projects that the bill seeks to fund: advanced design work, creates jobs, has public and environmental ...more
By jm (17), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 09 1:28 PM
Well said Tom from Hampton Bays, I couldn't have said it better myself. As far as North Sea Citizen I agree with you also. I live on a road that is considered private, but only from a certain section on. When I built my house 7 years ago I was forced to pave 500 feet of the road as a condition to get my CO. I pay taxes toward the road but don't get plowed unless there is over 12 inches of snow, no sanding, and only started getting leaf pick up 2 years ago. There is a hill on the road that turns ...more
By BigL11946 (29), Hampton Bays on Feb 24, 09 10:34 AM
It's good to see that most of the comments are about what to do with the stimulus money rather than whether there should be a stimulus. The wish list debate is natural and healthy, but it can't go on too long, as urgent action is required. Those few who still oppose the stimulus on principle, e.g., the consequent debt, should remember that when the house is on fire, you can't be worrying about whether the picture frames are straight.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Feb 24, 09 11:32 PM
Let me comment on how the Town's first site purchased for SHARC was a bust. This was due to the lack of research on behalf of the town. The property was determined unsuitable to build after our tax money was wasted on designing and planning this project. The town needs to pull their heads out of their a$$ and research the best ways to spend the stimulus money (our tax money). Open your ears Linda Kabot!!!
By landarchi (33), Southampton on Feb 26, 09 10:01 AM