Editorial: Option for Open Space

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Sag Harbor has many charms — a quaint Main Street not yet completely ravaged by luxury brands, a robust waterfront, and most importantly more than a few year-round community members who care quite deeply about the future of the village.

One thing most of us can agree is lacking in the center of the village is open space and parkland. While Mashashimuet Park is an intrinsic part of our community, it is on the edge of the village. For those strolling downtown, Marine Park is the only expanse of green space. News this week that the Christ Episcopal Church would like to see the 0.4-acre space it calls the Upper Lawn preserved for public use gives us hope the village’s parkland may soon be expanded. What’s more, it is in an ideal location for use by families after school or after services at one of the four houses of worship nearby.

The property is a tranquil place nestled next to the church on Division Street, right between Sag Harbor Elementary School and the former Stella Maris Regional School, a property voters said this week they would like the school district to acquire and develop for educational programming.

Fortunately, because of the Community Preservation Fund, which levies a 2-percent tax on most real estate sales, protecting this land is not difficult to imagine — and doing so would not place any extra burden on taxpayers. Sag Harbor has rarely benefited from the CPF while contributing significantly to funds in both East Hampton and Southampton. This is a worthy purchase of a parcel most residents would hate to see developed into the next Sag Harbor McMansion. It appears the church is committed to a public sale — it’s time for village officials, and residents, to make it clear to East Hampton Town that we want to make this a reality.

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