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Apr 9, 2019 12:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Major Renovation Planned For Herrick Park In East Hampton Village

Herrick Park across from the East Hampton Middle School in the heart of the Village is slated for a renovation.   ELIZABETH VESPE
Apr 9, 2019 3:04 PM

Lying at the center of East Hampton Village’s commercial district, Herrick Park is often bustling with middle-schoolers running around the green during recess, teenagers shooting hoops on the weekend, adults swatting tennis balls, and toddlers toddling around the playground.

To encourage even more use, the Village Board plans to undertake a major renovation of the 8-acre recreational facility.

The board announced at its Thursday, April 4, work session that, in collaboration with local community stakeholders, it would be accepting proposals for the park, which lies directly across Newtown Lane from the East Hampton Middle School and adjacent to the village’s long-term parking lot.

The public park is also leased by the East Hampton School District for school-related recreational activities. Currently, it has three tennis and two basketball courts, a handball wall, one baseball and one softball field, and playground facilities.

Rebecca Molinaro Hansen, the village administrator, said that a committee to renovate Herrick Park, led by Village Board members Rose Brown and Arthur Graham, as well as members of the Ladies Village Improvement Society, Garden Club of East Hampton, East Hampton School District, and village department heads, has met several times over the past few months to gather ideas about how to enhance the park’s safety, beauty and usefulness. A request for proposals is the culmination of several meetings.

Ms. Hansen said the largest undertaking will be the tennis and basketball courts, which sit to the rear of the park near the restrooms. “We had our village engineer weigh in, and he confirmed what we all thought—that they’re in poor condition and are beyond patching and need to be rebuilt and reconstructed,” she explained.

In addition, the RFP calls for improving pathways to make them comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and enhancing the lighting for safety. The board would like new equipment to be added to the playground, as well as improvements to the athletic fields, school district often uses for recess and after-school sports and clubs.

During one of the renovation meetings, Village Police Chief Michael Tracey suggested moving a shed used by traffic control officers, which now sits in a corner of the park near Newtown Lane, to the rear of the park, near the long-term parking. The asphalt and driveway around the TCO shed may also be ripped up and utilized as more green space.

“We thought that would give more visibility for the TCOs and a police presence within the park,” Ms. Brown said, explaining that moving the shed might help assure the safety of people walking through the park to reach their cars at night, and also allow TCOs to park their vehicles in the long-term lot instead of on the street.

Board member Barbara Borsack expressed concern about safety. “If we move the shed, we have to make sure we do it in a place that’s not going to look like someone could be hiding and jump out at you when you’re walking at night back to your car or after work during winter,” she said. “We want to make sure it still looks safe to people.”

To that, Mr. Graham mentioned that Chief Tracey plans to improve video surveillance in the park.

“Since you don’t want to have the whole walkway lit up like an airport runway, we might have strategic motion sensor lights that would click on as you’re walking down the path to give you better illumination,” Mr. Graham suggested

“I’m very sensitive to the idea of women feeling safe walking back and forth, because it’s a perception thing. If you don’t feel safe, you’re not going to use the long-term parking lot—and I want to continue to keep that in mind,” Ms. Borsack said.

Ms. Brown responded that safety was at the top of the list of priorities for the renovation: “I want the women who work in the village to know that’s on our mind.”

Originally, the RFP called for a path behind the tennis courts, but the committee rejected that because it could cause people to feel “hemmed in,” Mr. Graham explained.

In addition, Ms. Brown said they are considering constructing more formal entrance entrances and exits from Newtown Lane and the Reutershan parking lot, as the current ones are not entirely obvious.

The RFP notes that the handball wall will be removed by the village; that, and moving the TCO shed, will take place at a later date.

The park may also get a bit larger, because according to paperwork from Ms. Hansen, the proposal could also incorporate parcels at 16 Pleasant Lane and 25 Muchmore Lane that are owned by the village.

The board will authorize the RFP to be sent out at its April 18 meeting. Before anything is finalized, a meeting will be held after the plan is developed to gain feedback from community members and refine planning before the document is adopted.

Proposals must be submitted to Ms. Hansen no later than 2 p.m. on May 21.

Board member Arthur Graham noted that Ms. Brown has been the driving force behind the Herrick Park renovation project.

“I’m excited to get this off the ground, and I want to thank everyone for their support,” Ms. Brown said. “It’s been fun and I enjoy it, because I really feel like it should be as beautiful as the rest of the village … and it’s been on the back burner.”

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what's herrick part?
By BrianWilliams (83), on Apr 9, 19 5:37 PM
They should think about making a one way road from the Reutershan Parking Lot to the Lumber Lane Parking lot so its easier to park there if the Reutershan lot is full. They could even add a sign with "long term parking" or something so perhaps people who don't know about the other lot would start using it!
By Rich Morey (357), East Hampton on Apr 10, 19 4:07 PM