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Oct 11, 2016 11:09 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Calls For Public Pool For Southampton Town Residents Resurface

Ric Stott of Southampton-based Stott Architecture, was recently hired by Southampton Town Aquatics and Recreation, Inc.—STAR— to look into building a town pool. GREG WEHNER
Oct 11, 2016 11:21 AM

Ric Stott of Southampton-based Stott Architecture has wanted a public pool since moving here in the 1990s.

He’s not alone: For decades, there have been calls for an aquatic facility serving Southampton Town, and at least one solid plan for a community facility that included a pool as well as a gym and other recreational features. But the efforts have always come up short.

Recently, a nonprofit organization has revived the cause and hired Mr. Stott to conduct a study that looks for potential locations for a new facility, the feasibility and cost, as well as where the money will come from.

The only difference this time is that the facility is going to focus on only one thing.

“We would like the facility to be solely concentrated on aquatics,” Mr. Stott said on Monday.

Southampton Town Aquatics and Recreation Inc., or STAR, actually was created in 2006 and collects money through fundraising. The group has hired Mr. Stott to conduct the study. His goal is to design a business plan that operates using the profits from many popular pool activities—such as recreational and fitness swimming, swimming lessons, collegiate and masters competitive swimming, physical rehabilitation programs, boating and water safety classes, and lifeguard training—to pay for and sustain a new facility.

“It will include a competition pool and all other aquatic-related activities that would support the whole facility, generate revenue, provide jobs, and support and train and improve our aquatic community,” Mr. Stott said in a Facebook post last week.

Currently, on the East End, Mr. Stott noted, there are few public places for people to swim and participate in these activities. The East Hampton YMCA has a pool, and Suffolk County officials are in the planning and permitting process for an $18 million athletic complex that will feature an Olympic-size swimming pool at the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus in Northampton, but it is not expected to be completed until sometime in 2018.

Mr. Stott said over the years he has driven to Mastic, Hauppauge and the Brookhaven YMCA to swim, an average of 45 minutes to an hour each way. A new facility in Southampton Town would be more centralized for the people on the East End, he said. “We’re trying to make it available to anyone on the South Fork and make it unique enough that we will attract people from all over Long Island,” he said, even hinting at possibly hosting large-scale swim meets.

Mr. Stott said he is looking for people interested in joining a focus group that will help survey the community to gauge its interest.

His goal is to locate potential venues and then determine the best location for the aquatics facility. The group will also help find out what programs people want to see offered at the facility and then explore how to make the facility affordable for the residents in the Town of Southampton.

Construction costs also will need to be determined, and so will the source of money and who the facility operators will be—not to mention a suitable location.

Those who are interested in helping can find out more information at the focus group’s first meeting, which will take place on Thursday, October 27, at 7 p.m. at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton Village.

Plans for a recreation center have been discussed for nearly the past 30 years. More recently, in 2006, a committee called the Southampton Aquatic and Recreation Center—SHARC—planned to build a $9.8 million complex that included an indoor pool and gymnasium, as well as playing fields and walking trails, on 16.8 acres of land off Old Country Road in Westhampton, just across the street from the old Westhampton Dragstrip.

The proposal fell through when the property was purchased and preserved as open space using Community Preservation Fund revenue. Another piece of property was offered to the group, on Mill Road, but the project never got off the ground, and in 2009 town officials declared the project dead in the water. By that point, estimates for the project’s costs had soared to $30 million; the town had already spent $6 million on SHARC and another $3.4 million to purchase the property for the facility on Mill Road.

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If private investors want to build a facility with a pool, so be it. No Town monies or land should be used. The Town can't take care of the parks and beaches they have now, can you image a pool and the related liability? Suffolk Community College is building a beautiful new aquatic center in the Town that will be open to the public.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 16 12:02 PM
4 members liked this comment
We already have a problem with fecal matter in the water.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Oct 11, 16 12:09 PM
The east end needs a facility. A lot of people living here do not know how to swim or tread water. Being we are on a island it should be a priority to teach people.
When the high school was being planned, there was a thought of a pool. Would be nice for the community...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 11, 16 1:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
I respectfully disagree. There are plenty of facilities including the new one being built at Suffolk Community in Riverside, the Saf-t-Swim in Riverhead and Southampton facility (admittedly outside only) in Southampton. There are several private pool clubs in the Town soem less than $1,000 a year. Many people have pools or have friends that have pools. There are many instructors that teach. EH had a terrible time maintaining their pool and many people got sick. the Town should not be in the ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 16 1:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree with the both you on this!!

A community Pool would certainly be beneficial but at the the same time , yes, the town shouldn't be in the pool business.

On the fence...
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Oct 11, 16 4:43 PM
How about at Red Creek Park? Plenty of town owned land and easy access to all..

By giant1 (5), quogue on Oct 11, 16 1:57 PM
It is a big town. Why do ALL taxpayers have to foot the bill for a relatively few people that want it. Induce a YMCA ore something similar to come into the town with donations and Non Taxpayer Money. Scary that people run to government for all their pet dreams. Weak.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Oct 11, 16 3:20 PM
3 members liked this comment
I think the idea was to make it a non profit. Not run by the town. Similar to the SYA or YMCA...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 11, 16 5:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well if the plan if for a non for profit such as YMCA than this is def a great idea . There are many health benefits to swimming
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Oct 16, 16 9:28 AM
Agreed, however, the headline states "a public pool for Southampton" which would lead you to believe that they are resurfacing the multiple tries of having a public pool on Town prperty subsidized with taxpayer monies. There was a vote several years ago about a pool in Red Creek Park. Even if it is run but a private company, any Town liability or involvement would be unacceptable to me. They have yet to demonstrate that they can handle what properties they already own either through Town funds ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 16, 16 12:42 PM
giant1 - Red Creek Park is where it was proposed the first time and was voted down. I truly hope if it gets that far, it gets voted down again. There is going to be a brand new aquatic center only a few miles away at Suffolk Community College open to the public. There is no need to waste more taxpayer monies for the Town to mismanage another project. The Town tried to manage the construction of Good Ground Park and wasted so much money they ran out of funds for the comfort stations, playgrounds, ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 16 5:27 PM
2 members liked this comment
SH needs a public golf course
By dave h (193), calverton on Oct 11, 16 9:48 PM
2 members liked this comment
Is the ocean not an aquatic center already? This is ridiculous. Find another project to keep yourself busy in retirement
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Oct 12, 16 4:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
Im happy to hear about Suffolk Community. It would be great to have a more local place for swim teams for the kids. Best exercise, great sport, and plenty of scholarships out there.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Oct 12, 16 5:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By HaMpToNzSukS (12), east quogue on Oct 12, 16 6:18 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By HaMpToNzSukS (12), east quogue on Oct 12, 16 6:20 PM
Great idea!
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Oct 13, 16 11:20 AM
jams, the Suffolk Community College aquatic center is in Riverside - just a few miles from the western parts of Southampton Town. IMHO, it is silly to waste tax dollars to build another major center any closer. Obviously, if a not-for-profit or private investor wants to raise money and purchase land and run a center that is up to them. I would oppose any tax dollars or land being used for this project.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 14, 16 11:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
We used to have lakes and ponds and bays people swam in. Then McMansions were built along them. McMansion owners did not want people going in "their" water. So fertilizer from their irrigated lawns went into the water and turned it into pea soup. Now, owners of McMansions being built along bays and the ocean are claiming they own the beaches. So have a tax for an aquatic center. Tax McMansions and put a special tax on bags of fertilizer. I know a landscaper who fertilizes an estate owner's vast ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Oct 19, 16 6:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
They should add a pool to the high school to teach kids and adults swim skills. That would suffice for community needs. Anybody else can swim at the local bay beaches or go to the ocean.
By JohnSmith (25), Johnson City, Tennessee on Oct 20, 16 12:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
JohnSmith, I respectfully disagree. 80% of my taxes in HB go to the schools. Our tax rate to value of our houses is about 25%, but yet only about 20% of the households have children in the school district. The rest of us get nothing for our taxes. The school district is pricing the local residents right out of our houses. I don't trust the town to manage capital projects and to maintain the property they have. Let the ones that are leading this effort, get a Y or other organization to do ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Oct 21, 16 6:05 PM