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Feb 7, 2018 10:53 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton Town Board Supportive Of Aquatic Center Proposal For Hampton Bays

Evan Eleff, executive vice president of Sports Facilities Advisory, speaks about the proposed aquatic center for Hampton Bays. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Feb 7, 2018 11:32 AM

Southampton Town Board members appear to be supportive of an ambitious plan for a $25 million aquatic center with three swimming pools in Hampton Bays—though they expressed some reservations about how the nonprofit behind the project would come up with the money.

Dr. Josephine DeVincenzi, vice president of the nonprofit Southampton Town Aquatics and Recreation Inc., attended the Town Board work session last Thursday, February 1, to ask that 2 acres in Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays be set aside for a 43,000-square-foot aquatic center.

She said the nonprofit envisions the center having three pools: an Olympic-sized swimming pool for athletes to train, a small pool for children to play in, and a warm water pool for aqua therapy and for people to use for exercise and for taking swimming lessons.

The pools also likely would be open for use by local school districts and for lifeguard and scuba diving training.

Ms. DeVincenzi said STAR is not looking for the town to fund the project—only for the donation of the 2 acres of land for the building and parking in Red Creek Park. The park, on Old Riverhead Road, is the perfect location for the aquatic center because of its central location in town and its proximity to Sunrise Highway, she said.

Evan Eleff, executive vice president of Sports Facilities Advisory, the company hired to manage the center, added that approximately 30 percent of the town is within a 15-minute driving distance of Red Creek Park, making it an ideal location for the center.

Before moving forward, Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman asked that Ms. DeVincenzi bring in specific diagrams showing where in Red Creek Park the building and parking would be. After that, Mr. Schneiderman suggested holding a community meeting in Hampton Bays to see if hamlet residents would like an aquatic center in their community.

If the community appears to be on board, Mr. Schneiderman said, he would support a resolution that reserves land for the aquatic center—though he would likely impose a time limit. “We can’t hold a piece forever,” he said, adding that the nonprofit should have a time limit—perhaps three years—to come up with the money.

He also noted that there should be a stipulation where the nonprofit has to prove that it is moving forward in good faith to raise the $25 million needed to build and operate the center throughout the course of the three years. “Twenty-five million dollars is a lot to raise,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I don’t think you are going to be able to raise it in a year.”

Ms. DeVincenzi agreed to Mr. Schneiderman’s stipulations during the work session and said she is confident her team will be able to raise the money in time. “We’re ready to gear up,” she said.

Ms. DeVincenzi did not share any specifics about how the nonprofit, which was started in 1997 by Jean Hazelton, a Southampton attorney, would be fundraising, noting that she wanted to secure the land before soliciting money from donors.

The Town Board appeared to agree that more information was needed to make a decision—though the five-member board all seemed to be intrigued by the proposal.

“I think it’s a great idea—I support it in concept,” said Councilman John Bouvier. “The devil is in the details.”

Specifically, Mr. Bouvier asked the applicant to provide information about the septic system it plans to use, noting that an aquatic center has to filter a significant amount of water daily.

Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who also said she liked the idea for the project, stressed that the town should see what the Hampton Bays community thinks about it. She also noted that a traffic study should be done, since Old Riverhead Road isn’t currently a high-traffic road.

Some town residents already appear to be on board with the proposal.

Ric Stott, an architect in Southampton Village, who pushed for other aquatic initiatives in the past, said he is excited about the prospect of the aquatic center. “This is one of the most important developments to happen,” he said.

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SH Town, why ask hampton bays wants the aquatic center? Wouldn't you ask the town tax payers if they want or would use it?
Did you ask HB if they wanted the police station, courts of ball fields???
How about a overview or concept drawing? To me it's a asset to the public and schools.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 7, 18 11:18 AM
2 members liked this comment
I wouldn't sweat it - these people raised $500,000 of a $25,000,000 project - good for them if they can get this off the ground. The last time, it was taxpayer funded and got voted down. The Town can't manage vacant park land, I wouldn't trust them to manage an "aquatic center".
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 18 11:25 AM
2 members liked this comment
Schneiderman wants to see how the community feels, but he does whatever he wants anyway.
By Marrrmin (17), Hampton bays on Feb 7, 18 12:18 PM
3 members liked this comment
It shouldn't be about HB residents but should be for all town residents
By left eq (28), Southampton on Feb 7, 18 3:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Is there anything stopping the rest of the town from attending, if it gets built?

The focus on HB residents is because this community would bear the brunt of development and traffic, not because it's just for us.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 7, 18 3:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Build it in westhampton, east Quogue, Quogue, Southampton Village, no wait, they don't want this in their hamlet either. The town just keeps dumping on hampton bays and why? Just ask that question and look around and you will know the answer.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Feb 7, 18 8:23 PM
Can you please elaborate, Resident? I don't think I know the answer you're alluding to.

As for this project...I think it's great if the taxpayers aren't paying for it to go up!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 7, 18 8:29 PM
"Show me the money"
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 18 4:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Fore1, brunt of development and traffic? Really???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 7, 18 6:37 PM
For a project at Red Creek Park? Yes?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 7, 18 6:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
So Bouvier thinks that a pool uses a septic system to filter? Really?

Hey, Burl Ives, a pool is self contained system. Water is pumped from the pool, through a filter-either media, sand or DE-and then returned to the pool. The filtering process never utilizes a septic system. That’s for black water...

I swear, these people just grab on to buzzwords and repeat them, like half wit parrots. Right now, the buzzword is “septic System”. Say it enough times and your ...more
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Feb 7, 18 7:55 PM
3 members liked this comment
STOP...you can not make money on pools... sanatize, heat, keep up with County regs you can not even think of breaking even... It is a money pit a big money pit
By bpcooke (12), Southampton on Feb 7, 18 10:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good thing the money to build it isn't ours!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 8, 18 5:16 AM
I doubt it will ever get off the ground. I am not sure why the town is even wasting their time if this organization couldn't show at least 10% of financial commitment. I suspect this is some one's pet project from someone who supported Jay and Julie. It was probably the same with Good Ground Park and everything else that happens.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 8, 18 7:41 AM
I'm also not very hopeful. They did bring 2% though!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 8, 18 7:46 AM
I heard on grapevine that Schneiderman now wants to run for County Comptroller just filling in time here in Southampton
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Feb 12, 18 3:04 PM
Surrouned by water and Hampton Bays wants am aquatic Center ! Ha ha funny !
By bayview (160), Southampton on Feb 17, 18 8:35 PM