Put It On Hold - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1712310

Put It On Hold

During this time of acute turmoil, existential death, financial insecurity, fear of the future — with the country’s firmament shuddering underfoot and a canopy of ignorance bearing down from above — the lax, tone-deaf, possibly brain dead Southampton Town Board has made it a priority to consider a proposal to build a pool [“STAR Proposes New Location For Community Aquatic Center,” 27east.com, July 6].

Forget that pools, gyms, stadiums, museums, theaters, malls, playgrounds and even schools may be closed into infinity, and that the word “gathering” has taken on ominous connotations. Pool proponents have come forth proposing to make “children water proof” by learning to swim; how to make them virus proof by plopping them into a 23,000-square-foot petri dish was not discussed.

Proposed is a large development on County Road 39 and Magee Street buggered with the needs of the children of Southampton to soft-light a two-story glass-edifice sports complex. Meanwhile, they haven’t shown how children need multiple pools, exercise rooms, changing spaces and meeting rooms — all more appropriate for a spa. And why it should be desirous for Tuckahoe. Nor have they offered anything but assurances of how it will be sustained and paid for in future.

Why now? They are raising funds to build it on land bought with Community Preservation Fund money, dedicated for another purpose, and now is when the rich summer population is in residence. Pandemic be damned, or at least shunted aside.

Jay Schneiderman, in my observation, has never ceased to tingle at the thought of developing the former Morrow property on Country Road 39 and Magee Street since it was vetoed as a mega-mall. It was he who suggested the site instead of Red Creek Park, where the pool was originally slated to go. Tim Rumph, consultant to the pool proponents, issued a little blather about other sites, then honed in on County Road 39 and Magee Street as best. He noted that “Moses Lane Park” (formerly the Corrigan property) was possible but, in the past, had incurred intense public opposition because of traffic and safety concerns. He didn’t say how those same concerns and opposition would not apply to a site a block and a half away, and closer to the highway.

Mr. Schneiderman, during this ill-advised “Zoom work session,” gave lip service to “public input” and pushed for a public hearing in August, in an auditorium with “social distancing.” The group’s marketer wondered if it couldn’t be “fast-tracked.”

At a time like this when people fear going out to shop for food? When life is at a standstill? This is unconscionable. This proposal must be put on hold indefinitely while Mr. Schneiderman and the head-scratching board tell us what they are doing to alleviate the present hardships.

Frances Genovese

Southampton

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