by Annette Hinkle
April Gornik, a Serve Sag Harbor board member who this hosts Cocktails & Conversation at The Corner Bar this Sunday, January 19 from 5 to 7 p.m.
What’s the purpose of this Sunday’s event?
It’s a fundraiser for Serve Sag Harbor — specifically, a fundraiser for the preservation of our historic waterfront fund. We have Serve broken into different funding opportunities, including a waterfront park that [Harbor Committee chairman] Bruce Tait has talked about.
We haven’t approached Bruce directly, but it’s something we feel very strongly about. The waterfront needs attention, needs to be preserved and carefully tended. The fact Bruce brought those documents forth and initiated this, I think, is a fantastic move on his part and a way of establishing yet another bit of the village, specifying the village needs to preserve the waterfront.
In general, we want to make sure the waterfront is in good shape and for obvious reasons, includes public access. That’s a particular interest to me. Since I’m hosting this event, that’s what I chose.
You’re also raising money for the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, right?
Yes, We’re doing a 50/50 split. I’ve met a couple people recently who know someone first hand who directly benefited from the ambulance’s services. It’s something we’re incredibly proud to help support.
Tell me about some of the other issues Serve Sag Harbor is getting involved in.
We’re also working on the traffic calming initiative which we’re doing pretty well with. It came out of the traffic calming workshop Jonas Hagen led last year and we’re focusing on the area around Main Street and Jermain Avenue and the way traffic affects all those neighborhoods. It’s a core part of the village and it needs to be addressed, especially for school children. The whole area is residential, but people get going when they drive down Jermain. Main Street ends up having the same problem.
The idea is to be street smart and think about how to anticipate someone speeding up at a certain point. We want to work on something that responds to the aesthetics of the village — bump outs, bulb outs or rumble strips could be effective and a little less intrusive.
We are talking about a lot of other possibilities too, but we’re just a baby organization and we have to proceeds with baby steps.
And these are not the kinds of projects that could be taken on by Save Sag Harbor …
We had originally hoped when Save Sag Harbor was formed as a not for profit it could do that sort of thing. But it really is an advocacy group — a 501(c) 4 with that tax designation. Susan Mead and other Save Sag Harbor members were interested in spinning off something more specific to funding projects and working with government officials. Serve Sag Harbor is working directly with the village. I hope people understand how we’re differentiating the groups. If you’re concerned about Harbor Heights, support Save Sag Harbor. If you’re more worried about traffic calming or the harbor, support Serve Sag Harbor.
It’s an interesting model — partnering with village officials and helping to fund projects that have been discussed for years.
Ask any village official and they’ll make it plain there are many things simultaneously going on all the time and it takes a couple organizations to approach everything that needs support and awareness.
What I love is we have the opportunity to do that and focus on what needs there are and have a direct and open dialogue with them. I think Serve could be, in a sense, likened to a CAC, but we’re not just an advisory board. We’re trying to work with the village to plan things out and make them happen as they go ahead.
I do think part of what Serve is about is breaking down the “us versus them” notions about how things happen and who’s responsible. It’s not “versus” — it’s all really positive.
What can guests expect at Sunday’s event?
It’s going to be cocktails and The Corner has graciously provided two drinks — wine and beer — and there will be hors d’oeuvres. That also enters you into a raffle for my artwork — an archival digital photographic print that was part of an edition I did in situ for a winery out in California, Sequoia Grove. It’s very mandala like. It’s like a forest meditation and 13” x 18” so a good size for any room in your house. For $75 you get all of that and will be supporting the ambulance corps.
Are you going to be talking about anything in particular at the event?
I’m not going to give a long speech. I’ll just be walking around and talking about Serve Sag Harbor if people want, but they should just come and enjoy the evening. I love the idea of having a Sag Harbor-centric event at an iconic place. The Corner Bar has been absolutely wonderful — it’s a super cozy place.
Going forward, how can people keep up with what Serve Sag Harbor is up to?
We just started doing an email list and now have a website, servesagharbor.org. We haven’t had any open public meetings yet but I hope at The Corner Bar people will tell me their specific concerns and noting how we can help.
Cocktails & Conversation with April Gornik to benefit Serve Sag Harbor and the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Sunday, January 19 from 5 to 7 p.m.at The Corner Bar, 1 Main Street. $75 per person includes entry into a raffle for a digital archival print by April Gornik, “Sequoia Grove”, 2012.