When the not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor was originally founded in 2007, at its root it was a community-based organization aimed at protecting historic Sag Harbor from becoming just another posh downtown on the East End, dominated by chain stores rather than the locally owned shops that make up the majority of our downtown.
As a larger goal, sustainability of the village’s small stores, and preserving the overall aesthetics of the village were loftier goals, which in part morphed the group into a quasi-political entity — one that would weigh in on development projects and legislative issues facing Sag Harbor.
For a vocal group of greater Sag Harbor residents, Save Sag Harbor has given them the opportunity to speak with a unified, organized voice. However, since evolving into a political organization, Save Sag Harbor became limited in what it can do in terms of fundraising (donations are not tax exempt to non-profit organizations that can be political in nature), and therefore limited in the scope of projects the group can tackle.
Which is why we are pleased to hear about the formation of a new group, Serve Sag Harbor, a non-political entity that will begin as a funding source for local organizations, but that has a potential to accomplish quite loftier goals.
The first thing we like about Serve Sag Harbor is that it is non-political, which means it is an organization our entire community can support, no matter its views on development in the village. Traffic calming, affordable housing, keeping our downtown sustainable, preservation — these are very real issues facing the greater Sag Harbor community.
And that is just scratching the surface.
Looking at other popular coastal towns and villages that have faced development pressure and aimed to preserve its community without thwarting the natural evolution of a place, organizations have popped up supporting preservation of important buildings and places — historic and otherwise — beautification, housing initiatives, education and virtually everything in between.
Government is not always going to be able to provide us the answers, and resources, we need. It is our hope, this non-profit can support current organizations, and develop new initiatives that allow us as a community to take substantial steps forward, while still honoring our past.