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Jun 30, 2015 4:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Might Reallocate Funding To Hampton Bays Bridge Project

The old Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays.  DANA SHAW
Jul 1, 2015 10:38 AM

Southampton Town officials are considering reallocating $440,000 in funding, money originally borrowed to overhaul the Sagg Bridge in Sagaponack Village, and will instead use it to restore one of two fishing piers in Hampton Bays that used to be part of the old Ponquogue Bridge.

According to Jennifer Garvey, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s chief of staff, the $440,000 bond was taken out by the town to match a state grant secured by the town to cover the restoration of the Sagg Bridge. The bond money was to be tapped once the grant funding ran out.

But earlier this year, Sagaponack residents complained about the town’s plans for the bridge, stating that the proposed upgrades would ruin the area’s rural character. The town ended up selling the bridge to the Village of Sagaponack for $1 and, in turn, officials in that village are now responsible for its future modifications.

After reviewing their options with the town’s bond counsel, officials have opted to reallocate the funding to restore the southern fishing pier that used to be part of the old Ponquogue Bridge. The plan is to make repairs to that facility, which is a popular destination for both fishermen and divers, the latter of whom like to explore the ecosystem that the bridge’s remnants helped create.

The proposal, which is still subject to Town Board approval, also calls for the removal of most of the northern fishing pier. A recent evaluation of both structures determined that the southern one was in better shape and that the northern one might have to be removed.

“Basically, the old Ponquogue Bridge is in rough shape and it was battered by storms like Irene and Sandy,” Ms. Garvey said. “We have to address these concerns and it became clear that there was a really extraordinary marine environment at the base of the [southern] pier, so there is an interest in restoring the structure that is there but it will take a significant investment.”

The piers are 85 years old and both were once part of the drawbridge that served as the precursor to the current Ponquogue Bridge. In recent decades, the piers had become popular destinations for fishing, and the south pier in particular is a hotbed for diving.

The town has also applied for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, money that would be spent to help restore the southern fishing pier, according to Ms. Garvey.

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PLEASE don't do that. I live nearby -- all the people fishing, which never number more than 5 or 6 at most, are basically up-island visitors who don't want to pay for parking -- they are NOT from Southampton Town. And as someone from Town Hall told my Mother a few years back it's "too much money" to pick up the trash they leave -- come September there are no trash cans and the litter goes all over including into the bay. Meanwhile, just across the street, the pavillion at Ponquogue Beach is a ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jul 1, 15 8:08 AM
2 members liked this comment
Tourist destinations typically make visitors pay for EVERYTHING.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 1, 15 9:29 PM
Tourist destinations typically make people pay for EVERYTHING. I recall visiting Treasure Island in Florida and finding that there wasn't a SINGLE public water fountain in 16 miles of beach. In Southampton, there are only TWO places for residents and visitors to fish without renting a boat, the Shinnecock Canal and the Old Ponquogue Bridge.

The town board should rehabilitate BOTH approaches, and should revise the abutting land to accommodate parking, and develop a plan to make this ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 1, 15 9:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
yes as david says, lets leave everything here to rot this way nobody will come here and discover how beautiful this place is and we can keep it all to ourselves. our property taxes will stay so low that the amigos will keep stuffing 12 family's in a house. good plan there dave!
By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Jul 1, 15 11:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh yes those pesky up island visitors. Let's drive them out of the area. Lets leave Hampton Bays in shambles. If we build a pier those black people will show up then the Hispanics will be fishing. Dont forget the Brooklyn Italians, and drunken Irish.
I never could figure out how some people on the East End believe they can keep people out of here. It's disgusting, racist, and un American. Everyone has a right to enjoy the East End not just the ignorant red necks in Hampton Bays.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 2, 15 12:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
Here is a better idea. Give the residents back their $440,000. It is not your money. Reduce property taxes by $440,000. It is not much, but it would be a start to restoring sanity, and fiscal prudence, at City Hall.
By SHPredatorDept (72), Southampton on Jul 2, 15 12:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
It was a B0ND. Not a tax levy.
By InnerBay (72), Southampton on Jul 3, 15 10:40 PM
I agree that the town should renovate the South side fishing pier with the available funds. I also suggest the north side fishing pier be removed and if possible use what is left of it to rebuild the 2 mile reef outside of Shinnecock inlet. The fishing pier should be equipped with refuse containers that are cleaned out on a regular basis. The parks department should be held accountable for keeping the facility clean and presentable.
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Jul 2, 15 4:10 PM
Local residents have to pay to park at Ponquogue Beach and the facilities are decrepit. Fix that before spending money on an old bridge that was meant to fall down when the new bridge was built, or yes, don't spend the money at all since it was for something else entirely. And the fisherman can go to the jetty at Shinecock Inlet and fish, which is 1.4 miles from this proposed fishing pier.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jul 2, 15 10:04 PM