Hats off to former Mayor Sandra Schroeder and Trustee Jim Larocca for their efforts over at least four years to secure for the Village of Sag Harbor an open parcel of downtown waterfront land set to open next week as a public park.
The preservation of the 1.25-acre parcel that dreamers see as the John Steinbeck Waterfront Park — named for the great American author who spent his last 18 years living in and loving Sag Harbor — will protect the village’s special charm and character by assuring additional public access to the village’s waterfront views and recreational spaces.
Hats off, too, to 2 West Water Street condo developer Jay Bialsky, the Southampton Town Board and the town’s Community Preservation Fund for negotiating and closing the deal to preserve the plot formerly known as 1,3,5 Ferry Road, management of which the town will soon hand off to the village for use as the future Steinbeck Park.
Mr. Bialsky and the town have done their part. Now the village has to find a way to make the park happen. Although Trustee Larocca has cautioned residents not to expect too much too soon because of the cost of redeveloping the land, it’s vitally important that civic leaders come together to build the required fund-raising momentum.
As envisioned by landscape architect Edmund Hollander in the concept drawings that Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy presented to the public late last month, Steinbeck Park could become a sparkling waterfront jewel and priceless asset for the bodies and souls of residents and visitors for generations to come.
It is no time to think small. It’s time to make it happen, and the sooner the better. Who will be the park’s April Gornik, the artist who so inspirationally led the fundraising campaign to recreate the Sag Harbor Cinema? We need you now for Steinbeck Park.