Sag Harbor’s Litter Vigilante Wants To Clean Up The Village

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Kevin Martin, seen here in Sag Harbor's Cilli Farm preserve, is on a quest to see litter cleaned up across the village. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Kevin Martin, 52, a Sag Harbor resident, admits he can sound like a broken record —especially when it comes to his complaints about the amount of litter he finds dropped on roadsides, tangled up in hedges, and spilling out of garbage cans on Main Street.

“Would you do that in your own yard?” he asked. “Of course not. We live here and we shouldn’t stand for it.”

Lately, Mr. Martin, who regularly cleans up trash he finds under the Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge and elsewhere in the village and in North Haven and Noyac, has found a new area that needs a little help: the Cilli Farm preserve bounded by Long Island Avenue, Water Street, and Glover Street.

And he wants to know why the Village of Sag Harbor does not devote more resources to combating the problem in both the preserve and elsewhere in the village.

“I’m not saying they don’t do anything,” Mr. Martin said of village workers, “but I’ve never seen anyone down there cleaning up.”

On a recent Saturday, Mr. Martin led a reporter into the Cilli Farm preserve, where there was a fair amount of garbage, from empty beer and hard seltzer cans to potato chip packages and even a market umbrella and dairy case, and pair of shoes.

Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley said while litter pickup is not technically the responsibility of the highway department, he would gladly assign workers to the task if Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy requested it.

Ms. Mulcahy, citing the coronavirus pandemic, the need to address waterfront zoning, a proposed paid parking program, and other important business before the village, said she simply did not have time to focus on a clean-up plan for Cilli Farm. She noted, though, that Suffolk County owns half the property and Southampton Town and the village each own 25 percent, requiring a three-pronged approach to litter cleanup.

But she said the preserve would benefit from a volunteer effort to clean it up and issued a challenge to Mr. Martin: “If he organizes it, I, as a private citizen will meet him there along with others to pick up trash.”

Mr. Martin said he would accept the challenge and said he would start by asking Pierson High School if it would allow students to earn community service credits for helping out.

A date has not yet been set, but he has encouraged potential volunteers to contact him via email at kevinmartin6800@icloud.com.

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