Editorial: Planning for the Park

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The Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee on Monday signed off on plans for Jay Bialsky’s West Water Street townhouse project, which is now waiting on approvals from New York State and the Army Corps of Engineers before construction will begin on what could be one of the last large-scale residential development projects in the village.

This also heralds the finalized purchase of what has become known as the John Steinbeck Waterfront Park by Southampton Town through its Community Preservation Fund. The property, cleared of dilapidated buildings, stands next to the Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge and already, in its current state, is a vast improvement over how it looked previously.

There is a lot of expectation surrounding the park, but this was a challenging budget year handled well by the current Board of Trustees considering the financial limitations of running a small municipality. It may be time for a public conversation about what village residents and property owners hope for the Steinbeck Park, what people are willing to pay for its development and what is actually possible in the next two years.

As things stand now, many residents have visions of a park beautifully designed by landscape architect Edmund Hollander, complete with a boardwalk, a history trail and an amphitheater to host community events. Realistically, that may be more of a distant vision and it would be wise for the trustees and public to work together on finding the financial means to turn those visions into reality.

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